Hitman: Agent 47 – Film Review by Frances Winston
Directed by: Aleksander Bach
Starring: Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto, Ciarán Hinds, Thomas Kretschmann
In cinemas 27th August
The 2007 video game adaptation Hitman was a surprise hit so it was only a matter of time before we were graced with another offering. Here Rupert Friend (ex-squeeze of Kiera Knightley) takes on the role of the cold and calculated assassin who has been bred to kill. Teaming up with a young woman named Katia (Ware) he determines to help her find her father who was responsible for the formation of the Agent programme which created him. However they are not the only ones seeking the missing scientist and they are pursued by the ruthless John Smith (Quinto) from the ICA (International Contracts Agency). He is seeking the runaway academic in order to allow the leader of a group called Syndicate International restart the Agent programme and create a race of super assassins.
If you don’t play the video games that may not have made much sense to you and it’s not always clear who is the good guy and who is the bad guy as the plot twists and turns. Friend has the cold determined 47 down to a tee but he is a bit of an anti-hero making it difficult to root for him. Even Katia is difficult to get behind despite her desperation to discover her roots. Personally I found myself rooting for Quinto’s Smith on more than one occasion. He plays these kind of complex characters so well and is definitely one of the best things about this film (although it seems a surprising choice for him given his movie star status).
Video games don’t tend to engage the viewer or have the same sort of character development as films and this definitely suffers from that. However, in its attempt to be a mainstream action flick it will probably also alienate some of the fans of the game. It’s always hard to strike the right balance with these sorts of films and although they have made a good attempt it never quite hits you the way it should (no pun intended).
While it is far better than it should be and great fun at times the fact that you don’t ultimately care that much about the characters leaves it lacking. At just over 90 minutes it won’t bore you but it’s not quite high octane enough to thrill either. A good choice if you are looking for a popcorn movie that requires little engagement. However, they do set it up for another sequel so of that goes ahead hopefully they can learn from the mistakes of this one as it could have been much better.