Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Movie Review #299: "Hitman: Agent 47" (2015)

Movie"Hitman: Agent 47"
Director: Aleksander Bach
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 36 minutes
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Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) is a genetically engineered human designed specifically to suppress all emotion and be the perfect killing machine. The scientist who developed the Agent program named Litvenko (CiarĂ¡n Hinds) shut it down and went into hiding. A corporation known as Syndicate hopes to resume the Agent program, but they must find the missing scientists to do this. The key to his location lies in the mind of a young woman named Katia (Hannah Ware), who has been searching for Litvenko for reasons unknown to her. Agent 47 must locate Katia before the Syndicate does and prevent them from finding Litvenko and reinstating the Agent program. 

I gotta tell ya, we're gettin' pretty tired of crappy video game movie adaptations.

BigJ and I don't often disagree much, but when it comes to "Hitman: Agent 47," the second attempt at adapting the Hitman video game into a motion picture, we disagree quite a bit. The first go around was simply titled "Hitman" and starred Timothy Olyphant in the titular roll. In this reboot of the series, Rupert Friend, best know for his role as Quinn on the TV series "Homeland," fills the role of Agent 47. This part was actually originally intended for Paul Walker, who tragically died in a car accident a couple years ago. Agent 47 is supposed to be a cold, emotionless and stoic character, and Rupert Friend seems to capture that aspect well, though his accent slips a lot throughout the film. This we both agree on completely. What I disliked a lot about this movie was its story. BigJ thinks filmmakers attempted to build some kind of a coherent story for the characters, something that was lacking from the previous go around, but unfortunately, the story presented in this reboot is ridiculously contrived. I think the story in this film muddles everything about it. While we don't know how much of the story is adapted straight from the video game, it doesn't really matter at the end of the day because we simply need to be entertained by what we're watching, and this film was a bore and a half to see unfold. From a mediocre beginning then comes an endless supply of ridiculous twists and turns and bad underacting and/or bad overacting.

Where this version fails the most has a lot to do with its action elements. There are some decent scenes in the film, but they are few and far between. Director Aleksander Bach relies far too much on CGI in trying to achieve what he wants to appear on screen. This overuse of unnecessary CGI makes much of the action look fake as bodies and cars fall in very unnatural ways and blood squibbs are spotted as phony from a mile away. Even the CGI fire, which is commonly used successfully in other movies, seems to be sloppily executed, CGI 101, fake as hell fire. It feels like Bach is trying to make something more reminiscent to a "Fast and Furious" movie than a "Hitman" movie with lots of car chases, over-the-top shootouts, and unnecessary explosions. And while we're on the subject of cars, the Audi is almost always used here in what can only be described as a product placement, showcasing their smooth drifting abilities, sleek paint jobs, enhanced headlights, and all-around versatility....wait, do we want an Audi?!!?!?!? Another big problem is the acting. Rupert Friend does just fine, and since he's supposed to be stiff-like, it works, but we also don't find Hannah Ware, who plays Katia, to be very believable in the part of a genetically advanced human. Not only is she not built for such a role, but remember what we were saying about overacting or underacting? This applies exactly to her. She's either emoting herself too much, or acting stiff like her Hitman counterpart. It's hard to take her seriously when there are so many unexplained coincidences about her character. Just because she's a genetically modified human doesn't necessarily mean she'd be psychic or be able to see the future, and just because she's a genetically modified human doesn't necessarily mean she'd be able to pick one city off of a map and know it was where her father was living. Seriously, at one point, she puts up her gigantic map of clues as to where her father might be located and starts picking places he wouldn't be off one by one and automatically assumed he's in Singapore? You mean to tell us there's no other city in the world with a warm climate and orchids??!! Come ON!!!! It's just so ridiculous and phony! Zachary Quinto, who plays John Smith, does the same thing later in the film. Katia had tons of notes and clues on her map, literally hundreds of places tracked and notes and photos and news stories of where he father had been in his life, and yet, without an enhanced brain, John Smith walks into her hotel room and just deduces, automatically, that she and Agent 47 have gone to Singapore because of a folded in half pink post-it note with squiggly lines on it?! UGHHHHHH. Plus, Ware is in the movie almost as much if not more than Friend, so shouldn't it be called "Hitman: Agent Other Lady" at that point? Anyway, back to John Smith, the top henchman for the Syndicate Corporation and primary physical rival for Agent 47. Smith is genetically modified much like 47, but his main flaw is his ego in that he wants to prove he is the better killer between the two of them. This leads to a battle of who has the bigger dick size as 47 and John Smith fight a couple of times in an underwhelming fashion with the ultimate goal being the top dog, the best macho male.

When push comes to shove, if the makers of this movie went into it hoping to make a good or even halfway decent film, they failed miserable, in my opinion. BigJ thinks this movie is simply there, existing, but nothing special, whereas I did not like this film at all, and in fact, I prefer the original with Timothy Olyphant, which had more believable, gritty action and an attempt at something better than what was served up here. Things might have been more successful than the flop of a film we were given if only everyone involved had not gone into this project to simply preserve its rights for 20th Century Fox. A $35 million budget was just wasted and no one seems to have batted an eye, but after "Fantastic Four" and its miserable, barely in the top 10 for 3 weeks run, it seems obvious they really can't afford to lose any more money simply in the name of retaining the rights to a franchise. In the end, "Hitman: Agent 47" is boring and completely forgettable, nothing you want to pay to see on screen, and none of story elements pull you in enough to make it memorable in the slightest. It's unfortunate for the filmmakers since they put an open ending tacked on 30 seconds into the credit roll with the clear intention of making a sequel. If you follow box office numbers at all, this doesn't seem extremely likely. 

My Rating: 3.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 9%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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