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Because we haven’t suffered enough: “Hitman: Agent 47”

August 25, 2015

hitman-agent-47-poster-art

So, this is really happening, huh? We actually have a remake/reboot/further installment of the Hitman, uh, franchise (please God tell me we don’t have to call it a franchise). This despite the fact that the first Hitman movie was a critical and financial flop that no one really wanted in the first place. But, Hollywood being Hollywood, a couple of railed-to-the-gills-on-coke movie execs decided, what the hell. I mean, just because the movie failed once maybe it’ll fail less badly this time. And that’s how we got Hitman: Agent 47. At least I assume that’s what happened. It really doesn’t matter. Like chlamydia or a tornado it’s here and we have to deal with it.

Hitman: Agent 47 begins with an epic info dump that assumes we care much more about the minutiae of this story than any sensible human being (or not-so-sensible human being, or brain-dead cat for that matter) does. The gist is this: the US government getically-engineered some super assassins they call Agents, but then they got cold feet and nixed the project. The main scientist went on the run, and here we are. Wow. I did that in, like, 700 fewer words than the movie did.

Okay, just stop it! Stop being so stupid!

The movie opens with the titular Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) slaughtering a bunch of assassins working for an eeeevil organization called Syndicate International (I guess Villainy Inc. was copyrighted or something). Seems Syndicate wants to find Litvenko (Ciaran Hinds), the doctor who created the Agents, so they can restart the program. Now, in a normal film, the plot would build to this revelation, but Hitman: Agent 47 isn’t so much interested in telling a  coherent story as it is giving its characters (or, rather, their CGI avatars) a reason to fight.

This is, like, 70% of the movie right here.

This is, like, 70% of the movie right here.

Then the movies follows a mysterious young woman named Katia (Hannah Ware) who is compelled by reasons she doesn’t understand to find Litvenko. Because he’s her father. Oh, um, Spoiler (not really a spoiler). I mean, why else would she be obsessively searching for him? But this never occurs to Katia, despite the fact she has no memories of her parents, so duh.

Yeah, no one is what you’d describe as smart in this movie.

Anyway, Katia links up with a supposedly nice guy who calls himself John Smith (Zachary Quinto, who presumably lost a bet or has an agent that really hates him), who tells her that Agent 47 is after her, but he can protect her. Alas, hey, got any iodea where your dad might be? Any at all? yeah, that’s not suspicious. Anyway, he does kind of a shitty job at protecting her, because Agent 47 promptly finds them, shoots Smith and abducts Katia.

Really, Zach? This seemed like a good idea to you?

Really, Zach? This seemed like a good idea to you?

Agent 47 wants to convince Katia that she’s also an Agent, and he eventually does so by laying out the evidence in clear compelling manner. Ha! No, he actually takes her to a jet-propulsion lab and ties her to a stationary jet-engine and turns it on, trusting that her enhanced instincts will help her escape from being cuisinarted.

Agent 47 is kind of a dick.

But then they’re ambushed by the evil John Smith—who didn’t die because he’s like Wolverine—and some henchmen. And, thus, with all the surprises (I’m using that word awfully loosely) pretty much spent, the rest of the movie is a chase from Smith and his endless supply of faceless henchmen, while Agent 47 and Katia attempt to, well, kill everyone in the movie with a speaking role. Yeah, Ronin this is not.

Hitman Agent 47 TRAILER

Jesus, will you give it a rest with this pose?

Holy crap, I didn’t actually believe they could make a follow-up that was worse than the first Hitman movie, but, hey, we put a man on the moon, split the atom, mapped the human genome…I guess no feat is truly beyond human endeavor.

This movie was written by Skip Woods, whose resume reads like a list of movies to watch if you want to lose faith in film as an art form (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Swordfish, A Good Day to Die Hard, The A-Team). How it is this guy hasn’t been dragged before the Hague to answer for his crimes, I’ll never know.

Look at his face....he looks like a douchey preying mantis...

Look at his face….he looks like a douchey preying mantis…

But aside from the lateral move in the script department, they’ve traded down in terms of actors. Timothy Olyphant’s turn as Agent 47 wasn’t exactly a master class in acting, but his perpetual on-the-verge-of-homicidal-violence manner better fit the character than Friend’s squinchy face and smug smile. Ware is mostly a non-entity compared to Olga Kurylenko’s soulful pouting and palpable sexuality (even playing against a largely sexless foil, she practically set the screen on fire). 

Your hitman power is being able to run behind me.

Your hitman power is being able to run behind me.

The action is all choppy CG-rendered BS that doesn’t even try to be clever, let alone obey the laws of physics. After the first couple times Agent 47 makes an impossible pistol shot or does something patently unbelievable, all the suspense pretty much evaporates and it’s all just visual noise.

On top of that we have…

* John Smith is indestructable because he has “subdermal titanium armor.” Hahahahaha! Holy shit, that’s the stupidest thing I ever heard! They actually paid someone to crap out stuff like that? I’m pretty sure any random 13 year-old would have done it for a bottle of Mountain Dew.

Guess what's not in this movie? A gunship.

Guess what’s not in this movie? A gunship.

* Agent 47 gets out of an interrogation room by bumping the table, where his loaded sniper rifle was helpfully placed. This causes it to fire and shoot off his handcuffs. Hahahahahahahahaha! Stop it, movie! You’re killing me!

* Agent 47 just travels from place to place on airplanes while carrying his bag full of guns. Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah! Seriously, movie, I’m gonna pass out here!

* The last third of the film takes place in Singapore, and director Aleksander Bach films things mostly indoors or in close-up shots. Because why would you want to show off one of the most visually-interesting cities in the world?

Gross. We need more shots inside white offices.

Gross. We need more shots inside white offices.

* Chinese superstar Angelababy appears as Agent 47’s handler. She literally phones in her role, never appearing with anyone else, and looks to have to have shot most of her scenes at her apartment and maybe while she was shopping. And that’s why the Chinese will rule the world someday.

Welp, that’s Hitman: Agent 47. Jesus, I know it’s August, but we deserve better than this.

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