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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Hitman: Agent 47 movie review: kill it

Hitman Agent 47 red light

Even dumb SF action needs a certain grounding in plausible reality. But nothing here makes a damn bit of sense.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

It’s yet another based-on-a-videogame action flick, and in addition to the usual failings of these movies — the bare-bones stories that give gameplay a bit of flavor do not stand up on their own; it’s no fun watching someone else play if we don’t eventually get a go — there’s this: Nothing here makes a damn bit of sense. No level of this movie works, even taken simply on its own merits. No one’s motives make any sense: Genetically engineered superassassin Agent 47 (Rupert Friend: Starred Up) is sort of Jason Bourne by way of the Matrix, and he’s out to kill Katia (Hannah Ware: Shame), for “reasons” that, the more convoluted they get, the less reason there is to them. Katia is looking for a man who turns out to be her father — not a spoiler, except for Katia, who is a bit dim for all that she is supposed to be supersmart — but we never really know why, or how she came to live the life she had lived without him. We almost understand “John Smith” (Zachary Quinto: Star Trek Into Darkness), who will protect Katia from 47, but then he does colossally boneheaded things like get them arrested by the American embassy in Berlin (even though the U.S. government appears to have no role in this story at all), and we have no idea what his plan here was, or that he even had one. And the movie has barely begun at this point. People do things or, even more mysteriously, suddenly know things they couldn’t possibly know merely so that the plot can move along, and with every step, motives are only further obfuscated, and we are left wondering just whom we’re supposed to be rooting for. Even dumb SF action with no pretense to being anything other than an explosiony time-waster needs a certain grounding in plausible reality. So just how the hell does 47 travel on a commercial airliner with that massive bag of deadly weapons? Can he do Jedi mind tricks? And if he can, he could have achieved what he wanted to achieve here without any of this bother at all.


See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of Hitman: Agent 47 for its representation of girls and women.


red light 1 star

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Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)
US/Can release: Aug 21 2015
UK/Ire release: Aug 27 2015

MPAA: rated R for sequences of strong violence, and some language
BBFC: rated 15 (strong violence, strong language)

viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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  • RogerBW

    Even if you’re just watching someone play a video game, there may be a certain tension: is s/he going to get it right this time? In a film there isn’t even that: of course the player’s avatar is going to make it to the end, because if there were any sort of dying and resetting mechanic in play then the story would be all about that.

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  • LifeAnew

    No I don’t thk the plot is that bad. And the fighting sequences are pretty smooth as a matter of fact.

    All this film lack are genuine emotional moments, which most audiences see as an indispensable part of feel-good film experiences,
    as well as the lack of inspiring underhanded schemes to reel our minds around…
    …but still, the filmmakers did give us a well-paced story tempo. And like I said, the fightings are not half-bad to watch!

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