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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 4, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 36
Latest Hitman assassinates entertainment
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Latest Hitman assassinates entertainment

by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

HITMAN: AGENT 47
Now playingb

As video game adaptations go, Hitman: Agent 47 is better than 2007's Hitman, the last time anyone had the bright idea to try and bring this particularly violent shoot-'em-up to the big screen. But, considering that debacle was one of the worst efforts the genre has ever offered up, and, yes, I've seen Doom, Double Dragon, Wing Commander, House of the Dead, BloodRayne, DOA: Dead or Alive, Postal and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, this isn't saying a lot. In fact, it's actually saying less than that, because even though it's a more well thought out, visually interesting action effort than its predecessor that still doesn't make it any good. In fact, it actually makes the sequel one of 2015's most difficult to sit through wastes of time.

Skip Woods, who not only wrote the first one but also had a hand in such wretched spectacles like A Good Day to Die Hard, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Swordfish, teams up with fellow screenwriter Michael Finch (Predators) to craft the script for this one, and results are not good. Apparently, the best the pair can come up with is to liberally crib from both The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (not to mention any of the many Resident Evil sequels), a mad dash of Halloween and The Bourne Identity thrown in for good measure. It's a mess, on some levels a spectacular one, a statement that in any way whatsoever should be construed as a reason to give the film a look.

Katia (Hannah Ware) is the long-lost daughter of the missing scientist (CiarĂ¡n Hinds) who originally started the program that transformed countless youngsters into cold-blooded killing machines like the unstoppable Agent 47 (Rupert Friend). He's been tasked by a shadowy organization to keep her from finding dear old dad, mainly because the CEO (Thomas Kretschmann) of a monolithic corporation is intent on getting their hands on him in order to restart the Agent program for reasons too devious and dastardly to allow. Keeping Agent 47 at bay is John Smith (Zachary Quinto), Katia allowing herself to be put into his hands as the lethal assassin chasing them stops at nothing to fulfill his contract.

What follows are a series of shootouts, fist fights, car crashes and near escapes as truths become lies, secrets are revealed and a whole lot of scientific gobbledygook is blurted out as if viewers are actually meant to make heads or tails out of any of it. Director Aleksander Bach stages a couple of decent moments, I can't deny that, an escape from what looks like an airplane engine factory suitably violent and grotesque. But he's also just as apt to let himself become beholden to tired modern action film tropes. There's too much horribly obvious CGI, too much shaky-cam and Michael Bay-inspired quick-cutting that devolves fight scenes into visually incoherent blurs. Worst of all, the abundance of shots showcasing Agent 47 walking in obnoxiously ludicrous slow-motion, all of which would be unintentionally hysterical if they weren't so gosh-darn ponderous.

Okay. So the movie's terrible. I guess this shouldn't come as anything close to resembling a surprise. But part of me is a tiny bit angry that I didn't want it to be, that I want to allow myself to imagine that a low rent video game adaptation such as this could have bucked the trend and been worthwhile. Same time, after all these years, after so many bad movies and disappointing misfires, I still like to be the critic who feels any movie, any movie at all, could potentially be awesome. Hitman: Agent 47 is the type of disaster that can kill those sort of aspirations, this lethal killing machine nothing more than a dream assassin making it the most heinous type of misfire there possibly is.

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