Director: Xavier Gens
Cast: Timothy Olyphant, Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko, Robert Knepper, Michael Offei, Ulrich Thomsen
It's been a while since I've watched a film based on a video game. Films like these tend to get scathing remarks by the critics, due to the absence of a good plot and the existence of mindless action that leads to nowhere. So does Hitman live up to being better than other video game adaptations such as Doom, Super Mario Bros and Street Fighter?
Hitman focuses on a mysterious man named Agent 47. 47 is an assassin trained by an equally mysterious company known as The Organisation. In the beginning, 47 narrates an explanation of how he and several other children were chosen at birth, trained in the art of killing since childhood and given a barcode tattoo on the back of their heads before being sent out to do their duty.
On his latest assignment, 47 is ordered to kill Mikhail Belicoff, the president of Russia. He succeeds, but suddenly realises that his employers now have him as a target. He escapes, and proceeds to kidnap Nika, a prostitute linked to Belicoff, who is now a target as well. At the same time, he has to evade the clutches of Interpol agent Michael Whittier, who has been chasing him for the past 3 years. Whittier tries his best to apprehend 47, but his efforts are hampered by the Russian secret police, led by Yuri Marklov. Meanwhile, 47 drags Nika along while pursuing the client who requested the hit on Belicoff.
To be honest, the plot is rather complicated, which is quite rare for a video game adaptation. But the plot is more of an excuse to move the action along, and in a few scenes, the action seems out of place or badly timed. There's an action sequence between 47 and 3 others just like him at a train station. The way the scene was set up is quite ridiculous, despite the fact that it was well done.
Xavier Gens, the director, keeps the pace tight, which is good. However, like most action films, the story doesn't make much sense, for example, too little is known about The Organisation, and their purpose is never explained. The reason for Nika becoming a target as well is also not elaborated.
Timothy Olyphant does a decent enough job playing 47, who isn't as cold hearted as a hitman should be. But then again, we've seen this kind of character many times before. Olyphant is better here than in Live Free Or Die Hard, but I prefer him as Seth Bullock in Deadwood. Dougray Scott tries a little too hard sometimes but is effective nevertheless as Michael Whittier. The rest of the cast are generally okay. Look out for Prison Break's Robert Knepper and Lost's Henry Ian Cusick playing Russian characters. It's quite weird, since I've seen them on TV playing non-Russian guys. Hmm.
It's a good action film, but it isn't very original. You'll notice similarities with The Transporter, The Bourne Identity and The Replacement Killers. I suggest you watch those other films instead. (3.5/5)