Based on the popular Playstation 2 game, HITMAN chronicles the retribution-packed odyssey of Number 47 (Timothy Olyphant), a bald assassin raised from birth to be a killer and tattooed with a barcode on the back of his head. There's lots of BOURNE SUPREMACY-style flash-edits and superhuman stunt work as 47 seeks to find out why moderate Russian presidential nominee Belicoff (Ulrich Thomsen) was the client for his own assassination, a hit that 47 pulled off perfectly, except for one hitch: the target's still alive. For romantic interest we have Olga Kurylenko as a foxy Russian prostitute sold into slavery by the evil Belicoff. She and 47 wind up on the run together but they'll never be safe as long as Belicoff is still alive. Meanwhile, Interpol agent Mike Whittier (Dougray Scott) has been tracking 47 for years. He's on the scent and about to close in. Luc Besson was the producer on this, and fans of THE TRANSPORTER, LEON and LA FEMME NIKITA films will appreciate this film, as it has a similar narrative arc, vividly saturated colours, swooping camerawork, tightly choreographed fights, and lots of blood flying from the copious bullet wounds.
Its hard not to feel like one has entered a certain dimension of video-game logic while watching Hitman
, a lightly enjoyable action-suspense movie indeed based on a popular and bloody game about a mysterious hired gun with a bar-code tattoo on his bald head and a number (47) in lieu of a name. Living like a chaste monk while slipping past borders to kill his targets, 47 (Timothy Olyphant of Deadwood
) moves like a determined shark and speaks softly to his contact at the enigmatic "the Organization," which raises cast-off children to become well-paid assassins. Fruitlessly pursued by an Interpol cop (Dougray Scott) who can never get sovereign governments to cooperate, 47 has no trouble slipping in and out of countries to ply his trade. Until, that is, hes set up to take a fall in Russia by shooting a national leader who is promptly replaced by a lookalike double. Suddenly on the run, 47 has to retrace his steps and formulate a lethal plan for extricating himself from a trap. Caught in the chaos is the lovely Nika (Olga Kurylenko), forced into sex slavery by 47s new enemies and the one person who seems uniquely qualified to break through 47s many personal barriers.
Directed by Frances Xavier Gens, Hitman
features loads of bloody mayhem and unabashed moments of pulp absurdity, such as a scene in which 47 and three other Organization killers agree to fight one another respectfully, then proceed to pulverize each other with swords and fists. As fodder for gamers, however, Hitman
is packed with visuals and dramatic moments that seem so odd on the big screen until one realizes they are basically placemarkers for the video-game edition. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com
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