The stunning Rupert Friend explodes onto the screen here as “Agent 47” – one of a numbered group of genetically DNA engineered ‘Hitman’ from the popular video game giving a second try at a film franchise here. Hannah Ware plays Katia van Dees, the daughter of a missing scientist Dr. Litvenko (Ciarán Hinds) who back in the 1960’s was responsible for creating a super-soldier program that brought Agent 47, and at least 46 other deadly assassins into the world. Syndicate International, one of those typical diabolical organizations that always seem to exist, run by Le Clerq (Thomas Kretschmann) wants Katia’s father as they think he holds the secrets to making more. Agent 47’s employers want her dead.
Zachary Quinto’s aptly named character John Smith – who’s name pun you will understand when watching.. seems not to really fit his part in the beginning..after a few decent plot twists in his favour he turns it around and pulls his character off. He after all is also an ‘agent’ in a sense with a pretty neat change up of DNA in him.
Along with a bland storyline and too many plot holes to count or even care about, the films plus side is in if there is one demographic that it would try to please, it’s obvious that aim is for 15-20 yr olds video-gamers who live for hours stepping into this world of CGI-done assassins killing off his enemies while wreaking maximum havoc in the process. And oh..the blood looks good. I’m serious it really does.
Friend as Agent 47, is a killing machine fighting other killing machines with whom I’d thought that we’d seen every imaginable killing stunt – but this film truly does become imaginative in that area and comes up with some doozies I’d think the likes of us haven’t even dreamed up.
In the end, we do have a few surprise twists but there is no spark of life is to be found in a few of the characters most disappointingly in Ware, whose Katia is meant to be the supposed emotional linchpin of the enterprise. We’ve seen Friend do the cold and calculating before as Peter Quinn on Homeland where he actually scares us at times. The same goes here, American accent included. They have a few moments of mild playfulness mostly that Friend tries half heartedly to inject in their partnership without much success.
And of course what would the ending be if not to give us a little after name credits roll – scene of what is to come. And for the third time in a month, I’m seeing in that teaser scene what will probably be a better sequel than original.
End note: Paul Walker was scheduled to play Agent 47 and due to his untimely and tragic passing, Rupert Friend stepped in. RIP Paul
Screening: Tuesday, August 18th, 2015 – Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Nationwide release: Friday, August 21st, 2015