Friday, November 11, 2022


Movie Name:
Year of Release: 2007
Director: Xavier Gens
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko, Robert Knepper, Ulrich Thomsen, Henry Ian Cusick, Michael Offei, Christian Erickson, James Faulkner, Joe Sheridan, Eriq Ebouaney
Genre: Action, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 2
Watch it on Amazon Prime

Synopsis and Review
Xavier Gens started his directorial career with shorts and music videos, before making his feature debut with two films premiering the same year, one of them being "Hitman". "Hitman" is an adaptation by Skip Woods (who also wrote Dominic Sena's "Swordfish" and Joe Carnahan's "The A-Team"), of the video game by IO Interactive. The film follows the adventures of Agent 47, whom we soon learn was trained since a young age to become a lethal hitman. He has been working for a secretive entity only known as "The Organization". Following an engagement in Russia, he is informed that he failed to complete his mission. When he has to clean up the situation, he suddenly realizes he is being set up and that he has become a target himself. As he digs deeper, he realizes The Organization was hoping to gain influence with a new government, and ordered him to kill a duplicate of the President, and were planning to get him to take all the blame for the assassination. Agent 47, with the assistance of a woman who has also been impacted by the situation, traces the root of the conspiracy, removing all the obstacles that show up in the interim. 
While the video game series in which this film is based has had a lengthy existence, with the most recent release dating 2021, the film adaptations have no fared quite as well (there's a sequel with Rupert Friend, which premiered in 2015). Xavier Gens' take on this character is sadly devoid of much perspective, both in terms of giving the character an inner life and some dimension/motivation, but also in terms of how the film itself is shot and staged. The tone of the film suggests the character is somewhat monolithic and incapable of feelings, deeply contrasting with the violent aftermath of his actions, however there's never an exploration of why this regimented life for the agent exists or what life beyond the assignments he actually has. While in the narrative the character rebels against being a puppet for "The Organization, the way the film portrays him, is indeed akin to that of a puppet. The same goes for the supporting characters, which are barely sketches, with Olga Kurylenko's character in particular being offensively objectified (why does she spend 75% of her screen time topless). The film features over the top violence, but never cartoonishly funny such as Michael Davis' "Shoot' Em Up", opting instead for an overly serious tone which is supposed to marry the precision and insightful planning of the agent. Which is to say, there isn't much humor, and the film ends up being dour and sad utilization of the always reliable Timothy Olyphant, who always brings quirkiness and energy to his roles, the same going for the underutilized Dougray Scott. There's not much to highlight from the production team, the same going for the film itself. Forgettable.