Movie Review: Hitman

January 2nd, 2008

Hitman

Directed by Xavier Gans. Starring Timothy Olyphant, Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko, Robert Knepper and Ulrich Thomsen.

A mysterious, powerful organisation (known only as “The Organisation”) has created a series of genetically engineered super-assasins. Trained from birth, they are killing machines who complete the contracts the organisation takes from outside. The best agent, known only as 47 (Olyphant), is working on a contract to publicly kill the Russian president (Thomsen). But following the assassination attempt the president is still alive, a witness (Kurylenko) must be dealt with, Interpol (Scott) is trying to hunt him down, and his own organisation is now trying to silence him.

Hitman is based on a moderately successful series of computer games, which does not, from the history of such adaptations, bode particularly well for the movie. Fortunately the film is largely able to climb up above the somewhat ridiculous plots of the original game, but in trying for Bourne-style political intrigue the reach of first-time director Gans somewhat exceeds his grasp. The plot is pretty silly, with plot holes galore and plenty of suspension of disbelief required. But the actions scenes are frenetic and exciting, and the director shows a good (if somewhat unsteady) eye for a pretty scene. It just goes to show that the first rule of film adaptations still holds: good source, bad film; bad source, good film. And in this case: middling computer game translates into a middling film.