Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hitman: The Movie

Two words suffice in order to describe Hitman: entertaining and, at the same time, insipid.

Agent 47 (Timothy Olyphant), a gun-for-hire, works for a criminal agency known as "The Agency". On a mission to Russia, when the agency's client asks Agent 47 to change his plans in order to eliminate a Russian presidential candidate, things go wrong. In fact, as he tries to kill a Nika Boronina (Olga Kurylenko), a woman described as a "witness" by the client, Agent 47 is tracked down by Interpol and the Russian secret services. Or is Nika's murder supposed to cover something up?

No matter how lame this film is, let's try to find a bright side to it. The truth about it is that it really kept me entertained, considering that I watched it to refresh from my labour. In fact, I found the gunfight scenes so well shot. In addition to that, you also get to see some amazing hand-to-hand fight sequences. Nonetheless, if French director Xavier Gens is good at manipulating the camera, the same thing can't be said about his talent to tell a story.

Indeed, Hitman fails to be good because of the lame script. While there's not much to understand about the storyline, Hitman takes itself way too seriously. In fact, when the action begins, that is Agent 47's mission in Russia, the movie piles up many sub-plots just to look complex. Unfortunately, these sub-plots add no dramatic interest to the movie. This means that the movie badly talks about Agent 47's quest for something. Moreover, while the plot is supposed to get Agent 47 involved in a complex political situation, the effects of this situation is not explored at the end of the movie. Instead, any entertainment fiends would agree that the pathetic display of sub-plots has one advantage: it brings us spectacular action scenes.

Obviously, it seems that the scriptwriter doesn't understand that good action sequences - separated by a period of less than 10 minutes - don't make a story! Moreover, the sub-plots come so quickly that it gives to the character unconvincing mood swings. While Timothy Olyphant (known for the TV series Deadwood), Dougray Scott (Mission: Impossible II) and Olga Kurylenko (Paris, je t'aime) are certainly good actors, the insipid dialogues don't help them to actually portray really well the changes of emotions and thoughts from their characters.

Finally, while there's not much to enjoy from Hitman, let it be said its pros are: Olga Kurylenko's - whom I'm dying to see in Quantum of Solace - exotic beauty and the well-made action sequences. As for the cons, well, it's just too bad that this adaptation from Eidos' video games franchise had to be so ripped off by an incompetent scriptwriter. Hopefully, the film manages to stay faithful to the video games.

Rating: 2.5/5


USA/France (2007)
Length: 93 minutes
Genre: Action thriller
Screenplay: Skip Woods
Directed by: Xavier Gens
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko, Robert Knepper and Ulrich Thomsen

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