For a summer that started off on such a hot streak, with huge movies like The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Jurassic World, as well as some amazing films like Mad Max: Fury Road and Inside Out, things sure have cooled off at the tail of the summer movie season, haven’t they? Somewhere down the line, things went terribly awry. Despite having some fun with the newest Mission Impossible and a strong showing from Straight Outta Compton, there’s just no way to ignore the bag of airline barf that is Fantastic 4, or the laughably bad Sinister 2, or the “This is Adam Sandler and there’s no way to write hyperbole that is more insulting than saying that” kind of movie we were given with Pixels and, as much as I’d hate to say, “I told you so,” but it’s looking like Hitman: Agent 47 is going to join that list of frozen airplane turds that fell from the sky at the tail-end of the summer of 2015.
So, where did they go wrong? It’s probably easier to ask, “Where did they go right?” Because that list will be substantially shorter. The casting of Rupert Friend as the iconic Agent 47 wasn’t an awful choice, as he is clearly aware of the overly cool demeanor of 47 in the game franchise and looks to emulate that, as well as 47’s trademark voice, which remains calm and collected in the face of, you know, completely hopeless odds, murder, violence, and all manner of cringe-worthy characters. Seriously, he once killed a man so fat that he couldn’t get out of his bed and just laid there in nothing more than some dirty underwear. As far as finding someone to fill the shoes of the titular role, they definitely could have done worse.
The action scenes are cool, I guess. They’re a far cry away from what we’ve seen this summer, to be sure. The added gore of the R rating definitely gave it a little more flair than it’s PG-13 counterpart that we mustn’t speak of, lest we be cut down by the Dark Lord himself. There are a lot of headshots here to enjoy, and it’s fair to say that they captured a lot of iconic images from the Hitman game series, such as 47 prepping his fiber wire in the shadows, him dragging them around, stealing their clothes, standing alone in an elevator as he suavely adjusts his suit, and even a floating rubber ducky in a bathtub that made fans of the games go, “Ooooh. I see what you did there.”
That, I’m afraid, is where the filmmakers’ grasp on the game franchise stopped. As I predicted in an earlier article right here on Don’t Hate The Geek, Hollywood just cannot figure out how to make a video game movie because they don’t take the time to understand the game. At all. You see a slick bald guy with a barcode tattoo, a fancy suit, and some guns. What must this game be? Screw playing it, just assume it’s Halo with a sauve bald guy with a barcode tattoo, a fancy suit, and some guns. No need to investigate further. Sure, you can get some pretty iconic images from the artwork on the game box, and see that the character likes to steal clothes. Yet, as much as it may break their executive hearts, there’s so much more to this franchise that they just don’t seem to get.
You can enjoy it for what it is, certainly. It’s a mindless action movie where Agent 47 is an unstoppable killing machine and a few characters like to tell him, “Bro, you ain’t gotta be a mindless killing machine.” Like…a lot. It’s awful. The entire second game was built around that and it was so well done. This is almost insulting to the witty, gritty, and brilliant mechanics of the game. It’s like if they made a movie about Super Mario Bros. and completely left out all the stuff…oh…yeah…moving on.
In a room full of guards, the other main character (who really doesn’t need to be in this movie because it takes away from 47’s “lone-wolf” persona), says they should try avoiding them. 47, in what is the biggest blunder in the world, says, “No. We take them out.” Why? That’s literally the EXACT OPPOSITE of what 47 does. It’s not about walking into a room and killing everything and everyone. If that’s what 47 was about then he would just be bald Ryu Hyabusa with pistols (which does sound awesome). The concept of his character is that he showed up, he killed his target, and he disappeared like a ghost. No one ever knew he was there. No one ever realized he had slipped away. And a few guys woke up in their underwear and were very confused about what they were doing or how they were doing it. That’s the mark of the Silent Assassin.
There’s no denying that franchises like Halo or Call of Duty have a place, and their movie adaptations are going to have a place and probably be really good. But, that’s because those movies will be based on the actual property. Hitman is different. It, much like James Brown Jr., has a lot of soul. What we were left with was more Kanye West, where it just thinks it’s really great but, really, it’s completely missing the point.
There’s no offense meant to fans of other game/movies series (but I’m not apologizing to Kanye fans). Just like a movie based on Skyrim would be awful if it was made exactly like The Chronicles of Narnia. Cuz fantasy is fantasy, right? There’s no one set way to make a movie, and that’s what makes them so awesome. We can sit down and enjoy some turd like Sharknado, then watch Schindler’s List and still enjoy it. They’re not the same. If they were, well, then that would be crazy. Like, super crazy. Now I’ve basically talked myself into wanting to see Shindnado..
In the end, Hitman: Agent 47 just missed the mark, and that’s just not something that Agent 47 does.