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Overall Rating

Awesome: 16.07%
Worth A Look: 16.07%
Average: 5.36%
Pretty Bad: 16.07%
Total Crap46.43%

4 reviews, 32 user ratings

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Hitman (2007)
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Day Of The Jackass"
1 stars

“Hitman” is a film that features a moody and barely articulate criminal for a hero, a collection of colorfully over-the-top types as the villains, a leggy and barely-dressed babe as the chief eye candy, a storyline that manages to be both resoundingly simple-minded and unfathomably incoherent, a self-consciously flashy visual style and action sequences so overscaled that they strain the bounds of credulity and gravity. In other words, it pretty much seems like it is like your typical film from Luc Besson, the allegedly retired French genius behind such dazzlers as “La Femme Nikita,” “Leon” and “The Fifth Element.” The only flaw is that “Hitman” has been made not by Luc Besson himself, but by a bunch of dopes who have figured out how to copy the surface elements that often crop up in his work, which is easy enough to achieve, but haven’t been able to duplicate the giddy energy and screw-loose invention that he brings to the table along with the hotties and the visual pyrotechnics. The result is an incredibly draggy would-be thriller that spends too much time trying to dazzle us and not nearly enough time trying to engage us on even the simplest action potboiler level.

Timothy Olyphant stars as an unnamed, mysterious and ruthlessly efficient hit man, known only as Number 47, for a shadowy organization that sends him all over the world to meet interesting people and kill them. As the film opens, he is hired to publicly whack Russian president Mikhail Belicoff (Ulrich Thomsen) on behalf of an unknown party. He carries out the mission easily enough but before you can say “huh,” it turns out that Belicoff appears to be alive and that our anti-hero has been left to take the fall by his employers as a battalion of police come closing in. Needless to say, he escapes their clutches easily enough and sets out on a mission that takes him from St Petersburg to St. Petersburg to Istanbul and back to St. Petersburg to discover who set him up. He is aided is the mission, unwillingly at first, by Nika (Olga Kurylenko), a girlfriend of Belicoff’s who was an unwitting part of the conspiracy and who copes with the situation by developing an exceptionally skanky version of the Stockholm Syndrome. At the same time, he is relentlessly pursued by an Interpol agent (Dougray Scott) who constantly marvels at his prey’s ability to avoid detection. Seeing as the guy is bald and has a giant bar code tattooed into the back of his head, I’m impressed that he hasn’t been detected either–maybe he avoids suspicion by telling people that he is just a really big fan of “THX 1138.”

In other words, “Hitman” is just another helping of action nonsense that stands apart from other examples of the genre by its remarkable incoherence. Mind you, I am fully aware that one doesn’t exactly go to a film like “Hitman” for the prose but even by the admittedly lowered standards toward narrative cohesion that one needs to have when dealing with this kind of movie, it is impossible to escape the fact that the thing just does not make any sense on any level for even a moment. It is so confused, in fact, that not only am I not certain what the bad guy hoped to achieve by his actions, I am not entirely certain who the bad guy actually was in the first place. (Perhaps screenwriter Skip Woods, whose previous effort, “Swordfish,” was a model of plausibility and coherence by comparison, spent so much time making sure that we knew that we were in St. Petersburg at the start of virtually every scene that he just didn’t have the energy to fill in the blanks.) As for the carnage-driven scenes, the raison d’etre for the film in the first place, they are curiously unengaging as well–director Xavier Gens has no real feel for action choreography and shoots and edits his fight in a deadly dull manner that no amount of stylistic trickery can bring to life. Frankly, the most notable action moves on display are the ones displayed by Olga Kurylenko during her attempted seduction of her captor/savior–alas, this scene ends before it can get interesting when 47 gives her the kind of injection that she clearly wasn’t expecting.

Perhaps not surprisingly, “Hitman” has its basis in a video game that remains unplayed by me. Although movies based on such properties have never exactly been celebrated for their artistic merits (remember that hideous “Super Mario Brothers” movie with Bob Hoskins as Mario and Dennis Hopper as some kind of frog?), there have been a few that I have enjoyed, such as the first two “Resident Evil” movies and “Silent Hill.” Of course, those films had engaging performers, nifty visual styles and a certain amount of invention–qualities that are in remarkably short supply in “Hitman.” You know how people will sometimes describe a bad action movie as being like watching someone else play a video game? This one is so uninvolving that watching it is more like listening to someone reading out loud from the game’s instruction manual.

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originally posted: 11/21/07 16:06:23
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User Comments

8/14/20 morris campbell not bad have not seen in a while 4 stars
8/21/15 mr.mike Routine but not half bad. 3 stars
12/01/10 Inerjon Who cares about the movie, Olga (Nika) is my target & I'd like to Hit (her) man!! ;-) 5 stars
11/01/09 Joy Banerjee The gadgets used in the film was brilliant 5 stars
1/24/09 CTT All style, no substance, but not a disaster 3 stars
10/13/08 Shaun Wallner Intense Action!! 5 stars
7/17/08 mike I agree with JM. Awesome stuff! 5 stars
4/07/08 JM fucking outstanding..girl = hot, hitman = genius badass looks better than 007. 5 stars
3/12/08 action movie fan exciting cat and mouse thriller of hunter becoming the hunted 4 stars
2/08/08 Anthony Feor The best video game movie and for that I give it credit 4 stars
2/05/08 Paul Shortt Hit-man misses its target. . . BADLY 1 stars
1/28/08 sniperwolfk Your absolutely right Mel.. they should had given agent 47 less emotions and speaking lines 1 stars
1/25/08 Courtney (almost as bad as tennis elbow) Spy flick genre sure ain't what it used to be. Incoherent, creating little sympathy for any 2 stars
12/17/07 I-K Weighted rating - all the elements pointed to a suckfest, but it was surprisingly watchable 3 stars
12/16/07 mark madsen this a good movie. alittle far fetch. 4 stars
12/14/07 Stratulat Cornel Verry good 5 stars
12/09/07 Keystra Williams PAINFUL. 1 stars
12/07/07 Zuracech Lordum Followed the game (which is a prerequisite), mediocre directing, good plot, good acting 4 stars
12/05/07 Ole Man Bourbon Olyphant good, girl hot, movie stupid and boring. And not even very violent. 1 stars
12/05/07 Sir Guy This movie was awesome, what is better than people being shot in the head? Nothing 5 stars
12/02/07 Anthony G This movie follows the game? Are you people retarded? This movie was trash 1 stars
11/29/07 raul valdez jr wow another thing to bitch and complain about does ANYTHING satisfy you people? 1 stars
11/28/07 Bnorm It was alright... 2 stars
11/28/07 Naurto Stick with the infinitely better games... 2 stars
11/28/07 Ron20003 Critics said this sucked. Nope. Cristics said Mist was good. Nope! What up? 4 stars
11/27/07 Dan Rugg Very good action film!! 4 stars
11/25/07 Rick Mandell absolute garbage and a compendium of confusion, plot holes, and gaffes. 1 stars
11/25/07 Timmer Not expecting much but was thoroughly entertained for 107 minutes. 4 stars
11/25/07 Frank Didn't suck the dick. Thought it would. Blew my load instead. 4 stars
11/23/07 Doug The move pretty much backed the game. People say its "bland", well go play the game 5 stars
11/22/07 JP This movie sucked dick 1 stars
11/22/07 Mat The games are the best, and the movie follows them very well. 5 stars
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  21-Nov-2007 (R)
  DVD: 11-Mar-2008



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