Review: Hitman: Agent 47 (Movie)

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Title: Hitman: Agent 47
Release Date: August 21, 2015
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Director: Aleksander Bach
Main Cast: Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto, Ciarán Hinds
Genre: Action, Thriller
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 96 Mins.
Country: USA
Language: English
A pre-release screening was provided by the studio for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy.

Audio Review:
The audio review for this movie is available on Episode 436 of the podcast.

The Movie:
Hitman: Agent 47 might be one of the first videogame to movie adaptations to get it (mostly) right. Turning a videogame into an entertaining movie can be a tricky thing, especially when it’s a franchise with a deeply established mythology over the past fifteen years.

First things first, forget the 2007 adaptation entirely. I’m sure many of you already have. This is a straight-up reboot.

Aleksander Bach makes a big splash in his directorial debut with this movie, having helmed only a few commercials previously. Not one to phone it in, Bach delved into the games and wanted to get to the humanity, or lack thereof, in Agent 47. We got to speak with him the morning after our screening and he started off by saying that he had a great respect coming into the project since it tied in to a videogame. Clearly there have been mostly bad movies tied to videogames and he wanted to avoid that. To that end, Bach spent a lot of time playing the games and researching the stories to try to “get to the DNA of the character”.

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The key was to try to understand what gamers love about the character and combine that with his personal vision of what the character is. In doing so, he would attempt to make a movie that not only gamers would enjoy but that the rest of the moviegoing audience would enjoy as well. It was really important that Agent 47 has those cold eyes and that he plays everything subtle so that you’re always wondering what’s going on behind those eyes and is there anything there, any trace of humanity, because if there isn’t, nobody would care about the character.

As Agent 47, Rupert Friend is actually an excellent choice. He downplays everything throughout the movie with his calm demeanor and almost no emotion. It’s perfect. For everyone complaining about what they’ve seen in trailers and such, watch the full movie, it’ll all make sense. While most people go for the stealth aspect of the Hitman games, that’s not the only way to play, and it’s certainly not the way to make a big budget summer movie. What we get is a mix of all the different ways to play the game while retaining the essence of the character. The great part is that there are plenty of nice touches and Easter Eggs throughout the movie for fans of the games as well.

Katia, played by Hannah Ware, is ultimately a refreshingly strong female character who, unfortunately, gets caught between Agent 47 and John Smith, played by Zachary Quinto. I say refreshing because there’s never any hint of a romance between any of the characters. Katia could have easily gone down the road of damsel in distress, falling in to the arms (and bed) of the man trying to save her but she has a much different path ahead of her, and that’s all I say about that. Ware actually had the most difficult role to pull off in the movie and she does an excellent job.

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Quinto’s character is a bit of a wild card in that his motives and his background are unclear, at least in the beginning. It was fun to see the two of them, Friend and Quinto, impeccably dressed and caught up in some major fight scenes. In a Q&A before the screening, Friend had mentioned that he did as many of the stunts as the Insurance company would allow and that they had no suits made just for the stunts. Every suit he wore in every scene was tailored to his body and tight, making some of the moves hard to pull off. Either way, the action is fantastic.

As I mentioned before, this isn’t a straight action movie. While you can play that way in the game if you want, it wouldn’t be Hitman without the stealth. Fortunately, there are a number of stealth scenes in the movie as well as environmental kills and more. Really, fans of the game should enjoy it.

The movie itself takes place mainly in Germany and Singapore and interestingly, it’s the first major Hollywood production to film in Singapore. All I can say is WOW. Singapore has some dazzling architecture and I’d be shocked if this doesn’t spur more companies to film there. It looks like a city from the future, truly breathtaking.

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Conclusion:
Hitman: Agent 47 is clearly a frontrunner for the best videogame to movie adaptation. The story, the action, the pacing, the fanservice, all of it comes together in a really well made package made all the more impressive by the fact that it’s Aleksander Bach’s motion picture directorial debut.

Honestly I expect a some backlash from the Hitman gaming community because everyone is likely going in with expectations about the character and story they expect to see. While I tend to play Hitman games with more stealth, I know people who play them more run-and-gun. You’re never going to be able to fully satisfy a community who can play around in a sandbox like Hitman in so many different ways, but Agent 47 manages to touch upon most of the major components of the series while still putting across a well written and well acted story.

Fan or not, this is a movie that’s definitely worth seeing.

Score:
9.0

* All screenshots used in this review were provided by the studio.

Written by Josh Langford

Josh Langford

Josh has been gaming since 1977 starting with the Atari 2600.
He currently owns 25 different consoles and 6 different handhelds (all hooked up and in working condition) including all consoles from the current generation – minus the Switch.

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  • Matthew Brown

    Couldn’t agree with you more Josh. I know this movie is getting but bad reviews but based on the fact A: it’s Hitman and B: your review I went a saw it and was not disappointed. Thanks again to PSnation for steering me to something worth my time.

    • That’s great! It was funny (to me anyway) after my glowing review seeing other reviewers trash the movie. What’s nice is that the general public going to see it appears to be leaning more my way than the general critic consensus.