Turns out August is the month of unnecessary, unwanted, downright terrible reboots. First it was “Fantastic Four” which continues to be ground into pulp, and now this week it’s “Hitman: Agent 47″, a relaunch of the 2007 bullets, bar codes, and bald heads flick that was decent enough, but since when has decent ever been enough? At least the first film had the novelty of being first; this one has the distinction of being a miserable, generic retread of a totally middling predecessor.
Not that there should be any surprise how uninspired “Hitman: Agent 47″ turned out, because that seems to be the stock and trade of co-writers Skip Woods and Michael Finch. Woods wrote the first “Hitman” movie, along with “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and the atrocious “A Good day to Die Hard”, while Finch delivered the lamest Pierce Brosnan movie ever with “The November Man”. They make movies that are both mind-numbingly simplistic yet nonsensical. The only thing they really expect you to understand is the sound of gunfire and the look of a really cool suit.
Rupert Friend takes over the role of Agent 47, an emotionless assassin bred to be an unstoppable killing machine. He’s even got a barcode tattooed on the back of his neck; although they should have stamped this conveyor belt flick with one, too. Agent 47 is kind of like John Wick, only a lot less cool. He’s tasked with finding Katia Van Dees (Hannah Ware), a mysterious woman tracking down a man she doesn’t know, yet seems to know everything about. Her search has also attracted the attention of John Smith (Zachary Quinto), another nicely-clothed gent who claims to be trying to protect her from Agent 47. Somebody’s a liar. The movie’s called ‘Agent 47’ for a reason. This isn’t The Terminator.
In other words, don’t get too bogged down in the momentary mystery. Instead spend that time wondering how a movie with such a crazy high body count and a digital blood budget in the millions could be so boring. There are some visually interesting kills here; guys get sucked into jet engines and squashed by giant clamps; but first-time director Aleksander Bach isn’t able to elevate any of it beyond the familiar. Even the performances are uniformly dull. Granted, Friend is meant to be cold and unfeeling so it kind of comes with the territory. The role was originally played by Timothy Olyphant who gave it a certain steeliness, and Paul Walker was meant to take on the role before his untimely passing. Ware, whose character is supposedly of a superior ability to Agent 47, doesn’t get much of an opportunity to show it, and doesn’t make an impression when she does. Thomas Kretschmann plays a powerful figure who plans to make more super agents just like Agent 47, but all he really does is sit behind a flashy desk. Quinto seems drawn to playing emotionless Spock-type characters but he always seems to be having fun at it. Too bad his fun won’t make its way to the audience, who will instead be worrying they’ll try to adapt the other seven games in the franchise.