Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"Hitman" -- * 1/2

Equipped with none of the wit and dark humor of the video game on which it's based, the self-serious "Hitman" is a hack job infused with little-to-no energy and reeking of laziness. While never truly awful-- everything is sleek, slick and shiny-- the movie is unforgiveably boring and only notable for heralding the return of the star of "Mission: Impossible 2" and "Ever After," Dougray Scott, in a supporting role. Starring Timothy Olyphant (about as engaging and spirited here as he was in "Live Free or Die Hard") as shiny-plastic-tie-wearing assassin Agent 47, "Hitman" is pointlessly structured as one long flashback and fails to carve out its own identity, feeling like dozens of movies we've seen before. Though at first purporting to stay to its roots as a mediocre, if somewhat lively, live-action video game, within minutes the proceedings become bogged down in by-the-numbers plotting and a numbing barrage of bullet sound effects.

Directed with a complete lack of passion by Xavier Gens and equipped with a screenplay by Skip Woods that thinks less of its audience than most Hentai porn (a crawl tells us a scene takes place in "London -- England" and that a President's political party is 'Moderate'), "Hitman" features only two slight moments of entertainment to break the tedium. The first is an amusing, if nonsensical, moment where Agent 47 bursts into a hotel room of kids playing the original 'Hitman' videogame. The second is a sequence where 47 and three other hit men are all pointing guns at each other, and Olyphant utters, "How about dying with a little dignity?" At this point, all four hit men drop their guns, and each miraculously pull out SWORDS, fighting each other to the death. I couldn't quite tell if this moment was intended to be ridiculous or not, but either way, it worked for me. Though there had been rumblings of the film being edited down to PG-13, followed by the studio's subsequent defenses of its R rating, "Hitman" features endless violence with no real impact, and seems to have just been kept at an 'R' to feature a glimpse of our female lead's chesticles (which incidentally can't hold a candle to Marisa Tomei's). Video game fanatics tend not to be the most discerning filmgoers in general, but I can't even imagine them being satisfied with what's been done to a game that was significantly wittier and more crassly entertaining than most.


Anonymous Chadwick said...

Did it at least use 'Ave Maria' interestingly?

4:53 PM  

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