Hitman: Agent 47 – Review

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The entire point to the character of Agent 47 – the eponymous protagonist of the immensely popular video game series – is that he’s been engineered to deliberately not feel any raw, human emotions. He’s a manufactured killing machine that has no qualms murdering people in cold blood to complete the mission at hand. When playing a game, that’s not an issue – but in a movie, where you need to have that emotional connection with the protagonist to allow for an immersive experience, it proves to be wildly detrimental, making for a distinctively disengaging affair.

Rupert Friend takes on the role of the Agent 47, who is tasked with finding the seemingly innocuous and completely perplexed Katia (Hannah Ware), hoping that she can lead the elite assassin to her estranged father, the brains behind the entire project that initially created him. The aim is to protect the now-elderly man from a mega-corporation who are determined to uncover his secrets, so they can manufacture their own army of unnaturally gifted killers who have powers that even 47 could only dream of possessing. Also on the tail of Katia is Agent John Smith (Zachary Quinto), who claims it’s his job to save her from the pursuing hitman – whose allegiances suddenly become hard to judge.

The line between who is good and who is evil becomes increasingly blurred as we progress through this complex narrative – though it’s never particularly challenging to figure it out. Aleksander Bach who marks his directorial debut simply isn’t working with a strong enough screenplay, and despite assembling a fine cast, also consisting of the likes of Thomas Kretschmann and Ciaran Hinds, sometimes there’s little you can do to elevate what is on the page. Ware in particular struggles to find the nuance and depth to her role, which is damaging because she’s the only one the audience can truly invest in. She’s effectively our entry point, and seeing as we can’t empathise with Agent 47, it’s left to Katia to evoke that sense of emotion, and it never truly exists. On a more positive note, both the Berlin and Singapore settings look tremendous on the big screen, illuminating it accordingly – but let’s be honest, it’s nothing but a mere consolation where this underwhelming endeavour is concerned.

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It just offers so little that we haven’t seen before, as a real by-the-numbers thriller that abides frustratingly by the tropes of the genre at hand. It’s just too forgettable, which doesn’t have to be a problem if you’re able to enjoy yourself in the moment – but sadly, even that’s not the case. Plus, it’s definitely not okay to be considered forgettable when based on a video game franchise that is anything but.

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About Stefan Pape

Stefan Pape is a film critic and interviewer who spends most of his time in dark rooms, sipping on filter coffee and becoming perilously embroiled in the lives of others. He adores the work of Billy Wilder and Woody Allen, and won’t have a bad word said against Paul Giamatti.

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