Hitman (2007)
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Review Date: February 08, 2008
Director: Xavier Gens
Writer: Skip Woods
Producers: Adrian Askarieh, Luc Besson, Chuck Gordon
Timothy Olyphant as Agent 47
Dougray Scott as Mike
Olga Kurylenko as Nika
An orphaned kid is shown to have been brought up by a secretive place called “The Agency” which shaves boys’ heads, barcodes them and then teaches them how to kill – although it apparently doesn’t teach them how to interact with women. We meet the hit-boy when he’s become a hit-man and putting bullets in heads around the world. Lots of bullets, explosions, dead bodies and boobies (!!) ensue.
A fun little disposable action movie. In fact, the term “disposable movie” might’ve been invented for films such as this. This felt like one of those Luc Besson Americanized action flicks, like THE TRANSPORTER 3, but instead of a bald-headed Jason Statham driving people around while nailing the baddies (and a hottie to go), it’s Timothy Olyphant killing people while nailing the baddies (and a hottie to go). Slap a BOURNE-esque score to the mix, a director who knows how to jazz shit up, some slow motion, some fast motion, a handful of bloody kills and even a few shots of titties here and there, and you’ve got yourself an action movie that could actually have been so much better, had it not petered out in the end, with the hitman seemingly taking a backseat to the film’s uninteresting and lingering plotline. Guys, if we really gave a shit about the Russian baddies and politicians, we’d have paid to see a film entitled “Russian Baddies and Politicians”, but we paid to see a film called HITMAN, and I expect to see that mofo all the way through, not relegated to second fiddle near the end. That said, the film sported a couple of memorable action scenes, one really early on, when the assassin escapes from a hotel, and another in a restaurant bathroom, that is bloody cool.

Unfortunately for us, just like the aforementioned action flicks, this one’s baddies are a joke and as stereotypical as they come, while the police trailing our man have “Genero Cops” written all over them. Very little characterization or depth to any of them. I realize that the lead dude (he’s called Agent 47, by the way) also didn’t have much depth to him but somehow that didn’t bother me so much, since the whole point of his background is fuzzy to begin with (kinda like Wolverine). It sorta allowed me to wonder about his past, and hope that if ever they were to make a follow-up to this film, they could pepper it with some more about the guy, his feelings, etcetera. But for now…we don’t get any of that, although we do get Olyphant looking damn sweet in black suits while capping people’s asses like it was going out of style. Not to mention that for half of the movie he’s joined at the hip by one very hot Euro-trash chickie (the next Bond girl, pshaw!), whose acting skills were quite impressive and who even managed to generate a little bit of chemistry with the hitman, which was a nice break from the film’s more serious (and dry) storyline. So even though the film ultimately was about as superficial as its videogame roots, it was a bunch of fun to watch, particularly during its first hour, which moved swiftly (the whole film lasts only 85 minutes), featured a gaggle of bloody kills and offered some nice sparks between Olyphant and the chick with the majestic bod (FYI, Olga Kurylenko aka Oksana Baiul look-a-like).

The film doesn’t offer the same type of ideal mélange of action & characterization as say classics such as LA FEMME NIKITA and THE PROFESSIONAL (rent them today, if you haven’t seen them yet), but it’s a decent walk through an interesting enough set-up, that may solicit follow-ups with a little more depth and explanation. PS: So why does this “secretive” underground operation have all of their “secret” agents shave their heads and tattoo a fuckin’ barcode into the back of their skulls again? Not exactly the best disguise in the world, fellas. Great move on the R-rating though! A PG-13 version of this film would have sucked quite some. Cute cameo by the videogame as well.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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