MOVIE MAN

Game adaptations take another hit, man

By Movie Man | Published Wednesday, August 26, 2015

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The Movie Man did not know “Hitman: Agent 47” was based on a video game.

Cinematic history says video games do not make good movies. In fact, one of the worst movies ever made was 1993’s “Super Mario Bros” (Movie Man No. 2, a 2, Worst of Year), and that’s the case with “Hitman: Agent 47.”

ABOUT THE FILM

The summer film glut is officially over. This week’s choices were paltry, so the Movie Man settled into “Hitman: Agent 47.”

Gamers always long for their beloved favorites to become hit movies. It almost never happens. Rare exceptions include “Tomb Raider” (2001, MM No. 409, 5) and its sequel “Cradle of Life” (2003, MM No. 519, 5) and the seemingly endless string of “Resident Evil” movies.

However, just because the video game duds keep coming, doesn’t mean studios won’t keep trying to hit the jackpot with couch-bound fanboys/girls.

So, game on!

THE PLOT (SPOILER)

Katia (Hannah Ware) is a young woman searching for her father who, she believes, abandoned her as a child. A famed scientist now living off the map, Litvenko (Ciaran Hinds), left her for her own good, he says.

Lots of people are looking for Hinds, including the mysterious Agent 47 (Rupert Friend). A hit man, he’s supposed to assassinate Ware and Hinds, but he needs to use Ware to find her father first.

Along comes John Smith (Zachary Quinto), who says he’s there to help Ware. They flee with the relentless Friend on their trail. Soon Ware learns that it’s actually Quinto, who is working for Tobias (Jurgen Prochnow), who wants to find Hinds to force him to recreate an army of agents like 47 (trust the Movie Man: the plot is much more convoluted than this).

Everyone has some kind of super-duper innards (see Best scene) or training that makes them really good at fighting.

WHAT WORKS

Friend fares best here. Bald and silent with a whiff of the Terminator, he’s a killing machine who always chooses the head shot (except, infuriatingly, for Quinto). And he kills a lot of people.

The other memorable aspect of “Hitman: Agent 47” is first-time filmmaker Aleksander Bach.

The movie looks terrific. There are beautiful scenes – many on location in Singapore – and, especially early on, the killing rampages are highly stylized.

BEST SCENE (SPOILER)

Quinto and Ware are holed up in a hotel, believing they are safe. They share a rare quiet moment. Suddenly the door bursts open, and Friend immediately puts several bullets into Quinto’s body. But he has a secret – “sub-dermal liquid armor” – which allows Quinto to recover just fine.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK

Ware is a boring heroine, and Quinto is miscast. He looks like a model running around after a savage killing machine, and some of his line readings are awful. In fact, all the acting is sad except for Friend.

The dense plot is tough to discern – always be wary of a long opening voiceover that lays everything out – and sometimes the dialogue is unintentionally hilarious. Corny lines like, “We determine who we are by what we do” are delivered with great, audience-wincing sincerity.

Fight scenes that are cool early go on and on. They are cut so queerly that they sometimes make little sense. A guy is here then suddenly he’s over there.

The mish-mash of a soundtrack is as convoluted as the plot.

Some old tropes are dragged out: a helicopter flies into the upper story of a high rise and there’s even a parking garage car chase. Been there, seen that.

THE RATING

For an R, this is pretty mild. There are a few f-bombs, but it’s the violence that earns the rating. Those numerous head shots get pretty gory.

SUMMING UP

This is a movie that would be better enjoyed with the sound turned off. It looks cool, but it sounds crappy with such icky dialogue.

NEXT UP

The Movie Man will surprise you (and himself).

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