“Hitman” the movie was just as exciting as the “Hitman” games that led to its creation. Many reviews out there will say otherwise, but I beg to differ. As a fan of the game, I will admit that it is easier to follow the plot knowing certain background details that were left out of the film, including the fact that the main character eventually escaped and took out his creators before getting hired as a hitman. While many video game-to-movie adaptations have been generally unwatchable (“Doom,” for example), this one sets the bar to new heights for video game movies, even though it wasn’t that high to begin with.
The beginning of the movie rolls out the credits to some classical music and tries to illustrate the origins of the genetically-engineered Agent 47. This probably causes a little confusion among viewers who had never played the game since the scene is just a boy getting a barcode tattooed on his head and practicing martial arts and other disciplines to become a deadly assassin.
Once the introduction finishes, “Hitman” takes off. Action-packed with some dark humor mixed in, there are no pauses along the way to allow for a bathroom break. Throughout the film, scenes showcase the many deadly talents of Agent 47. The body count he leaves behind includes death by C4 explosives, sniper bullets, strangulation, stab wounds and, of course, many, many bullets from the magazines of his trademark dual-Silverballers (the twin pistols that get any impatient gamer through a mission quickly). Even a few of his barcoded peers make appearances to try and off 47 as the plot reveals that his own agency has set him up to be whacked, leading to a very thrilling swordfight between Agent 47 and three other clones. The picture earns major brownie points for not only staying true to its video game background but also for knowing when to add other elements that could justify this being a lovely movie to bring a date to.
Many of the aspects that make the games so fun are also present in the movie. The main goal of the game is to get through a level as stealthily as possible while avoiding attention and minimizing civilian casualties; this is true in the movie as well when Agent 47 uses disguises to get through hairy situations while Interpol agents are still scouring the landscape for a pale, bald guy with a noticeable barcode tattooed on his head wearing an expensive suit and red tie. His use of silent killing methods is also present with fiber wire, knives, syringe injections, Silverballers and also a series of “accidents.” In previous games, Agent 47’s homicides have also included meat hooks, poison doughnuts, exploding barbecues and falling chandeliers. Another highlight of the “Hitman” series is the open design of the missions that promote thought and encourage completing a level as quietly as possible while getting creative with your methods of assassination. The movie does not require your brain to be in the “on” position, however.
Though not a popular choice to play the role of Agent 47, Timothy Olyphant did a superb job. Much like Daniel Craig in “Casino Royale,” Olyphant delivers the character in a way that convinces you he is Agent 47 while also adding some other traits that augment the assassin, most notably his inability to charm a woman (something I can’t really relate to). The mandatory love story is a little hard to believe, especially when the hooker (Olga Kurylenko) he protects falls in love with him seemingly overnight, despite spending a considerable amount of time in the trunk of a car.
Overall, don’t believe the negative reviews. “Hitman” is a fun movie with lots of action and one-liners. The quick pace won’t leave you yearning for the film to end either. The game is set in a dark and violent tone, which carries over well into the film, but is also not graphic enough to distract from the action.