On the list of videogame to movie adaptations, Hitman: Agent 47 shouldn’t be put at the bottom. It’s not Uwe Boll territory bad, certainly. At the base level, there is competence in the production. And it’s definitely better than the previous Hitman-based film. But, it still fails at being faithful to the game style, tone, story, and titular character. And it also fails at being a satisfying action movie and lacks any reason for the audience to care.
As a gamer, I’ve played through Hitman 2: Silent Assassin perhaps around two dozen times since it came out in 2002. And, maybe a dozen times each for Contracts and Blood Money. This movie, however, seemed to take most of its story elements and inspirations from Absolution, which is arguably the weakest in the series and, even as a huge fan of the series, a game I’ve only felt like playing through once. So, taking cues from the weakest game in the series for this movie isn’t a good start.
What else isn’t a good start to the movie is the opening credits scene. It eschews the idea of a Mr. 47 that hides in the shadows, that silently takes down his targets like a ghost with Jesper Kyd’s symphonic melodies performed by the Budapest Symphony Orchestra for a Mr. 47 that goes guns blazing, accompanied by martial arts moves with a beating action-movie soundtrack.
Another thing distracting for fans of the games is the casting of 47. He seems older, more threatening, and has a deeper voice in the games. Rupert Friend seems to try his best, but still can’t make his version of 47 feel like the game’s 47.
After the opening, there seems to be a block of about 10 minutes of the movie, introducing the audience to Katia (Hannah Ware), which seems to be a part of another, better movie with its pace and character interaction. She’s in an archival facility searching through records to search for a man that she doesn’t know and has no idea why she is compelled to search for hm. It’s baffling as to why it was necessary for it to be written like this. It’s very easy for the audience to assume that this man is probably her long estranged father already, and only adds confusion as to why she’d be so obsessed with someone whom she doesn’t know. But, I guess it’s because of her special mind powers that you very soon after learn that she has, but has a hard time controlling. For those that know the game series, she has the instinct kind of power that you have as 47 in Absolution, which makes her very sensitive and intuitive about her surroundings (something that helped make that game in the series inferior).
The movie revolves around The Syndicate – the rival to 47’s The Agency – trying to capture Katia to find her father, Litvenko (Ciarán Hinds), because he has the knowledge about how to create more Agents like 47. Presumably, The Syndicate wants to create an army of them.
Katia is found by John Smith (Zachary Quinto), who isn’t like the game’s CIA Agent Smith, while also being sought after by Agent 47. This is very reminiscent of a Terminator scenario, which is fitting, because Terminator Genisys is pretty much just as bad as this. And, on top of that, John Smith is a Syndicate agent that is like a scrapped idea for a Terminator model. He has special metal armor under his skin that has fluidity but can stop bullets.
Agent 47 eventually saves Katia because he wants to find her father, as well, and wants to protect her and train her because she is like him – only a later and superior version.
With Smith and The Syndicate trying to recapture the girl, it essentially becomes a chase movie with lots of stunts and dozens of faceless goons for 47 to kill. But Hitman: Agent 47’s convoluted and silly story, poor flow, and lack of character depth and development, all of these action scenes have no tension, suspense, or weight. It never feels as if 47 or Katia are in any danger. And, because it’s hard to care about the stakes the characters face in the movie, it’s as if there are no stakes.
However, there is another brief scene close to the end of the movie that feels like it’s from a good movie. It’s at a large botanical garden with Katia’s father. And it’s because of the scenery and the Irish actor Ciarán Hinds (an actor too good for this movie that can be seen in Game of Thrones and There Will Be Blood) that it is very temporarily elevated above what it is.
But, overall, Hitman: Agent 47 is a loud, dumb, and tediously dull action movie that is ultimately pointless. Instead, get the Hitman games which can be found on multiple platforms for a decent price, and watch the far superior hitman-themed action movies John Wick with Keanu Reeves, and The Equalizer with Denzel Washington.