Friday, November 23, 2007

REVIEW: Hitman (2007)

Oddly enough, a bad movie like "Hitman" is the kind of bad movie that depresses me the most. It's tough being a ceaseless advocate for the high ideal that ANY material can make for a good movie when the material most-often cited as evidence against that keeps getting made into picture-perfect circumstantial rebuttals: How can you defend making video games into movies when this continues to be the result? And let's not even get started on how one is supposed to justify basing movies off toy-lines after "Transformers."

The problem with 95% of movies based on games is, frankly, that they keep filmming the wrong games. There's original material out there in the medium, but there's also a ton of derrivative regurgitation... and adding to that, most of it's derivation comes FROM movies to begin with. It's not hard to imagine making something worthwhile out of originality-excreting franchises like Mario, Metroid, Ninja Gaiden or a less-than-half-original like "Halo." But "Hitman," while not a "bad" run of games in it's own right, sits in the same boat as "Grand Theft Auto": They're basically un-official knockoffs of popular movie and TV cliches. Making a movie out of them is pointless, a copy of a copy.

The lead here is Timothy Olyphant, sporting a shaved head and a not-conspicuous-at-all UPC barcode tattoo (ooooh, what a poignant visual statement... that was in "Soldier" ten fucking years ago) as "Agent 47," one of an apparently limitless number of nameless super-hitmen working for a shadowy secret organization. During his latest assignment, the asassination of the new Russian president ("Political stance: Moderate," 47's hillariously-precise mission directives helpfully inform us,) he finds himself set up for a fall. He must track down and protect the only witness who can help him sort out the conspiracy (a clingy, sarcastic and overly-affectionate Russian prostitute. You're shocked, I can tell), set things right and battle his fellow bald n' barcoded teammates.

The action scenes aren't interesting, Olyphant either looks confused or ridiculous in his hitman getup (imagine an inexplicably tall newborn wearing a cheezy suit,) and the wannabe-labyrinthine conspiracy plot doesn't make a lick of sense. At least "Shoot 'Em Up" had a certain amount of invention going for it, this is just a generic waste of time.