Paul Cook 22/12/2007

Rating: 0.5/5

Having seen this film in a hugely overpriced cinema (7 per ticket) one might hope for (albeit unrealistically) a fantastic film, a thriller, encompassing and ever so slightly amusing. Unfortunately, Hitman was far from satisfying this desire. A sickly, saturated pastiche of influences from infinite action, thriller and espionage predecessors, Xavier Gens' film lacks plot and character substance, desperately trying to make up for it with big guns, explosions and truly awful one-liners. Hitman isn't even the sort of big-budget, action-packed Hollywood shoot-em-up that one might enjoy such as “Independence Day” or “Die Hard.” Instead this film fails at every attempt to be an exciting, adrenaline-fuelled action movie. Elsewhere its attempts at elements of comedy and espionage fall flat on its expressionless face and could mark the end of Dougray Scott's career for good.

Hitman sees the video game character Agent 47, played by newbie Timothy Olyphant, as the hunted not the hunter. He is pursued relentlessly across Eastern Europe by Interpol investigator, Dougray Scott, whilst protecting the beautiful but emotionless Nika (Olga Kurylenko.) The film is a shallow vehicle for mindless death, violence and destruction and the plot and the realism of it is pushed aside for the most part. The film's ridiculousness gets worse as the film continues and a number of stolen ideas, themes and images constantly surface. The stylistic framing of recent bond-smash “Casino Royale” and a Tarantino-style Mexican shoot-out are two examples where the film sacrifices originality for shameful copycatting. Without meaning to sound too harsh, XXX star Vin Diesel's involvement first as the possible star of the film and then eventually as executive producer may be an inkling as to why the film is so poorly unapologetic of its unoriginality and bashful Hollywood blockbuster values.

By the end of Hitman the hope that a video-game adaptation had finally resulted in a decent film is well and truly replaced with a feeling that the paying customer has once again been duped by Hollywood special effects and glimmering violence. A film which features a church being obliterated by an apache helicopter is unfortunately Vin Diesel's idea of a “good-movie.” In fact, the only positive thing that can be said for Hitman is that it will make game-film adaptations like Peter Jackson's 'Halo' look like the next Godfather, regardless of their quality. Films really can't get much worse.