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A movie directed by Xavier Gens

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Slightly less awful than I expected.

  • Jun 17, 2009
HITMAN was better than I expected. It's still not a good movie, but it wasn't quite the dreck-fest I feared. While still a piece of nonsense, I actually grew to like Timothy Olyphant's performance enough to forgive many other failings of the film.

I've never played the video game, and cannot comment on its success transferring to film.

HITMAN shows us, in the opening credit sequence (with Ave Maria playing in the background for no good reason, except, I suppose, that it's always a little haunting) that there is a society that exists to take young children, remove them from society, and turn them into passionless, soulless killing machines. An assassin factory. To sort of quote the movie: "the society was rumored to be so secret that no one knew it existed." So who started the rumors anyway?

These killers have their heads shaved and a huge bar code tattooed on the backs of their necks. These bar codes are VERY noticeable, but I guess in the world of HITMAN, society has decided to ignore these folks.

Olyphant plays a hitman who is sent to kill the Russian president (I think that's who he was...it's been a week since I saw it, so who remembers the plot!). And then he's asked to kill a witness. Yet it turns out that this is all a complicated double-cross that has him targeted for elimination. He investigates those who have betrayed him, and in proper hitman fashion, sets out to get his vengeance.

Meanwhile, he is stalked around the world by a man from Interpol (Dougray Scott), who seems to have a great nose for arriving where the hitman was 30 seconds ago, but never where he is NOW.

Olyphant develops an interest in the witness he nearly killed, played by recent Bond girl Olga Kurylenko (who also appears in video game inspired MAX PAYNE). And it is, oddly, this relationship that I actually enjoyed. I say "oddly" because Kurylenko is NOT a good actress. (Although if you find her attractive or sexy, you'll want to see the film for sure. She spends lot of it nude.) I simply enjoyed watching Olyphant warm up to her. He is a man without much personality, and apparently pretty much sexless as well. He kills and survives to kill again. He moves through the world without being noticed. And that's what he was bred to do. Yet this woman intrigues him, and he begins to imagine a life beyond what he has always known. And he shows glimmerings of a rudimentary conscience. By no means am I suggesting his performance (or the script) are award worthy or anything such thing. But to me, who was expecting little beyond mindless action, I was pleasantly surprised that I actually almost cared what happened to this guy.

As for the action...there is plenty. Much of it is perfunctory, and very little is original. There's a good fight scene involving short swords, but other than that, it's nothing special.

Olyphant is a decent actor (I liked him in GO, where he played a drug dealer...not so much in LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD). This role at least does him no damage, because he milks all he can from it. Dougray Scott has a wonderful, rich accent. Too bad he's a feeble actor, and in this part, the script calls for him to say silly things. If HITMAN had given us a decent foil for Olyphant, it would have been even better. Instead we get a cop that we never for one second think can get the better of our hit man.

If you're looking for a mindless, violent shoot-`em-up...then this film will suit fairly well. If by my review you're thinking, "hey, I don't really like mindless shoot-`em-ups" but this sounds like something more...well...I'm sorry I left that impression. It is still mostly mindless...but just a tiny bit better than expected.

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More Hitman reviews
review by . October 11, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The Bald, The Sexy And The Barcodes....
When one goes to see a video-game inspired movie; one cannot expect too much. This latest outing "Hitman" (2007) directed by Xavier Gens (Frontiers) may leave a lot to be desired when it comes to an original plot but it does offer some decent action entertainment. I am at a slight disadvantage, as I have never played the video game before; all I can do is comment on how well "Hitman" is made, its production and entertainment values. I managed to get a free ticket out of …
review by . December 29, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Read review     Cons: Read review     The Bottom Line: Hitman is just about what you'd expect when a video game makes the leap to the big screen; the translation is all muddled and such.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. The trailers were enticing enough; bald man clips untold number of baddies with big silver guns.  What else could a testosterone laden American male need on a Sunday …
review by . February 04, 2009
  Timothy Olyphant is a fabulous actor, but it always seems to me that he gets cast in these b list roles and I feel like he is better than that. Now having said that I think he was excellent as Agent 47. When I first saw the preview I thought it was a terrible casting choice. For one, I didn't think he looked anything like him and two, I didn't think he could act the role. But then I saw the movie and both ended up being misconceptions. He really did look like 47:        …
review by . April 13, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
I didn't expect to be impressed with this movie because in my mind it was simply another flick made from a video game but man, I was blown away! In fact it was so enjoyable that ten minutes after finishing it I wanted to see it again, and that rarely happens. Never mind the few geographical errors, this movie is all action and there is no waste of precious minutes on mindless love scenes - the one actually has one cut short by the main hero and it was humorous, how he was all business, him being …
review by . April 04, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Yet another game to movie adaptation, but this one has a major difference. It's actually pretty damn cool.    Timothy Olyphant fits perfectly into the role of Agent 47, an orphan who is taken in and trained by an agency that trains children to be the most stealthy and deadly hitmen in the world. Agent 47 is the best of the best of all the Hitmen raised and trained by "The Organization." He is called in to perform on a hit on the Russian President Mikhail Belicoff, however the …
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I've got my own site, www.afilmcritic.com, on which I'm posting my reviews. I am 46 years old, married 25 years, two kids (23 & 18) and currently work in accounting/finance. I spent 15 years … more
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About this movie


Based on the popular Playstation 2 game, HITMAN chronicles the frame-up and retribution-packed odyssey of Number 47 (Timothy Olyphant), a bald assassin raised from birth to be a killer and tattooed with a barcode on the back of his head. There's lots of BOURNE SUPREMACY-style flash-edits and superhuman stunt work as 47 seeks to find out why moderate Russian presidential nominee Belicoff (Ulrich Thomsen) was the client for his own assassination, a hit that 47 pulled off perfectly, except for one hitch: the target's still alive. For romantic interest we have Olga Kurylenko as a foxy Russian prostitute sold into slavery by the evil Belicoff. She and 47 wind up on the lam together but they'll never be safe as long as Belicoff is still alive. Meanwhile, Interpol agent Mike Whittier (Dougray Scott) has been tracking 47 for years; he's on the scent and about to close in. Luc Besson was the producer on this, and fans of his TRANSPORTER, THE PROFESSIONAL and LA FEMME NIKITA films will eat it up, as it's got the ...
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