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    Hitman: Agent 47 (2015) - Movie Review

    “An action film that both misses the mark and leaves no mark.” 

    Rupert Friend dons a black suit, white shirt and red necktie as a deadly robotic killing machine in Hitman: Agent 47, a film based on the popular Hitman videogame series. Serving as directorial debut for commercial veteran Aleksander Bach, this reboot of the 2007 film Hitman which starred Timothy Olyphant is another, following this year’s Fantastic Four, high-adrenaline but low-sensibility reimagining of an action hero film.

    In 1960s, a government top secret program produces genetically engineered soldiers. These assassins lack fear, love, compassion and other emotions but possess incredible strength, speed and intelligence. The program is eventually abandoned but one subject manages to survive.

    Katia Van Dees (Hannah Ware) is the daughter of Dr. Litvenko (Ciaran Hinds), the master scientist behind the defunct program. She is hiding somewhere in Berlin, away from the people who believe she can lead them to her father. Hot on her tail are Agent 47 (Friend), a contract killer whose identity is preserved in a barcode tattooed at the back of his skull, and John Smith (Zachary Quinto), a superhuman stranger who offers her protection. Unknown to her, Katia is also genetically modified. With this, she can foresee the immediate future and in her visions, she vaguely sees a man she does not know. With Syndicate International, a secret organization intent on reviving the Agent program, also pursuing her, Katia must rely on her gifts to place her trust on the right people. 

    Hitman: Agent 47 has a number of things to be proud of. It is fast-paced with plenty of blood and body counts. It has abundance of car crash, shootouts and hand-to-hand combats. Such action scenes are decent, impressive and well-choreographed. Additionally, the film is visually arresting with its attractive usage of color, symmetries and camera angles. The giant turbine engine scene, the blood splashed on the Syndicate headquarter’s white interiors and the cornering of Agent 47’s red Audi are some of the film’s pleasing visual exhibitions. Plus the Hitman’s and Smith’s hot suits. Their outfits are strikingly tailored. One last thing, Berlin and Singapore, where the film is shot in location, are breathtaking.

    However, the film is simply an eye candy. It is delightful on the outside but lacks substance in the inside. Like many forgettable action movies, it is generic and formulaic, filled with clich├ęs and overused narratives. It centers on a premise that a programmed cold-blooded assassin could maintain a conscience (sighs). However, the plot is too muddled that characters, not the physicality but the personality, are too interchangeable. It is difficult to identity who is working for whom and what are the motivations behind their actions. They are all too cold and too invincible, even Katia. But then, if Katia is more highly-powered than the Agents, then why does she need anyone’s protection? And not even once she is able to prove her superiority. Besides, we all love underdogs and it is quite hard to root for people who are strong in all aspects. It is quite pointless to cheer for such characters.

    Friend is fit for the physical tasks as he smoothly manuevers himself from one action sequence to another. Yet, he fails to give more intensity to his already shallow character. He is just there with that dull, angry face. While Hinds and Quinto are both wasted and underused, newcomer Ware does her best to give gravity to Katia. Still, her magnetic beauty is not enough to save her character.

    Hitman: Agent 47 is just pretty to look at and nothing more. It is humourless and weightless. When a grotesque musical score comes along the leads’ climactic moment, it was like Terminator-meet-Matrix ala Tarantino-style. Indeed, the film lacks freshness to warrant any sequel. 

    Production Company: 20th Century Fox
    Cast: Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto, Ciaran Hinds, Thomas Kretschmann, Angelababy
    Director: Aleksander Bach
    Screenwriters: Skip Woods, Michael Finch
    Producers: Charles Gordon, Adrian Askarieh, Alex Young, Skip Woods
    Executive producers: Daniel Alter, Michael Hendrickson, Marco Mehlitz
    Director of photography: Ottar Gudnason
    Production designer: Sebastian Krawinkel
    Costume designer: Bina Daigeler
    Editor: Nicolas De Toth 
    Music:  Marco Beltrami


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