Reviewed by: Taran Gingery
“Gone in Sixty Seconds,” “Live Free or Die Hard”
Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko, Robert Knepper, Ulrich Thomsen, Michael Offei, Henry Ian Cusick
|Producer||Daniel Alter, Adrian Askarieh, Luc Besson, Chuck Gordon, Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, Xavier Wakefield|
|Distributor||20th Century Fox|
“Hitman” opens with a strangely spiritual sequences of scenes. A young boy is being initiated into a mysterious school for assassins—run by men dressed like monks. The actual scene of ‘graduation’ if you will plays out like a twisted religious ceremony with the music from ‘Ave Maria’ serving as the soundtrack. The title character, Agent 47 (Timothy Olyphant) is touted as the religious type, emphasized by the fact that he carries a crucifix with him carrying the inscription “Trust unto God and He shall direct your path.” However, that’s about as far as this film explores that spirituality.
Agent 47 may be religious, but he certainly doesn’t show it in his career or life-style. He is a cold, calculating, professional killer who intricately plans out every assignment and never misses a shot. Until now that is. An assignment to assassinate the president of Russia goes awry and now 47 is on the run from the Russian militia. Not only that, Interpol, who is consistently frustrated in their attempts to track him down, has Mike Whittier (Dougray Scott), a man devoted to hunting down Agent 47, hot on his tail. To top it off, 47 keeps being ambushed from members of his own elite assassin school, leading him to believe that he is being set up, which leads to a race to the truth before Hitman is hit himself.
For a movie based on a video game, this is actually a very complex plot, and one that manages to come full circle, in spite of itself. However, for the most part, character development is put on the back burner in favor for strong violence. This is based on a video game, after all. Thus, there are several action sequences involving shoot-outs, fist-fights, sword-fights, and explosions. A battle on a train and a shoot-out in a night club are especially brutal. Blood sprays and splatters and pools around fallen bodies. Each blow, each shot, each stab are seen and heard in each stylized sequence.
Elsewhere, a man is force fed explosives and later explodes while hanging in a bloody torture chamber and another man is chained to a bathtub connected to an electric generator. Language is heavy, with two dozen s-words and f-words altogether, some English and some in Russian. Nudity is also exploitatively extreme, for Agent 47 finds himself in the company of Nika (Olga Kurylenko) whose only purpose seems to be either walking around the hotel room nude or graphically seducing 47 by straddling him nude (full frontal both times), although 47 resists her advances.
I do enjoy a good action film and the action sequences here are expertly choreographed and the story is generally well-executed. The actors do their best with the material given to them, although Olyphant made a much more convincing bad guy earlier this year in ‘Live Free or Die Hard’. Of course the amount of problematic content cancels out any positive messages (there weren’t any anyway, except Agent 47 does resist knocking off a few bad guys when he had the chance to—very occasionally). So, in conclusion, “Hitman” is just another glorification of graphic violence, whose characters are just as emotionless and ruthless as the video game on which it was based.
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Extreme