Skip to main content

Taron Egerton Is Playing Elton John In Biopic 'Rocketman'

Movie Review: 'Hitman: Agent 47'

Relying on tired action and glitzy sequences, Hitman: Agent 47 forgets that story matters, too.

Review by Matt Cummings

It's possible that we've witnessed an earth-shattering moment in film this summer. With the arrival of Mad Max: Fury Road, a new corner has been turned in terms of action and story, forcing changes on everything that come after it and making everything in its wake look second class. That's the feeling you'll get when watching Hitman: Agent 47, a film littered with talent and prospects but whose script and action never rise to the occasion.

A reboot of the failed 2007 version starring Timothy Olyphant, Agent 47 stars Rupert Friend, a genetically-modified assassin who is supposed to be impervious to emotion and love. Precise and impeccably dressed, he sports a barcode on his bald head and a penchant for killing. Normally sent out to maintain his murderous order, this time he must make sure that the technology which produced him is not exploited by another company called the Syndicate (no relation to the one in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation) led by LeClerq (Thomas Kretschmann). Employing his own hitman John Smith (Zachary Quinto), he eventually locates the daughter of the Agent program, the beautiful but troubled Katia (Hannah Ware), who may have some of her father's program in her blood. As 47 and Smith violently clash, Katia - who is also searching for her father Dr. Litvenko (Ciaran Hinds) - begins to develop her abilities, but must decide if 47's loyalties can be trusted as their head for a bloodbath in Singapore.

It's not that Hitman: Agent 47 is awful like Fantastic Four, because the direction by helmer Aleksander Bach is solid, filled with rich textures and sometimes beautifully-captured moments. Its cast is an intriguing mix of veteran talent and splashy newcomers, led by Ware and eventually Hinds. The real problem lies squarely on Writers Skip Woods and Michael Finch and the stunt coordinators/Second Unit directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch; you'll remember them as the geniuses behind John Wick. In 47, neither team goes out of their way to elevate the film in any meaningful way, the first barely filling each scene with enough good dialogue to sustain it to the next action sequence, with the other team acting like their stunt budget was a fraction of Wick. Those sequences are shot and edited so closely that they feel like a typical takedown from ABC's Agents of SHIELD, with the hero clearly not in the middle of the fracas, yet jumping back into position at the end of the sequence as if they were there all along.

Ware is simply gorgeous to look at, and her acting clearly shows she doesn't need the boys around to keep herself safe. Yet early on, we have no idea why she's tracking Litvento and even admits it to 47 before the shooting starts. Her visceral reactions to being placed in danger by 47 are memorable and actually satisfying, which is less than I can say for the over-the-top action. Again, it's not like those sequences are awful, but after being graced this year with Fury Road and Rogue Nation, it's hard to support the 90's style work we see here. Hinds is very good as Litvenko, his chemistry with Ware instantly apparent as the father who will do anything to protect his child/lab project. Friend is serviceable in the titular role, but he constantly vacillates between stone-cold assassin and chatty revenge seeker. That's not 47's MO, and his reasoning for protecting Katia is revealed to us in a flash that you'll miss if you're not looking. Their lack of communication about that moment after it's revealed is the emotional core that appears to be missing.

Kretschmann never becomes a baddie we can hate, his shortened performance in Avengers: Age of Ultron as Baron Strucker coming across far better than Le Clerq. But again, it's that lack of emotional core and far-fetched story beats that keeps Hitman: Agent 47 from becoming the next John Wick, although it's apparent someone was hoping otherwise. What's more, we never learn much behind the Agent program, why it's so intent on bringing Katia and her father together, and why it wouldn't just take out LeClerq with a nicely guided missile. It's too busy showing us what brains look like splattered on a wall and collecting its product placements from Audi without giving us a reason to care.

If the purpose behind Hitman: Agent 47 was to re-establish a franchise hopeful of long-term sustainability, its prospects are not good. Led by an intriguing cast, but a merely decent script and tired action sequences, it could find itself repeating a thoroughly overused element from the film, that of being forced to to look at someone's tail lights as they race ahead of you to victory. It's not awful, but in this age of Mad Max it's overly-simple entertainment that will be instantly forgettable the moment you leave the theater, making any endorsement a difficult bargain at best.

Hitman: Agent 47 is rated R for sequences of strong violence and some language and has a runtime of 96 minutes.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.


Popular posts from this blog

Taron Egerton Is Playing Elton John In Biopic 'Rocketman'

Regular listeners to the Empire Podcast (sorry about the whole Call Me By Your Name theme ear worm, incidentally) will recall that we had Taron Egerton as a guest on the 300th episode, recorded in front of an audience on Valentine's Day. He talked up his hope that Elton John biopic Rocketman would finally come together, and now Paramount is closing a deal to finance and distribute the film worldwide.

The film, which has been through at least one previous incarnation (Michael Gracey directing Tom Hardy in the lead) is reuniting the Eddie The Eagle team of Egerton, director Dexter Fletcher and producer Matthew Vaughn, who has been trying to get the movie made for a while, with Elton's blessing and the support of his company, Rocket Pictures.

Featuring a script by Lee Hall, Rocketman will follow the career of the artist formerly known as Reginald Dwight, from a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music to a global superstar, through his influential and enduring musical partnership w…

New #DISOBEDIENCE Clip Featuring Rachel Weisz & Rachel McAdams

Disobedience follows a woman as she returns to the community that shunned her decades earlier for an attraction to a childhood friend. Once back, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality. Written by Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz and based on Naomi Alderman’s book, the film stars Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams and Alessandro Nivola.

Discuss this with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms Please Leave A Comment-

ISLE OF DOGS & Wes Anderson Launch CrowdRise Campaign To Benefit @bestfriends

Every day, more than 4,100 dogs and cats are killed in America’s shelters, simply because they don’t have safe places to call home. Best Friends Animal Society is a leading national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing. They believe that by working collaboratively with shelters, rescue groups, other organizations and you, we will end the killing and Save Them All by 2025.

6 people will win the full set of 6 figures
These sets are 6 of only 100 ever made
They will NOT be sold in any stores
These figures were designed and hand finished in London by the same puppet makers who created the puppets for the film
Each set comes with 5 dogs and Atari
This is your chance to own a piece of Wes Anderson and "Isle of Dogs" history

Every $10 is a chance to win, so $50 = 5 entries

Click Here for the official CrowdRise page.

No purchase or donation necessary to enter or win

Discuss this with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms