Hitman: Agent 47 movie full length review - Decent time waster
Although I'm not a huge video game fan, I've more often than not found myself enjoying video game film adaptations.
Movies like Mortal Kombat and the 2007 adaptation of Hit-man may not be high art, but they do hold up upon repeated viewing as fairly entertaining action pics. Still, I've never played the video game series on which Hit-man is based and the late summer release date didn't sound promising, so my expectations were somewhat low going into the theater for this one. However, as the movie started, I was initially pleasantly surprised. The first fifteen minutes of 'Agent 47' is just thrilling as anything out of any action movie this year. Rupert Friend is wonderfully intense as Agent 47, and his introduction is a great way to bring the reveal the audience to the character. Friend doesn't seem like some actor playing tough that shaved his head for a part. He is actually an intimidating presence on screen. The opening shoot-out with Agent 47, almost perfectly choreographed, is not only a lot of fun but imaginative and intense as well. The film continues on an interesting path as Hannah Ware is introduced as the film's heroine. There's just as much mystery about her character as there is about Agent 47. Through all of this, I was surprisingly engaged in the story, a rare occurrence when watching a video game adaptation.
Unfortunately, after the introduction of Zachary Quinto's character, the movie slowly becomes increasingly dumber. That's not a knock against Quinto as he is fine here, but his introduction signals a tonal shift from which the movie never fully recovers. The aura of mystery that has thus far carried the film largely disappears, turning a large portion of the film into a series of chases with various characters trying to outrun each other. While that sounds like it could make for a great action picture, a lot of it just isn't very interesting, due in large part to the fact that the writing gets downright stupid. Characters make horrendously idiotic moves like leaving loaded weapons on interrogation room tables, and taking midnight swims alone while knowingly being hunted.
Some of the bad writing would be more forgivable if the tone was slightly less dull. Everyone involved with the film had to have known this was going to be only slightly above a B-movie, but, for whatever reason, the film takes itself a bit more seriously than any video games movie probably should. When the movie recognizes it can have humor, like during the hotel room shoot-out or the subsequent elevator scene, there is a great sense of fun that is missing for far too much of the film's surprisingly short running time. In all fairness, most of the action is pretty well shot and exciting enough, even if the overall pacing seems rushed. As a summer action movie, 'Agent 47' is worth at least one viewing; I just suspect there might have been a better, longer cut at some point. The ending is something of a cliffhanger, although there definitely won't be a sequel based on the poor box office.
Through the good and the bad of 'Agent 47', both Rupert Friend and Hannah Ware remain solid as performers. They give better performances than most actors could give with this particular script. With a better story, this could have been one of the better action films of the year. As it is, the movie should make an OK rental as a decent time waster for fans of action flicks, or fans of any of the lead actors. 5.5/10