Timothy Olyphant - Agent 47
Dougray Scott - Mike Whittier
Olga Kurylenko - Nika Boronina
Robert Knepper - Yuri Marklove
Ulrich Thomsen - Mikhail Belicoff
Genre - Action
Running Time - 94 Minutes
Score - 2 Howls Outta 4
HITMAN is based on a series of video games by Edios Interactive. The film version begins by showing us the internal workings of The Organization, which is known by every single government in the world. Here, The Organization takes young children and turn them into killers through teaching them series of martial arts and weapon combat. These "killers" receive a number, get their heads shaved, and get stamped with a barcode on their backs.
Years pass and one of The Organization's greatest assassins is Agent 47 (Timpthy Olyphant), who is hired to assassinate the Russian president, Mikhail Belicoff (Ulrich Thomson). He pretty much does the job without much trouble, until he sees Belicoff appearing in the public eye soon after his "death". All of a sudden, 47 is being chased not only by The Russian Secret Service, but by The Organization, who ratted 47 out.
47 is also being pursued by an Interpol officer named Mike Whittier (Dougray Scott), who wants to prove to his superiors that The Organization really does exist and will be troublesome in the future. Along the way, 47 meets up with Belicoff's sex slave, Nika (Olga Kurylenko), taking her under his wing after kidnapping her as a hostage first. 47 now has to fight his former friends and Russian enemies while protecting Nika, saving his own ass, and exposing the truth behind Belicoff.
HITMAN is in another line of video games-into-movie adaptations that's nothing but a disappointment. It's not a horrible film, but it's bland and doesn't have much to offer the viewer at all. Xavier Gens, who directed the horror film FRONTIER(S), brings a lot of visual style to this action film. It looks exciting and seems to be enjoyable eye candy, but it's one of those cases where it's all style and no substance. That's not always a bad thing because that could work. THE TRANSPORTER films are perfect examples of that. But unlike THE TRANSPORTER films, HITMAN is unable to maintain the momentum and adrenaline needed to keep one's interest from beginning to end. Gens does present some cool stuff, like decent action sequences [the choregraphy is actually very well done in HITMAN] and some cool explosions. But that's pretty much it. The direction is just decent, with nothing remarkable included.
The story is also very flawed. I just couldn't get into this film as much as I wanted to because of it. Nothing is really explained or even makes any sense. Like what is The Corporation? Why do they do this? Why do they turn their backs on Agent 47? Why is the whole Catholic thing behind the organization never explained when it's shown to us multiple times? Why would the Russian president allow his double to get killed by Agent 47 when he could have kept him around for something more important? Why keep Nika around and protect her knowing she didn't witness the faux assassination? It's just too many damn questions and not enough answers. Plus, the film starts at the end and the rest of the film is a flashback that leads back to the beginning of the film. We know Agent 47 survives the whole ordeal. Our investment into his safety is completely evaporated. What a waste of time. By half way into the film, I just started to zone out. Skip Woods, who wrote the screenplay, also wrote SWORDFISH and has written the upcoming G.I. JOE flick. After watching HITMAN, my expectations for G.I. JOE has hit an all-time low.
Another flaw was the cast. Especially Timothy Olyphant as the lead. I know he's a good actor. Watching DEADWOOD and some of the other films he's been in prove that. But he's totally miscast in this film. He just seemed stiff and uncomfortable while trying not to give away the fact that he knows he's in a pretty crummy film. He never comes across as dangerous or a threat. He just looks bored and ready to cash that paycheck. Plus he needs to quit the deep voice because it was unconvincing at all times. Vin Diesel, who is credited as an executive producer, was supposed to star in this but dropped out for whatever reason. While not everyone is a fan of Diesel, I believe he would have made HITMAN better than it is. He has the presence and the charisma to pull the Agent 47 role off that Olyphant lacks. Olyphant has great body language and handles scenes well, but he doesn't have enough to carry this film.
Dougray Scott, who pretty fucked himself over when he dropped the Wolverine role to star in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 2, gets to star in another crappy role where he does absolutely nothing of note as a Interpol agent. He obviously tried, but I didn't really give a fuck at the end. Olga Kurylenko was the best actor in the film as Nika. She seemed to be having fun, plus she was very sexy. Thank God I had something great to look at.
I do think the film would have been a lot worse without the musical score by Geoff Zanelli. It was very energenic and engaging. I dug it alot and made even the duller scenes appear more exciting.
THE FINAL HOWL
HITMAN is a total rental/wait for cable to show it. This could have been a good film. The elements were definitely there. However, I don't know where it got screwy and ended up into this boring mess. Still, it's worth a look if you like action. Just don't expect to be too excited by HITMAN though. As far as I'm concerned, this film could swim with the fishes and I wouldn't bother searching for it.