If you have enjoyed a video game movie, you have probably given it a lot of latitude. With the exception of Uwe Boll’s video game adaptations, which have no redeemable qualities whatsoever, you have most likely watched a movie based on one of your favorite games with equal parts excitement and trepidation. Resident Evil and Silent Hill are the most successful game movies that come to mind, and even then they depart pretty drastically from the source material.
Today, I’m here to talk about a brilliant exception to the rule. Hitman: Agent 47 is subtle, touches on many of the mechanics of the beloved game series, and doesn’t deviate terribly far from the established mythos. The attention to detail and character accuracy is so thorough that long term lovers of the series will feel it viscerally in the opening scenes of the movie.
Agent 47 is known for accuracy and precision. In the opening of the film, the obvious target is attempting to get from point A to a safe house at point B. Oddly, the convoy escorting him gets taken out around him, allowing him to get to the safe house. Now, being a fan of the fastidious and detail oriented game, I found a very specific line of questions in my head. “Did they trade the characters precision for blockbuster action sequences, or did he need the target alive for something?” Immediately, that question is answered and I couldn’t be happier.
The movie actually focuses on a woman with the same advantages as the genetically modified agent 47. Using her, they establish a kind of enhanced senses thing that mirrors some of the mechanics from the game. By way of training her, they showcase the chameleon aspect of the character, as well as being aware of fields of vision from security cameras and guards.
Agent 47 shows more emotion than I would have expected, but someone as stern and flat as Agent 47 from the games wouldn’t translate terribly well to big screen. Even the action sequences follow the pattern of the game in a really solid way, only becoming action sequences when the situation has degenerated completely. Even in the opening, a gun fight breaks out due to an explosion that wasn’t exactly necessary, and in the fallout Agent 47 has to run and gun to escape. This was so reminiscent of the first play through of the game that I found myself grinning on the edge of my seat.
A significant break from the mythos is Zachary Quinto’s character, which operates as a kind of Agent-lite created by the mob. While he isn’t a character I expected to see, it was perfect addition to the film, as there is someone operating on the same level (arguably) as our beloved Hitman.
All in all, I went into this movie excited and a little anxious, and walked out floating on fandom euphoria. The levels of subtlety and the attention to detail, from his actions, strategy, and the wonderful performance of Rupert Friend, even the third act twist and the resolution of the film, were built to please the fans and take them on a journey through covert world of the agency. There is even an absolutely brilliant Easter egg for the fans who paid attention to the advertisements for Hitman: Blood Money. I suggest you get in your car and head to the movies, Hitman fans, you don’t want to miss this on the silver screen.
My rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Find out more about Hitman.