Have you ever seen a video-game-based movie that was really good? Decent? Anything more than an utter embarrassment? OK, maybe a handful of pixels-to-pictures transitions—Resident Evil, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Silent Hill—can be considered a tolerable way to waste a couple of hours, though those were saved mostly by the star power of Milla Jovovich, Angelina Jolie, and Radha Mitchell, respectively.
In Hitman, we get Timothy Olyphant. Olyphant, who most recently played an often ludicrous villain in Live Free or Die Hard, scowls with similarly blank concentration here as Agent 47, a bald killer-for-hire with a bar code on his head. (That’s clearly the look to go for when you want to get away with murder.) The script, by Swordfish writer Skip Woods, doesn’t help the actor any: As the story goes, Agent 47 was not only trained as an assassin, he was cloned for the job. It’s somewhat understandable, therefore, that the guy’s meant to be more machine than life of the party. But even the Terminator killed with one-liners as well as with robot fists, and Olyphant’s resemblance to the Transporter, aka Jason Statham, will only remind audiences how far a more charismatic actor can get with a cue ball and a grimace.
Hitman’s plot is so murky it quickly gets boring. French director Xavier Gens appropriately stages a lot of shootouts, the most ridiculous of which entails a double-fisted Mexican standoff in a subway car. Agent 47’s assignments, which he receives from a sexy-voiced computer, take him all over the world, but the action primarily takes place in Russia and involves an allegedly botched assassination of an official and, yes, a setup. Interpol’s looking for him, as are a couple of 47’s hitman-school chums. (Also bald, also tattooed.) The only memorable part of all this mind-numbing running about is Nika (Olga Kurylenko), a good-looking hooker who had a relationship with the is-he-or-isn’t-he dead politician in question, though she’s most notable for being naked for no reason (when 47 tells her to get dressed, she asks, “What for?”) and for wildly unsympathetic laments such as, “You don’t want to fuck me, you don’t want to kill me. I’ve never felt so much indifference in my life!”
Olga’s right; 47 doesn’t even want the girl. What kind of action movie is this? A skippable one, ultimately, though even if it doesn’t reach the dubious heights of Tomb Raider, et al., it’s still not quite awful enough to keep company with Uwe Boll’s worst.