Tuesday, April 08, 2008

REVIEW: Hitman


Year: 2007
Director: Xavier Gens
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko, Robert Knepper, Ulrich Thomsen
Distributor: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
MPAA: Rated R

If their was any game out their that really deserved to be turned into a motion picture, it was Hitman. It was first reported in 2005 that actor Vin Diesel was trying to bring our beloved assassin to the big screen with him in the running to play Agent 47. It was later confirmed that Vin Diesel had dropped out of the movie and was replaced by Timothy Olyphant. Diesel instead served as an executive producer for the movie. Personally, I never imagined both would be good playing Agent 47. I always thought David Bateson who voiced the main character for 4 games was always the perfect choice to play Hitman simply because he voiced the character for many years and he looked exactly the part. If he wasn't cast then my other choice would have been Ben Kingsley. Surprisingly the movie did good at the box office, grossing an estimated $98 million worldwide on a budget of $24 million.

Plot Outline:
A genetically engineered assassin known only as Agent 47 (Timothy Olyphant), works for a top secret organization and his talents as an elite marksman is for hire to eliminate high profile targets. His grace is lethal and his precision is beyond remarkable. His target is Russian President Mikhail Belicoff (Urich Thomsen), who will prove to be a double assignment. When 47 is double-crossed on the mission, he becomes the hunted by Interpol and the best of the Russian military. He also has to deal with unfamiliar emotions, when a beautiful and mysterious Russian woman named Nika Boronina (Olga Kurylenko) supplies him information about Belicoff. It is up to him to finish the job he started.

The movie is based on the widely popular video game series from publisher Eidos Interactive which I'm a big fan of. The movies plot goes nowhere and can be pretty complex at times. We hardly get any origin of how 47 became who he is today. The movie might start out with 47 being trained and taught to become a hitman, but not much else. Their are a number of things that really bothered me about the story that you wouldn't see happen in the game. For example the romance with Nika. The story tries so hard to put them together as some kind of a love romance, but it doesn't click. Before I started the film, I thought to myself if 47 doesn't syringe at least one person, I'm going to be pissed. Luckily he does for one scene and it looks great. The Hitman games have been known for 47 being able to change clothes to avoid being detected. Their is only 1 scene the film where he changes clothes to avoid being detected. One in the whole movie, WOW. If their is anything good I can say about the movie is that its somewhat action packed. The story might suck, but that doesn't change the fact that the movie has a lot of action scenes that look great for the most part.

Timothy Olyphant plays as Agent 47. I mentioned above how I wanted either David Bateson or Ben Kingsley to don the suit because both looked the part of 47. Timothy Olyphant doesn't have any thing about him that makes him right for this part. His baby like face doesn't resemble 47 from the games. His voice in no way sounds anything like the voice Bateson has been doing for years now. He might look like 47 from the back, but that's about it. This is a horrible casting by the studio and the crew should be ashamed of themselves. Dougray Scott plays as Mike Whittier and even he doesn't give a performance that's worth watching. Olga Kurylenko plays as Nika Boronina and she does a pretty good job in her role. I liked the fact that she was able to pull off a serious, but weak Nika when she wanted to. I however didn't like the fact that she wanted to show off her boobs for almost 60% of the movie. I don't mind that, but it just doesn't make the film look good. I cant believe David Bateson doesn't have one cameo in this film when hes the one who made 47 so cool.

The visual look of the movie is great. The movie's source benefits from being a recent release. The image seems very consistent and stable. The film has great detail that is really noticeable. I found the tux that 47 was wearing to look very slick and detailed. Flesh tones look spot on with the cast members looking nice and real. The movie also has some of the best blacks I have seen of recently. The movie doesn't have any colorful scenes with everything else looking kind of pale and muted. This is probably the directors choice of filming and not the quality of the release. Camera angles also look great with the movie having a lot of different angles that center in on the main focus of the film. I cant say anything bad about the visual look of the movie because it mostly seems great.

The music is composed by Geoff Zanelli who also composed small hits such as Secret Window and Disturbia. He composes a score that sounds very good and very fluid at the same time. The score also kind of sounds like the score for the Bourne movies so I'm pretty sure they ripped the music off them. I'm really surprised and angry that the studio didn't go with Jesper Kyd who composed the score for all the Hitman games. I thought this was a dumb move on the studios behalf because Kid made some really impressive music. While Kid doesn't score the movie, I found Zanelli to be a pretty good replacement. The movies soundtrack is mostly a mixture of techno and melody. This surprisingly sounds good, but also alittle weird since the games have mostly had orchestral music. The movie also features some impressive bass that sounds smashing. The action scenes are filled with loud bass that I would easily use to demo off my system.

Hitman is a movie that could have been so much better if the studio had just listened to the fans of the game. Its a shame to see this film get made and not treated with the proper care it deserved. The story is decent at best with action scenes that should please the audience, but the fact that 47's origins aren't explained enough is pretty sad. The cast is disappointing and I just cant make out why their isn't one cameo appearance by David Bateson when he was the first and only Agent 47. The visual look of the movie is great with a lot of detail really showing up. The film has a wonderful score even though its not composed by Jesper Kyd. The Hitman games have always had an interesting story that could have easily been made into a movie. Its a shame that the transition from game to movie doesn't go so well. I cant really recommend this movie unless your dieing for an action movie, but even then I would go watch something else like Live Free or Die Hard. Hitman fans around the world will be disappointed by this movie.

Grade: D+

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