With such a huge body count, does Hitman: Agent 47 offer anything more than gun fights and car chases?
With a video game at the base of it’s origin you can expect plenty of hand-to-hand combat, a plethora of stylish kills and a lot of highly advanced technology.Along with all the agents before him, Agent 47 has been engineered to be a super human killing machine. Suppressed emotion allows him to complete his missions without feeling an ounce of guilt or remorse. The agent programme was started in 1967 by Dr. Litvenko (Ciaran Hinds) with the sole purpose of creating the most efficient and effective assassins ever seen. After being shut down by the government Litvenko goes off the grid taking with him all the secrets required to create future agents. Meanwhile, desperate to create his own army of elite killers Le Clerq (Thomas Kretschmann), head of global cooperation the Syndicate (which is never really given the time to be explained), thinks he’s found a way to coerce Litvenko out of hiding.Aware of this key to luring the scientist out into the open is Agent 47 (Rupert Friend), who has been tasked with locating it and Litvenko within 48 hours by his handler Diana (Angelababy). Katia van Dees (Hannah Ware) is the key they’re all looking for but she is also desperately searching for Litvenko herself, without realising his connection to her. We don’t ever actually find out exactly why Katia is looking for Litvenko, only that for some reason she is determined to discover his whereabouts aided by an old diary of his and, of course, a map collage on her wall with various pieces of string attached by pins. Katia isn’t your average girl though, she has a certain set of skills and an importance she is unaware of which when revealed, places her in a category of her own
With Agent 47 hot on Katia’s tail the only man that seems able to offer her any protection is the mysterious John Smith (Zachary Quinto), the only one who seems remotely like a match for Agent 47. But despite appearing trustworthy at first, like the rest of the characters, has his fair share of tricks up his sleeve.
Hitman: Agent 47 was written by Skip Woods (who also wrote the previous Hitman), along with Michael Finchand, and is the directorial debut from Aleksander Bach who has previously directed commercials. With a number of car adverts under his belt it comes as no surprise that the car chases in Hitman: Agent 47 can only be described as elaborate and indulgent homages to Audi. However, these scenes along with the fight scenes are probably among the only few redeeming qualities of this film. Stylistically there isn’t a huge amount on offer, but the film was shot in Berlin and Singapore so there is at least nice architecture to look at, which can provide a mild release from some of the blander moments on screen.
The action sequences, as I’ve already, said, are worth watching; notably the fights between Friend and Quinto which take place in various locations from train tracks to an aeroplane construction facility. The opening sequence is also memorable as it delivers a sleek one man fight against multiple armed men in which blood and Agent 47’s red tie are the only flashes of colour amongst bright flashing lights and the blues and greys of some agency head quarters.
Hitman: Agent 47 tries to tick all the boxes of an action movie but doesn’t quite manage to deliver anything more than good gun fights and Audi sponsorship.
Rupert Friend finds himself sporting a shaved head with a barcode tattooed on the back in traditional ‘agent’ form. Playing the role of an emotionless assassin seems to suit Friend to a tee as he pulls of the silent moody type quite well. Donning the traditional black suit, which we are told is Italian wool, and red tie Friend actually fits the character he is playing, which is a lot more than can be said of Hannah Ware and Zachary Quinto’s characters.
There is the slight hint of a person beneath Agent 47’s hard exterior and Ware’s Katia is supposed to be the one to try and bring it out. Alas the chemistry between Friend and Ware is practically non existent and unfortunately the interactions between most of the characters feel stiff and to a certain degree somewhat strained. Ware’s attempts to bring emotion and depth to the character of Katia feels hopeless and in no way convincing despite the frequently shed tears, which isn’t helped by the fact that any character development seems to have gone out the window.
Quinto’s character is one that you start off feeling a bit sorry for as he clearly didn’t quite make the cut at ‘agent school’ but you end up growing to dislike him as he just becomes plain irritating. The rest of the cast bring about as much oomph as the two protagonists Ware and Quinto do, which is to say not all that much. There is the vague attempt at humour and emotional sentiment at various points, but all-in-all it just falls into the background of the fight scenes, which, lets face it, is the main reason for seeing a film like this in the first place.
Hitman: Agent 47 isn’t a film you would go to see based purely on the merit of the acting but the fight sequences are polished and cut with a fast pace in harmony to the music, delivering memorable kills and plenty of bloodshed, which is almost enough to forgive the duller parts of the film. The ending is left wide open for a sequel which one can only hope will deliver something with a lot more bite than this.
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