Eric D. Snider


Movie Review


by Eric D. Snider

Grade: D

Released: November 21, 2007


Directed by:


I was worried the streak might be broken. "Hitman" stars Timothy Olyphant, who's a good actor, and it's about a squad of assassins who are raised up from childhood to be perfect killers -- kind of a cool idea. Would this be the first time in history that a movie based on a video game turned out to be good?

Never fear! The streak continues. "Hitman" ought to be all about the fighting and killing, yet the fight scenes aren't terribly good. They're not even abundant, which is the sort of thing you can usually count on in a movie like this. I haven't played "Hitman," but I'm guessing the movie has chosen, for some reason, to re-create the story scenes that play between levels. The ones that players skip.

Olyphant plays Agent 47, an orphan who was trained in the art of killing with other orphans and castoffs by a secret organization. This organization shaves their heads clean and tattoos barcodes on the backs of their skulls -- you know, to help them totally blend into a crowd and not stand out in any way.

The story is convoluted and chaotic, but it mostly involves Agent 47 pursuing Russian president Belicoff (Ulrich Thomsen), whom he was supposed to kill but who wound up alive instead. It could be that Agent 47's own people are turning against him. He doesn't really know who his "people" are. He only communicates with them via instant messenger on his laptop. His handler's remarks are read aloud by the computer software, I guess so the audience doesn't get bored reading them. He even communicates this way in a crowded train station, where anybody walking past could overhear. Again, stealth, not really this secret organization's strong suit.

Agent 47 winds up protecting/kidnapping Nika (Olga Kurylenko), a semi-Russian babe who's been sleeping with Belicoff. The agent was supposed to kill her but changed his mind. He makes her ride in the trunk of his car most of the time. He's also being pursued by Mike Whittier (Dougray Scott), an Interpol agent.

"Hitman" serves as a reminder that Russian accents are nearly always funny. This is especially true when one of them is coming from Robert Knepper (as a coldblooded Russian mobster), who plays the sinister T-Bag on TV's "Prison Break."

The director is a French fellow named Xavier Gens. His first feature, a horror flick called "Frontiere(s)," is set to be released by Lionsgate at some point in 2008. I've heard good things about it, as far as French horror flicks go. No doubt it's better than "Hitman," which was written by Skip Woods, who wrote the John Travolta/Halle Berry disaster "Swordfish," which I probably could have mentioned at the beginning of this review to save you the trouble of reading any further.

Grade: D

Rated R, a lot of harsh profanity, plenty of violence and shooting, some brief partial nudity

1 hr., 40 min.

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This item has 16 comments

  1. Nick S says:

    Oh forgot to add i was hoping this wouldnt be a disappointment of a movie, but i didnt exactly have high hopes for it :P Ahh well, just add it to the list of crap video games movies. One day someone might be able to get it right. Can only hope :P

  2. Rob D. says:

    I agree that Swordfish was a disaster and I won't be seeing this movie.

  3. Bull says:

    I haven`t seen yet "Hitman", but from what i am reading in your review i suppose that it`s main target are the fans of the game. I supose that explains your confusion..i think it may have alot of "blanks" left in the story. The house with the bald kids with barcodes on their skulls you are talking about should have been infact a institution for mental-ill people, in some remote location in Europe witch served as a cover for a secret facility where a bunch of scientists conducted by a german guy were manipulating DNA gens in order to create the "uber-soldier" for some goverment`s miltary.The "some-country" goverment decides to cut the project funding, so the scinetist decides to do this on his own, so he uses the first "DNA-manipluated cloned-humans" to make a secret organization of hitmans to keep funding his projects. The name each "project" gets is in order of his "birth"-so that`s why he`s name is "Agent 47"- because he is "project for making the uber-soldier #47". First they thought that he was a succes, but in time they discovered that he has some problems in trusting everything they say to him(he has a mind of his own), so they decide to kill him because they were afraid he might find out who and why created him and come for revenge(witch he eventually does)

    P.S : excuse my enghlish

  4. Brad says:

    I dunno, Eric, I have played the games, and actually the movie does a good job of making you feel like you're playing one. The assassinations are the "levels" and the story is discovered en route to your target. Essentially, this movie is the equivalent of watching someone else play a Hitman game, and obviously that won't appeal to everyone (or even many).

    I guess it says something about me that I found it enjoyable. I'm a sucker for movies about snipers and assassins, I suppose.

  5. devon says:

    from the review "Agent 47 winds up protecting/kidnapping Nika (Olga Kurylenko), a semi-Russian babe who's been sleeping with Belicoff. The agent was supposed to kill her but changed his mind. He makes her ride in the trunk of his car most of the time."

    this sounds just like the movie THE TRANSPORTER. werid.

