Hitman: Agent 47

Posted by Michael Parsons on August 23, 2015 in , / 1 Comment


When in doubt, fly a helicopter into a building, because you might take out a few bad guys and win the movie. That’s the standard of logic behind director Aleksander Bach’s sequel/reboot of 2007’s “Hitman”, which is loosely adapted from the IO Interactive video game series of flagging popularity. It might be its most laughably over-the-top scene, but it’s not nearly the film’s biggest problem.

In “Hitman: Agent 47”, Rupert Friend of “Homeland” fame takes the reigns from Timothy Olyphant as the titular cloned assassin, and this time he’s out to prevent an enemy organization from getting their hands on the formula that created #47 and his bald-headed brethren. To keep the body count respectably high, wave after wave of under-prepared paramilitary types are hitman-agent-47-photo-02_1273.0deployed to their doom, save the virtually bulletproof John Smith (Zachary Quinto), a wolf dressed for a GQ fall fashion shoot. Agent 47 must do battle with Smith in order to ensnare Katia (Hannah Ware), an enigmatic prognosticator with a bead on the geneticist (Ciarán Hinds) who holds the secret sauce to the cloning program.

The film itself looks like a facsimile of any number of other low-grade action flicks, with each fight scene more forced and  mechanical than the next, each environment more sterile, each round discharged more numbing to the senses. And despite an ever-growing pool of adversaries,  Agent 47’s biggest struggle seems to be against  the effects of an Ambien: at one point, after an exhausting exchange of clichés with Katia regarding humans beings’ ability to change, he hangs up his throwing knives and falls asleep sitting upright in a chair, trademark red necktie still firmly in place.

Ware at least exhibits some charisma as the heroine,  as she hones her abilities through a series of tests that are designed to prepare her for some highly unlikely circumstances, like being held hostage in a state-of-the-art aeronautic test facility (and later, tied up in the cockpit of a remote-controlled helicopter). It turns out that a giant turbine engine can really come in handy when you need to untether yourself from a chair, or for making bad-guy puree, if a firearm isn’t readily available.

The film ends up in Singapore, where cinematographer Óttar Guðnason makes the most of its striking architecture and scenery, a much better reason to visit the city than endure the movie. As far as the script is concerned, original “Hitman” writer Skip Woods and “November Man” contributor Michael Finch clearly want to expand the world in which these characters exist without doing anything with the characters themselves. If you’re still in your seat when the credits start rolling,  you might as well stick around for a sequence mid-way through that suggests there will be more “Hitman” to come. But “Agent 47” will likely drum up more business for Audi than it will demand for a third movie.

Michael Parsons

Father. Realtor®. Movie nut. After pestering my parents for their commentary on “Star Wars” when I was four years old, my mind went into a creative frenzy. I’d imagined something entirely different than the actual film, which I didn’t end up seeing until its 1979 re-release at the Uptown Theater in Washington, DC. This was my formal introduction to the cinema.

During that long wait, which felt like an eternity to a child, my mind was being molded by more corrosive stuff like “Trilogy of Terror” and “Rosemary’s Baby”, most of which I’d conned various babysitters into letting me watch on television ( I convinced one poor lady that “Jaws” was actually “Moby Dick”).

The folks were pretty strict in that regard, so the less appropriate it was for a kid to watch, the more I was fascinated by it. Horror staples like “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th”, as well as lesser-known low-budget fare like “Madman”, “Sleepaway Camp” and “Pieces” all ended up sneaking their way into the VHS on a regular basis.

Since then, I’ve developed an obsession with the entire film industry. Even though I watch and review a wide breadth of films these days, my appreciation for the campy, poorly lit micro-budgeters still lends itself to my evolving perspective on movies just as much as the summer blockbusters and Oscar contenders. As I recall my trips to the movie theater, I realize that this stuff is about much more than just a fleeting piece of entertainment.

A couple years ago, I was finally given the opportunity to lend my opinion on films to a publication, The Rogers Revue, with a subsequent run at Reel Film News. It's been both a privilege and a gateway to what we’re doing now. Most of my experience has come from interviewing independent filmmakers, who consistently promote innovation. The filmmaking process is grueling and relatively unforgiving.

Fellow film enthusiast Eddie Pasa and I have created DC Filmdom as a medium for film reviews, discussion, and (inevitably) some debate. And so, the creative frenzy continues.

(Michael is a member of the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association).

One Comment

  • This is a fantastic movie. The story of man was trained and brought up to be a deadly mercenary since childbirth. The turning point is when he was manipulated and betrayed by his client which is the Russian president. And when he met a woman, the slave woman of the president, things get a little bit complicated. It is full of action and suspense scenes. And one thing I admire about the main character, agent 47, is that no matter how many times he was tempted by the slave women, he never gives in. I highly recommend this movie to those who have not seen it yet. Thanks.


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