children await their tattoos while wistful cantatas from
a dark high holy mass play. Really, it works in a video
game, and a video for that matter. Hitman director
Xavier Gens clearly knows how to put a visual together.
As we've seen time after time, however, without a decent
script, that means nothing.
Almost all that
baroque imagery falls by the wayside, focusing instead on
a vague cat and mouse and maybe a badger game among Agent
47 (Timothy Olyphant), his organization (a lot of other
bald guys with UPC codes on the back of their heads) and
the Interpol detective (Dougray Scott) chasing them. 47
tells the story in flashback, which allows Gens to do some
nice flashback effects. He has to, because the exposition
in Skip Woods' script is so dull I started wishing I was
watching Dancing with the Stars.
Other than 47
being betrayed by his own agency over some sort of Russian
coup, the plot has no real throughline. Like the worst in
videogame plotting (and the Eidos videogames are probably
better), all of it serves only as an excuse for mayhem.
Though at least the script takes time out to introduce a
Russian prostitute with a heart of gold, Nika (Olga Kurylenko).
disdain for women from the games (inferred from Wikipedia
- thanks, Wikiality), Woods turns it into an actual inability
to handle sexual attraction. Granted, this provides for
a couple of comical moments as 47 would rather incapacitate
Nika with a hypodermic than make love to her, despite obvious
affection. But such actual character moments glimmer few
and far between.
have to focus on the action, and Gens does a great job with
that. The fight scenes utilize environment really well,
and pick up such speed that it's easy to forget that you
have no idea who 47 is fighting and why. They could be Russians,
they could be assassins, they could be Agents of Hydra (that
would have been so cool).
As 47, Olyphant
does what he can. He has a scared puppy look in his eyes
that can turn to steel in a heartbeat, and luckily, that's
all the script needs him to do. From other performances,
it's fair to say Olyphant has talent, but the other drawback
to an image oriented director is that the takes printed
vary in quality; Gens just doesn't have the eye or ear for
a good performance.
Thus the usually
at least decent Scott comes off as completely wretched.
Kurylenko at least has the advantage of being a model -
we don't expect her to be any good, but oh, are our eyes
going into insulin shock.
Hitman about? Things blew up, people got shot, there
was some fighting and yeah, the Russians are bad but not
in the way we think. I think.
It's a mess,
but at least it got me interested in picking up the videogames.