PLOT: Agent 47 has been educated to become a professional assassin for hire, whose most powerful weapons are his nerve and a resolute pride in his work. The hunter becomes the hunted when 47 gets caught up in a political takeover. Both Interpol and the Russian military chase the hitman across Eastern Europe as he tries to find out who set him up and why they’re trying to take him out of the game.
REVIEW: There's a moment in the middle of HITMAN, the Fox adaptation of the Eidos videogame, where a Russian prostitute (Olga Kurylenko) is attempting to seduce our protagonist hitman. She unzips his pants, unbuckles his belt and asks him to remove her underpants. (Never the subtle one, she spends an earlier scene walking around topless.) We think our hitman, codenamed Agent 47, might take the bait and let his privates give her privates a high five. But no, our stoic hero removes a device from his jacket, jabs it to her neck and she passes out in a clump on the bed. He puts his clothes back on and walks out of the room.
Like a Russian prostitute, HITMAN tries very hard to seduce you with some cheap thrills and also like a Russian prostitute HITMAN isn't very subtle. It's not going to waste time with getting to know you; it's going to whip off its top, hope you don't ask any questions and leave your wallet empty.
HITMAN follows Agent 47, a bald, barcoded hitman (...) who begins to have doubts about his career choice when he's framed by his own agency, codenamed, well, The Agency. There's theoretically more to the plot than that (involving the Russian secret police, Tony Montana-esque brothers and Interpol jurisdiction) but I'm still not sure what went on. It's not that I couldn't figure it out, it's that I wasn't interested enough to try and figure it out.
We don't know much about our 47 other than what we're shown in a hastily thrown together opening credit montage that features shorn young boys having barcodes tattooed on their heads. A little more "getting to know you" would be nice but HITMAN doesn't have designs on making you care about its character. You're just supposed to admire his fine suits, sharpshooting skills and restraint when faced with a bare-chested Russian prostitute.
To the film's benefit, 47 is played with clinical precision by Timothy Olyphant, ironic considering it's the major gripe video game fanboys had with the film during production. Olyphant plays the hitman as a cold, calculating killer - yeah, yeah, you've heard that all before but underneath that steely glare lies a repressed charisma that Olyphant allows to hint at what kind of man his 47 would be were he not trained in this lifestyle. And while this hardly will register with the casual moviegoer, Olyphant nails the trademark nuances of the character made popular in the video games.
Director Xavier Gens admirably tries his best with the material but he is failed by a sub-par script by Skip Woods and an overzealous editor, leaving a choppy, uneven film that reeks of studio interference. Several sequences, particularly one with Agent 47 doing battle with three fellow hitmen on and under a train, feel awkward and out of place. I'd say sequences like these are pointless and don't help to advance the plot but then I'd say, "What plot?". In reality, these sequences ARE the plot and in the absence of any concrete story to follow, at least they're something stimulating to look at.
During the movie I couldn't help but think that HITMAN could be described best as THE BOURNE IDENTITY for 12-year-olds (only later realizing that was insulting to 12-year-olds). But HITMAN really is more like THE PORN IDENTITY; a movie spun off a Hollywood hit that's been stripped of its plot and boiled down to nothing but the money shots (except in HITMAN it's blood that's spurting).
All these complaints aside, HITMAN is not a terrible movie. It's not even a bad movie. It's just not a good movie. It's just a story, based on a video game, about a hitman.
I watched it entertaining myself with the possibilities of what might have been. A movie that explored the true conflict this hitman faces when he's no longer told who or when to kill (a theme only mildly touched upon). But as I continued watching and that Russian prostitute kept bringing out all the cheap tricks to try and seduce me, I just wanted to pull a device out of my pocket and put her (or at least myself) to sleep.