Vapid Action: A Review of ‘Hitman: Agent 47’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - August 21, 2015
Vapid Action: A Review of ‘Hitman: Agent 47’

Some things will never change, the sun shine, the birds will sing, taxes will always have to be paid and there will always, and I mean ALWAYS be sequels to movies that no one really ever asked for.  Hitman: Agent 47 definitely falls into the latter part of that category as a movie that just never engages enough for us as an audience to genuinely give a damn about it.

From birth, or conception in a tube, whatever you call it, the agents and the agent program only does one thing, produce assassins, perfect killing machines that can only be discerned by the last two digits of a barcode, tattooed on the back of their heads.  Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) is the culmination of decades of research and is latest target is a mega-corporation intent on unlocking the secrets that make him tick in order to make an army of killers.  On his mission he discovers and ultimately teams up with Katia (Hannah Ware) who has a litany of abilities and secrets of her own who may hold the secrets to bringing these corporations down as he is forced to face what just might be his deadliest opponent to date.


Oddly cold and efficient, Hitman: Agent 47 isn’t bad enough to genuinely destroy but isn’t interested in being good enough either as it is just a slick collection of action sequences with about 5 to 10 minutes of character exposition in the entire thing.  It’s just orgyrific action, and nothing more.

First time director Aleksander Bach coming off his documentary and music video background doesn’t make any mistakes in guiding a slick action montage through the motions as it looks and feels just like it should as a gaudy action affair.  However, there was next to no script development as the plot was just a little too clever by half.  There’s nothing wrong with 90 or so minutes of action gonzo goodness but it needs to have some focus and it was just slick and severe for the sake of slick and severe.  The script from Skip Woods and Michael Finch is a lazy affair from beginning to end and after Mad Max: Fury Road this year, crazy just isn’t going to cut it anymore and there needs to be narrative focus in all of the insane action set pieces.

Rupert Friend may have actually been the best part of this entire movie as he plays the coldly logical and slick Agent killer with aplomb.  He carries the gravitas of action hero quite well and isn’t out of place during the action, but the script never gives any of them anything to do.  Hannah Ware is fine opposite him as the girl on the run looking for secrets and Zachary Quinto tries to do the bad guy reasonably well but never connects as menacing or even scary.  It is all just running through the motions as the likes of Angelababy, Dan Bakkedahl, Ciaran Hinds, Jerry Hoffmann, Rolf Kaines, and Thomas Kretschmann & Jurgen Prochnow all make some very random appearances for the sake of being there.

It’s genuinely hard for a movie to be engaging when you can barely remember what any of the characters are ever there for.  Hitman: Agent 47 is a slick looking action demo reel, but even for a video game movie, this is just too damn soulless to ever resonate on any level.


This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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