Death of the Critic

Why Did I Watch That? - Hitman: Agent 47

Written by: Tom Blaich


I watched a bad movie today. It is sort of a guilty pleasure of mine. Watching bad movies that is. I revel in the terrible plots, paper-thin characters, cheesy effects, and wooden acting. It fuels me. I love them in a way that I can’t quite describe, or feel about bad games or music. To me, bad films deserve to be recognized, talked about, and maybe occasionally ridiculed. This one is no exception.


It always baffles me at which movies manage to get reboots made, and the absolute insistence on taking awful properties and milking them for all of their worth is more than a little ridiculous. There are a lot of great action movies, but there are also a lot of terrible action reboots. And for some reason, I just can't stop watching them (partly because of my almost obsession with bad movies, and partly because I'm a glutton for punishment).

Hitman is better than Death Race, but that is like trying to find out which of two spoons is sharper. I went into this with a vague hope that they would be able to leverage the property to make an at least passable movie, but instead of making the sneaky assassination movie that the game sets up so well, they try to turn it once again into an action packing political thriller full of super humans and gratuitous slow motion. It didn't work in 2007 and, unsurprisingly, it doesn't work here either.


If anything, this iteration feels even more generic, as instead of a badass assassin killing a bunch of pasty Russians, they had to cram in a bunch of superpowers and genetically engineered soldier to further sever the tenuous grasp that the franchise once had on reality.

It does start off as vaguely promising, with Agent 47 being position as the relentless pursuer  of our protagonist as she tries to find her missing father. He is a bit flashier than his in-game persona, but the idea of a movie about escaping from his unending pursuit did get me at least a little excited, as it would show him as the unstoppable force of nature that we are so familiar with, using his stealth and disguises to hunt our hero like a horror movie slasher, trying to maneuver her into a situation where he can get her alone and garrote her before shoving her body into a dumpster. The quintessential
Hitman experience.


Instead it turns out that he is actually a good guy, that the person helping our protagonist is evil (of course), and our protagonist is also a superpowered Agent. Yawn. Agent 90 (as our plucky lead is known) is the "next generation of perfect killer" but she has to be guided along the path by 47, in a twist that surprises no one and disappoints everyone. From there, the movie just gets dumber and dumber, with the inclusion of sub-dermal body armor to make our bad guy invincible as he shrugs off handgun bullets and our suspension of disbelief all at once.

Video games don't have good stories, at least most of the time, but they do a damn good job at coming up with intriguing premises. It is the core issue with video game movies. Fans hate it when directors take artistic liberties with the properties, and demand that they stick to that (usually awful and convoluted) story. In the end, no one walks out of the theater happy. It leads to bad adaptations with even worse stories. But they continue to be successful on the basis of their name only, and the inclusion of a post-credits stinger here only serves to highlight that. I can criticize all I want, but clearly someone is enjoying it.



Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

You Might Also Like:
Why Did I Watch That? - Hitman (2007)

Ludonarrative Dissonance

Situation Invincibility and How it is Ruining Action Movies

Images courtesy of 20th Century Fox

blog comments powered by Disqus