Hitman: Agent 47 – All fails when you miss your target
This time around, Rupert Friend (Homeland) dons the iconic black suit coupled with a crisp clean white shirt, a blood-red (befittingly appropriate) necktie and a signature barcode at the back of his neck. It is a story of a genetically engineered and cut-throat assassin cum killing machine eponymously known only by his codename – 47.
Hitman: Agent 47’s basic premise revolves around Agent 47 stopping a multi-billion conglomerate by the name of Syndicate International from getting their hands on a secret genome formula which will enable them to produce an army of clone soldiers gifted with sharpened logical, analytical, and reasoning abilities as well as heightened fighting, driving, and shooting skills. To stop them from achieving their goal towards global domination, Agent 47 collaborates with a young woman, played by Hannah Ware, who like Agent 47, was part of the same genetic engineering program as him. Needless to say, together they wreak havoc on their enemies.
Hitman: Agent 47 is by no means a tasteless affair in terms of its visuals; sky-scrapers which reach dizzying heights and fancy cars endowed with ample horsepower (Audis to be exact) are shown in all their glory. In fact, so much so that the beautiful urbanised landscape aesthetics of Singapore make the movie somewhat of an ad for the Singapore tourism board. Having been to Singapore recently myself, I truly agree that this movie accurately portrays the metropolitan beauty of Singapore.
The urban concrete jungle and the night vistas coupled with neon lightings make this movie a sort of a déjà vu and been there, done that affair, as this has already been done before by Michael Mann. It’s a forte of Mann’s movies, be it Collateral (2004), Miami Vice (2006) and Heat (1995) etc. All the action sequences in this movie, though thrilling and enjoyable to a degree, fail to add a layer of originality or something new.
The acting abilities of the protagonist are a miss and not something to boast about, which comes as a surprise, because Friend captivated the audiences with his engrossing performance in the hit series Homeland. Perhaps, he should have learnt from his role in Homeland and tried to add more depth to his role and made it more entertaining to watch, but sadly that’s not the case at all.
Moreover, the Hitman series in terms of the video game franchise has always been about authentic realism and stealth, which seems a far cry from this movie. Some of the scenes even seem ludicrous and outrageous at times; for instance, a 10 mile (not kilometre) head shot and asthma inhalers disguised as bombs. Even some driving stunts are way too farfetched and not an ounce of reality could be found in them. Now the audiences are intelligent and are smart enough to discern and differentiate between real stunts and something that has been achieved via CGI (Computer Graphics Imagery).
Towards the end, this movie has plenty of action sequences, car chases, and shootings to keep the audience entertained, however, the only thing it excels at is its visuals and visuals only.
The cinematographer, Óttar Guðnason, has done enough to keep the movie visually pleasing and has tried to give this movie the same international feel as those of previous spy movies, such as the James Bond feature films.
It is a shame though, because this movie could have kick started a cult following in context to the general movie-going audiences, something that Hitman already enjoys in the video gaming world and Tomb Raider had achieved when it was released as a feature film, which was initially a video game as well.
It feels like a B-rated action movie which lacks intelligence. Watch it for fancy cars and jaw-dropping visually pleasing locales. Hitman: Agent 47, unlike the central character upon which it is based upon, is a hit and miss.
I would give it a rating of six out of 10.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.