“Hitman: Agent 47” Movie Review

     A character based on a popular video game takes out various henchmen at an alarmingly accurate rate by way of multiple firearms, knives, and explosives.  The setting is a massive skyscraper owned by an evil doing corporation, whose interiors are a pristine shiny white and the bad guy awaits alone somewhere near the top as he oversees the action going on below.  No, the character isn’t Alice and the setting isn’t a building owned by the Umbrella Corporation, nor is “Resident Evil” the film’s title, though it easily could have been.  Oddly enough, the filmmakers responsible for “Hitman: Agent 47” chose to rip off every decent element, as well as the bad ones, of “Resident Evil” resulting in a “been there, done that” feel throughout and ultimately a complete waste of time and effort.  Perhaps this isn’t really a surprise considering “Hitman: Agent 47” is itself a reboot of the first attempt at adapting this garbage long ago in 2007 when Timothy Olyphant put on the trademark black suit and red tie and yielded a result not significantly better than this lame late Summer offering.

     Featuring the debut of director Aleksander Bach, “Agent 47” centers primarily around the title character’s effort to stop the program that first created him from creating more Agents.  In the film’s prologue, a narrator explains that when these barcoded lunatics complete their training and genetic enhancements, they are called “Agents”.  I thought to myself when that was said, couldn’t they have come up with something less often used than the term “Agent”?  It sounds so boring and cliched.  Looking deeper, you will find the screenwriters are none other than Skip Woods, whose credits include the original “Hitman” along with franchise killers “A Good Day to Die Hard” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, and Michael Finch, who was responsible for last year’s dud “The November Man”.  Apparently, Hollywood is not giving out work based on merit these days and the product before us here is an indication these guys are not capable of working out a story that has any hint of originality.  In fact, the entire film feels as though it was made on an assembly line with its run of the mill action sequences strung together by laughable dialogue and uninteresting characters.

     Playing the lead character, Rupert Friend really isn’t ever given anything interesting to say, but I’m presuming that was the idea since his Agent 47 is a complete bore and specializes in killing people while remaining utterly emotionless.  I’m thinking Friend probably had a few months on his hands between the filming of season four and season five of “Homeland” and was looking to make a quick buck.  I suppose I can’t blame him, though after sitting through this mess I felt as though I was owed something.  47, his namesake based on the last two numbers of the barcode branded on the back of his neck, tracks down “Terminator” style the daughter of the man who created the process that gives Agents their abundant skills and abilities.  Initially, the daughter, Katia (Hannah Ware) is approached by John Smith (Zachary Quinto) who gives her the standard “come with me if you want to live” line as 47 is approaching guns drawn.  Only we find out later Smith is not who he seems and has the same intention of having Katia lead him to her father so as to help his boss create more Agents.  In another laughable detail about Smith, below his skin is an injected liquid metal armor, an obvious rip directly from the “Terminator’ films that “Agent 47” continually borrows from in order to get through the first hour.

     Once the ambitions of the lead characters are out on the table, Bach then stages a number of action sequences that ultimately allow 47, Katia, and Smith to have a showdown in the aforementioned evil corporate skyscraper.  There’s really nothing awe inspiring about anything Bach manages to put on film.  He again borrows from “The Matrix” and has his lead walk through a metal detector wearing all of his weapons and carrying a case that contains a sniper rifle.  He then stages an interrogation in which the moronic embassy station chief walks into the interrogation room with all of 47’s weapons and ammo.  Really?  Another sequence features a number of black clad soldiers, who wear full eye goggles and gas masks for no apparent reason other than to look like Darth Vader maybe, attack 47 and Katia as they drive a premium red Audi sports car with grappling hook guns staged high above the street.  As the soldiers manage to get at least a dozen hooks into the car as it’s moving, the car becomes immobilized.  Rather than fire at them with an anti tank weapon or a sniper rifle, these goons instead decide to play it cool as they repel down the lines toward the car.  This is when 47 simply exits the car, pulls out his duel pistols, and shoots each of them dead before they ever make it near him.  With bad guys this dumb, I would imagine the training and genetic enhancement 47 enjoys doesn’t even come into play that often.

     Video game adaptations have always been a difficult nut to crack since many of the early games were low on plot and attracted audiences because of their ability to put themselves into first person action simulations.  Perhaps the filmmakers here should have taken a page out of the “Bourne” films instead and put these characters into situations where their ability to think and outwit their opponents would be more front and center.  Instead, they chose the retread route and created what feels like a carbon copy vibe of the entire “Resident Evil” franchise.  Not exactly something I would advise to try and emulate.  GRADE: F