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A violent, techo-filled French film.
Timothy Olyphant Stars as Agent 47 in "Hitman."
OPENING WEEKEND: $12,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $62,000,000
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

August 12th, 2007: Agent 47 (Timothy Olyphant) has been educated to become a professional assassin for hire, whose most powerful weapons are his nerve and a resolute pride in his work. 47 is both the last two digits of the barcode tattooed on the nape of his neck, and his only name.

The hunter becomes the hunted when 47 gets caught up in a political takeover. Both Interpol and the Russian military chase the Hitman across Eastern Europe as he tries to find out who set him up and why they're trying to take him out of the game. But the greatest threat to 47's survival may be the stirrings of his conscience and the unfamiliar emotions aroused in him by a beautiful, damaged girl…

What to Expect: Video game adaptations have never made good movies. Sometimes, like in the case of Tomb Raider and Resident Evil, it will stay true to the game, satisfy the die hard fans, but turn out to be of poor quality and do little to impress the general public. That is usually enough with really popular games, since if you get the millions of loyal gamers and a few other people to come see the movie, then it is almost sure to make a profit. However, there have been plenty of examples where the studios have lost money using this formula.

Now we have another game looking to hit the big screen, which is based on the well received Hitman series. The franchise has been extremely popular with its last installment, "Hitman: Blood Money," selling over a million units and becoming #1 in all relevant regions in 2006. All this does is making some studio exec drool over all the profits that can be made off of the gamers who bought Hitman and, sure enough, a year later the movie is coming out. Will it be the one to finally cross over successfully or just be another plotless, characterless, tasteless piece of garbage that may or may not cover its budget? Well, I truly do not know the answer to that question. I, who is always so full of opinions, and who knows more about movies than anyone else on this green earth, have been humbled. Thus, I am going to present the facts, just the facts, and let you decide.

First the bad: The movie is produced by Luc Besson, probably the most famous filmmaker to come out of France. Unfortunately, he seems to be a terrible choice to produce this adaptation. The only reason he was asked to take the job is because the brilliant Fox execs love Besson and felt that he "knows Europe well," since that is where the majority of the story takes place. They did not take into account that the guy has never played the game, or any other games. In fact, he does not even own a computer or use email. Yeah, I know, Besson had his moment in movie history when he directed The Professional and the Fifth Element back to back in the mid 90's. Both films were incredible, but that was it; in the last decade he has made one terrible movie after another. His last two projects, Arthur and the Invisibles and The Messenger, were both unwatchable. He claims that they were not meant for "American audiences", and went on to blame everyone including the studios for their handling of his movies. Luckily, Besson has promised to stop directing and will stick only to producing. Yet, his recent works have continued to turn out badly; District B-13 was a bad rip-off of Escape from NY and then there was the terrible sequel to The Transporter. Both movies, although directed by different people, had the same crippling deficiencies: too much techno and not enough story or character development. Those things may be ok in France, but not here. I was hoping that Besson would hire an American director and writer to counter his European inclinations, but instead he hired Skip Woods to write and Xavier Gens to direct. Both are very French and very inexperienced. Woods' only work of note was Swordfish, a clever concept that turned out to be incredibly lame. His one movie makes him the veteran on this crew since Gens has done nothing at all... I repeat, nothing! The guy has two short films and a TV show on his resume. What do you get when you put three French guys on a set with a seventy million dollar budget and a bunch of cameras? Lots of car chases, lots of techno and ridiculous explosions, which all serve to distract you from all of the plot holes, lack of story or any kind of depth. Finally, it is one thing to not develop a character, while another to develop him incorrectly. The Hitman, Agent 47, is supposed to be a genetically engineered killer, born and bred for killing. Well, the trio took that and actually wrote a love story into the script. He is not supposed to feel any emotion, period, let alone have feelings for one of his targets. Well, that is enough of the bad; let's look at some of the good.

The studio, as always, wanted to make this movie PG-13. However, that would be counter to the spirit of the game, which is one of the most violent out there. It even generated a lot of controversy with its advertising posters which featured a skimpily clad gal lying on a bed with a bullet hole in her head and the caption simply stating, "Beautifully Executed." Luckily, Besson and Gens understood this aspect well, as Gens stated that "In the game, Hitman is an *sshole, I wanted to keep that in the movie... I wanted really true and dirty violence - from splashing blood to broken arms." They knew that their vision would not be realized in a PG-13 movie and were actually able to convince the studio to allow them to make the movie rated R. With the restraints of the rating lifted, Besson and Gens went crazy with the violence. Skip Woods wrote a sadistically cool and surprisingly intelligent script. Woods stayed true to the character (except for the love interest) and the game by highlighting Agent 47's abilities as a stealthy and efficient killer. All of Agent 47's signature weapons have made it into the script as well, including the .45 caliber silverballers, syringes and even his go-to fiber wire. In fact, the film's opening scene piles up a huge body count without a single shot being fired.

However, even with the most perfect script, you still need the right actor to play Agent 47. At first, Vin Diesel was picked for that role. Now, as much as I love Diesel, I just do not see him as a stealthy assassin; he has much too big of presence to go unnoticed. It seems many people agreed with me, there was even an online petition to get rid of the actor from being considered for the part. Besson, once again listened to the fans and recast Agent 47 with Timothy Olyphant. Even though this is going to be Olyphant's first leading roll, all signs point that he can handle it. The man was incredible as Seth Bullock in HBO's Deadwood; I mention his roll as Bullock because it is very similar to that of Agent 47. The character is a former law officer who is handy with a gun and not afraid to use it. He is not necessarily a "good guy"; he has many flaws and does many terrible things, but he is surrounded by the absolute worst and as a result, he actually looks like a hero. That is exactly how the Agent 47 character will be portrayed in Hitman.

Looking at the trailer, some fans have complained that Olyphant looks too "nice." I disagree, I think he bares a striking resemblance to the video game character and that smile he has on his face, is not a nice smile, but a sadistic one. Regardless of how the movie turns out, Olyphant is going to do a good job, and if the movie fails, it will certainly be no fault of his.

In Conclusion: This is where I usually sum up my thoughts and either recommend or not recommend for you to see the film. Unfortunately, even though I feel Hitman will continue the pattern of bad adaptations of video games to the big screen, I still see a lot of potential that can turn everything around and make this the movie to see.

On the one hand, we have an inexperienced director and writer, and an over the hill producer who loves to Eurotrashize (a word I just made up) every project he comes across. On the other hand, we have a cool concept with a solid script and a great leading man. We really have not seen much material other then the teaser trailer, even though some new footage was scheduled to be shown at Comic Con. Fox ended up dropping out at the last minute, stating that they were not ready to make public anything that they are working on. Therefore, I suggest you save your hard earned money, and wait until the first few reviews come out.

Drop me a line and tell me what you think this movie will be like. Perhaps I should block emails originating from France, since I have trashed Besson in this preview and he is like a modern day De Gaulle over there; a national hero who has not really done much worth note outside of France.

Similar Titles: Resident Evil, The Professional, The Transporter, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
November 21st, 2007 (wide)
March 11th, 2008 (DVD)

20th Century Fox

Xavier Gens

Timothy Olyphant, Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko, Robert Knepper, Ulrich Thomsen, Michael Offei

Total: 192 vote(s).

Action & Adventure, Suspense

Click here to view site

Rated R for strong bloody violence, language, and some sexuality/nudity.





Hitman at AskMen.com

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