I haven’t played the game on which this movie is based (Hitman!) but I have heard horror stories about how amoral it is and hence bad for society. The game, I’m led to believe, covers the actions of Agent 47 (the hitman in question) born into the role and carrying out hits for cash. The movie of the same name is an action film which adds some plot and dilema. It is, as most movies about assassins turn out to be, a story of assassins finally realising what they’re doing isn’t really actually nice, but feeling their only recourse is to kill their way out of the problem and in that respect doesn’t bring anything new to the genre. However there’s still scope within that basic premise to deliver something interesting or entertaining. How many times have we watched the same spy story (spy is abandoned by his agency when they think he’s gone bad and fights to prove himself to be innocent) or the same cop buddy story?
Our hero takes on a job and is subsequently set up, the rest of the film covers his actions to exact revenge, understand what happened, and rescue the girl (there’s always a girl). Playing foil to the assassin is an InterPol inspector who’s been tracking him for three years. The short interplay between these two characters does add some depth, and while the female involvement is predictable and insulting (oh no, another woman needs saving from an abusive and sadistic world leader) it provides the only shallow-comic moments in the entire film.
The action sequences are pretty staid, and acting is pretty hollow, although how much range do you need to play a deadly assassin? The camera work and scenery is pretty nice though. What saves the movie from being a total dud is that it’s actually quite interesting. I wanted to see where it went, mostly because of how the movie opens (I won’t spoil it), and that kept me going until the end, and while I saw the little twist coming it still made me grin.
There are some interesting edits, and I’m assuming quite a bit of footage ended up on the floor, we move quickly from one a scene at one point to a meeting with a CIA agent which doesn’t seem to have any back story at all, but when you’re expecting something to be terrible, it’s easier to be forgiving about stuff like that.
Hitman is a passable action movie, and while it’s essentially derivative tripe, it’s derivative tripe which entertains and keeps you amused for 90 minutes. It scores just over 6 on IMDB, and I’d probably rate it around 5, not terrible, not good, just ok.
There is one thing I have to rant about though. Have you seen the game or the trailers for the movie? The hitmen belong to a secret organisation, totally clandestine. So they ensure their hitmen blend in, by making them all totally bald and tattooing barcodes on the back of their heads about a fucking inch high. Our assassin is a ghost, blending in everywhere, except everywhere he goes he stands out like a thug in a china store because he’s bald and has a bar code tattooed into his head. Come on! I can suspend disbelief but when no one raises an eyebrow, and when no one knows what any of these assassins looks like, I just had to pretend it was a dream.
Otherwise – worth watching for fans of the game and people who like action movies for what they are.