I was going to start this on the defensive. I was going to talk about how video games as inspiration for films shouldn’t be dismissed, and that there are countless games with smart, intelligent, funny, often subversive narratives. I was going to talk about how some film adaptations worked better than others, and how some, even in failure, have done some remarkable things.
But it’s not worth it. Because Hitman: Agent 47 fails on almost every conceivable level. It fails as an adaptation of IO Interactive’s long-running Hitman franchise. It fails as a film. It fails almost every narrative test. It’s badly written, the characters are poorly conceived, shallow, automatons without nuance or subtlety. Its action sequences are bright and fast, but over-edited, clumsily executed, and utterly lackluster. Rupert Friend is terrible in this role, unable to consistently maintain an American accent, and can carry neither the part of the unblinking killer, nor the eventual sort-of-conflicted emotionalism of the character’s so-called arc. He lacks the physicality to make any of his fight scenes truly believable, and instead the combat seems too much like what it actually is: scenes edited to make a decidedly non-badass person look badass. It is entirely too easy to see what’s going on behind the curtain, and it takes you out of every fight scene entirely. While director Aleksander Bach certainly tries hard to duplicate look and feel of Agent 47, Friend lacks the menace and grim determination of the character he’s modeled on, and it just never works.
The film wastes some remarkable talent — Friend, first and foremost, but also the wondrous Ciarán Hinds, relegated to a gasping old man with a dozen or so saccharine lines. Thomas Kretchmann is there, playing his usual menacing foreign-type, but without any kind of pathos or backstory, just a stock character tiredly going through the motions. The bright spots are Hannah Ware, as the young woman everyone is hunting as the link to the Agent program — she at least gets to emote a bit, and when she becomes a more active player, fighting her own battles instead of crying and running, she’s moderately fun to watch — and Zachary Quinto, who plays a double agent whose two different personalities are so at odds with each other that it’s fun to watch him chew the fuck out of both of them.
There’s a story nestled in this unimaginative, derivative pablum. Someone created super soldiers called agents, they were disbanded, someone wants to start it back up, Hannah Ware is the key, Rupert Friend is the antihero Agent who seeks and eventually ends up helping her. Astonishingly, that’s really it. I mean, in its totality. There is no subplot, no surprises that the trailers don’t give away, nothing else. And it’s all boring. The pacing is nightmarishly slow, the dialogue rote and stupid, as if hastily scribbled on a Dunkin Donuts napkin because the writers got halfway through the damn thing before realized that hadn’t written any lines. As an adaptation, it’s a disservice to the source material, which is brutal and inventive and clever. This is instead dull, uninspired, and just loud and fast enough to fool idiots into thinking they’re seeing something innovative onscreen. Pro-tip: You’re not. You’re watching bread and circus, flashily edited sound and fury that fails to convey any sense of stakes, urgency, or excitement. Put more simply for you dullards that might enjoy this mess, it’s little more than a piece of shit rolled in glitter.
Hitman: Agent 47 is garbage. Irredeemable, unforgivable, pointless, uninspired bullshit that has no merit in any way, shape or form. It’s completely without purpose. It’s a lousy movie that inspired nothing but boredom, frustration, and aggravation. I haven’t been this happy to walk out of a theater in months. If this was a video game, and I’d paid $60 for it, I’d snap the disc in half and use the broken pieces to slash the developer’s tires. If you still bother to see this movie, you deserve nothing but misery in your life.