Ken's Review: Hitman - Failed To Hit The Target
by Ken Evans
November 24, 2007
When I think of video game film adaptations nothing great comes to mind. This is extremely unfortunate as there are many video games that could make great movies. How is it possible that these screenwriters and directors can start with such a great foundation and twist it into something that has no resemblance to what it started out being? Just look at the many video game adaptations from the past: Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Doom, Resident Evil, Alone in the Dark, Silent Hill. One of my favorite games of all time was the original Resident Evil for Playstation. Unfortunately, I went to see it and was disgusted with how Paul W.S. Anderson was able to completely destroy everything I had hoped for. With the exception of Mortal Kombat, which is not a great film but I still enjoy, every video game adaptation has been un-enjoyable until I watched Hitman.
Hitman is about Agent 47 (Timothy Olyphant) who was bred to be a professional killer. Raised by "The Organization" from a young age, Agent 47 has been trained in every form of combat. He now is contracted out through "The Organization" to kill whoever the client desires. After returning from his latest high profile assignment, Agent 47 finds out that the person he thought he killed is miraculously still alive. Since he didn't complete his assignment, "The Organization" sends other hitmen to kill him. While running around trying to uncover a conspiracy and keep himself alive, Agent 47 manages to pick up a girl who he drags with him the rest of the film.
While Hitman might be the most enjoyable video game adaptation I have ever seen, that doesn't make it a great movie by any means. I played the first game in the series, Hitman: Codename 47 for the PC and to be honest there isn't much similarity between the movie and that game. Sure he goes around and kills people, but that is basically the definition of a hitman. They left out all the cool details that made Agent 47 so different and interesting. The only real similarity is that Olyphant dresses just like Agent 47 from the game, and has the barcode tattooed on the back of his head (which we see in about 50 close-up shots). If it wasn't for the tattoo and the suit, they could have titled the movie Assassin and no one would have ever thought of the hitman game.
So if Hitman bears no semblance to the game, why do I think it is the most enjoyable video game adaptation? Simple, because it was like watching a different version of The Bourne Identity, and I really enjoyed The Bourne Identity. Both films have professional assassins who are trying to track down the people who are trying to kill them while finding and protecting a love interest. Both have fight scenes scattered between important moments of drama and story advancement. Come to think of it, this describes just about any professional killer film such as The Saint or The Transporter. Even The Professional had the young girl becoming infatuated with Leon.
The performances in Hitman were only okay, with the exception of Olyphant. He reminds me a lot of Matt Damon in the first Bourne film. In comparison to the later movies in the series, Damon seemed very choreographed and still trying to figure out how to be an action hero. After watching The Bourne Ultimatum, I can say that Damon has reached action hero status. Olyphant is just starting down that road. The action scenes were cool but still a bit slow and rehearsed due to Olyphant's lack of experience acting in such physical scenes. I look forward to seeing him in the same type of film in a few years.
Hitman is for those action junkies who don't care about story and just want to see a bunch of cool fight scenes. This film should definitely hold you over until Shoot ‘Em Up comes out on DVD, or at least until Rambo IV or Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is released in theaters.
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jonnysokko on Nov 25, 2007
I liked this better than Shoot Em Up, which is no only silly, but cartoonish. Hitman was disappointing, but at least it had a cool backstory and a complex enough plot to keep you interested.
Gustav on Nov 25, 2007
Really disappointing, honestly. Timothy Olyphant was amazing on the HBO series, Deadwood. But this is just one more pothole in the road for the poor guy. Thanks much for the review Ken, you saved me the $9 I'd spend finding it out on my own.
Zach on Nov 26, 2007
Always enjoy reading your reviews after talking to Alex and getting his 2 cents. Now I'm conflicted. I want to see it but not if its terrible.
Heckle on Nov 26, 2007
Well for me I thought the movie was "meh". As a moive it was not very good. I mean seeing Timothy Olyphant as Agent 47 was weir dbecause he is supposed to be this tough BAMF, but he is pretty badass just still didn't feeel right. But the movie was entertaining. Me and my friends went to see it expecting it to blow... but its was a fun movie to watch. Waaaay better than Beowulf though.
CSpuppydog on Nov 27, 2007
This movie isn't horrible. If you have any desire to see it, see it in the theater because unless you've got an amazing home theater system this will definitely lose something outside the theater. Oh and the fight scene with swords is awesome.
Ryan on Dec 1, 2007
The films sucks. At rottentomatoes.com it gets a Rotten Rating of 13% which is spot on.
Rax on Dec 4, 2007
as a fan of the game and film i totally agree.
Darrin on Jan 15, 2008
Hello all: I think that this is one of the best movies i've ever seen. And in fact, I think that this movie, even though it was made in Bulgaria is better than all the boring Hollywood movies by Nicolas Cage, Tom Hanks and all the right-wing bourgeoise movies that Hollywood offer us. So i give 5 stars to Hitman.
Marxist-Socialist on Nov 28, 2008
I would have to agree with your review. This is definitely one of the better adaptions of a game I have seen and yes Mortal Kombat was certainly another of the decent ones in that collective as well[I will politely hold my tongue on Mortal Kombat: Annihilation :(]. Not sure why you didn't like R.E. and I personally thought Doom and Silent Hill were pretty good adaptions as well. As far as this not being much like the game I am somewhat perplexed about that one. He looks like 47. He dresses like him. He has the barcode tattoo. He used other people's clothes as a disguise like you do in the game. He had the twin ballers with silencers just like in the game. They had the organization's insignia present and unaltered. Even his contact, Diana sounded almost just like she does in the game. The only thing I found inconsistent with the game and the movie was the fact that whoever made it seemed to have forgotten one tiny thing...Agent 47 has an English accent! Lol, a minor setback. One I can live with.
CoryCow on Feb 1, 2009
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