  6. kevith says:

    I'm probably not going to see this movie, but I have played one or two of the Hitman games and I wanted to address your complaint about the lack of fighting and killing. One thing that's fun/interesting about them is that you achieve the highest score by NOT causing a lot of violence and mayhem. The goal is to sneak in without being detected, take out the target (preferably in a way that does not involve firing any bullets), and get out. The game actually gives you quite a bit of latitude as far as creative use of your environment goes. That being said, you always have the option to just run in and shoot eveything that moves, but it's generally not as successful.

  7. Craig says:

    That being said, you always have the option to just run in and shoot eveything that moves, but it's generally not as successful.

    That depends on your definition of "successful," really. Massacring everybody within a mile of your assigned target does get the job done, so long as you don't get killed in the process. I have rather fond memories of replaying Hitman 3 with nothing but the minigun, for instance.

    Glorious excess, that.

  8. Josh says:

    I like the Hitman games, but the movie was just horrible, i can deal with there not being much action, i was actually hoping for that, assuming Agent 47 would set up a great assassination and execute, but in order to do that there needs to be some sort of plot thats actually told. The only reason I stayed in the theater was because I was assuming they were going to somehow connect the dots and make the story feasible at the end, but nope, they definately didn't do that....i'm sorry I watched the whole thing.

  9. Chrystle says:

    This sounds an awful lot like Dark Angel - the show Fox cancelled for Firefly

  10. David Manning says:

    "I haven't played 'Hitman,' but I'm guessing the movie has chosen, for some reason, to re-create the story scenes that play between levels. The ones that players skip."

    Um, this isn't 1995. Videogames have long since evolved, and storylines are a major factor in their development. I'm not saying there AREN'T a few brainless action-seekers amongst our ranks, but in the day and age of 2007, that stereotype really can't be applied anymore.

    Which is a shame, because it's a pretty awesome stereotype.

  11. David says:

    I enjoyed the movie, and I only minimally played the game. Given the nearly inhuman role that Timothy Olyphant had to play, I think he did a great job. Granted, I suppose I may be a sucker for the psychologial aspects of the movie, which I thought complimented the action nicely.

  12. Alex says:

    To "Chrystle": If you have seen the whole series of Dark Angel, you will see a MAJOR similarity between the two. Even from the first minute you can see that they put bar codes on the back of the children's heads, were in a facility almost exactly like the one in Dark Angel, a group of the children try to escape and one gets a gun holding to one of the 'guards?' with other children standing behind him (it is an EXACT scene in dark angel). They even have the same little gowns on and jump over a barb wired fence. In the first part of the movie you can tell that those parts are DIRECT rip-offs of the Dark Angel show. Even the storyline is similar is almost every way possible without breaking the copyright laws !

    If you can get past the very visible rip offs, then the movie isn't that bad.

  13. Ralph says:

    I think some of you miss the over-all-ness that you feel at the end of a movie. First off, Swordfish was a bad-ass movie. And you can't be doggin all movies created from video games, Silent Hill was a great flick, and so was the Resident Evil series. You can't be so cynical all the time, just enjoy what you're watching. I agree with some of the other comments though, this 'is' for the fans. If you just wanted a bunch of shooting and mayhem then it would probably end up like "shoot em up", which was completely ridiculous.

  14. Sebastian says:

    I read that next to the actor who was finally chosen, Vin Diesel was an option of performing Agent 47 in the movie.

    In my oppinion neither Timothy Olyphant nor Vin Diesel was a perfect choice. But Jason Statham would have been the best choice for this Job!!

  15. Jeff B. says:

    Anyone find it HILARIOUS that 47 packed enough explosives onto his hotel door to blow himself, and anyone else on the other side of that door, into at a bloody pulp? what if the SWAT saw the glass reflecting into their eyes in the brightly lit corridor, opened the door too fast for 47 to do anything-- SPLAT, no jumping into the pool for him. Hrm, I am still wondering if he actually chose that room in the first place because the pool was there... but if he planned on people coming, a smaller, more sensible claymore would've done the trick much better. I must digress that I knew the suckage going to come on hard when something felt weird about him holding a gun on that guy, sitting down, and to talking like a clich├ęd bond villain to start off the film. Silenced guns are still [swear word] loud; it would've woken up the family and put himself into an unnecessary situation. Probably could have went with fiber wire, but I'm not a hitman, whatever.

    The simple fact is that 47 wasn't a hitman more than he was a Arnold Swartzeneggar knockoff. Damn, I felt like he was too busy posing for the camera to look cool...not kill efficiently.

  16. Emma says:

    To Alex:

    It isn't technically a rip-off of Dark Angel because they bought that footage to use here. I got majorally excited when I saw it and thought there was going to be some Hitman/Dark Angel cross-over but unfortunately not.

    Overall, it's a pretty good movie and does exactly what it's meant to. No-one can say it's dissapointing.

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