Monday, July 09, 2012

Hitman: The movie of the game

Last week, my home Wi-Fi modem went bust and I was without an internet connection till this morning when the new D-Link wireless modem router I purchased on Saturday finally put us back into cyberspace. Since I started blogging, I have been watching very little television, save for the odd serial like Two and a Half Men or a classic on TCM or MGM. The lack of internet over the weekend left me more time to catch a film or two (as well as renew my USB-based wireless broadband device). I watched Hitman (2007) on HBO with my teenage son and I quite enjoyed it.

While I was vaguely familiar with this movie, my son knew all about it. He told me that it was based on the ‘Hitman’ game series first released in 2000. In fact, he even had one of the game CDs in his PlayStation collection. I have never played this game with him before.

Hitman, the film, is about a cold-blooded super assassin called Agent 47, played by Timothy Olyphant, who works for a secret entity called “The Organisation” or “The Agency” that could well be the CIA. Agent 47 knows no emotion other than the motion of killing, and killing quietly and swiftly. He is embroiled in a political conspiracy and finds himself on the run from Interpol and the Russian military even as his handlers disown their once blue-eyed boy and put his enemies on his trail. As Agent 47 goes on a killing spree, he meets Nika Boronina (Olga Kurylenko), the mistress of Russian President Mikhail Belicoff (Ulrich Thomsen). He is ordered to kill Nika because she supposedly witnesses his assassination of Belicoff who turns out to be a body-double.

Agent 47 spares Nika’s life because, in spite of being genetically engineered, he is still capable of developing feelings and falls in love with her. In the end he kills all his enemies including the hitman sent out to eliminate his girl —“I told you to leave her alone. You should have listened,” he says, posing with his long-range rifle over the dead body of the sniper on the terrace. 

Timothy Olyphant looks the part of the Hitman from the video game. He is tall, well built, and bald with a tattoo at the back of his head which distinguishes his kind of people from others. He is not the only numbered agent. He wears a dark suit and a red tie. He has a stern look on his face, he speaks without moving his lips much, and he seldom smiles. He raises his gun, fires point blank, and walks away. Just like that. When he is not using his two silver guns, he uses his hands and legs to engage his enemies in mind-boggling martial arts. But, in spite of his don’t-you-mess-with-me persona, Agent 47 doesn’t look as menacing as you would expect a hired genetically-engineered assassin to look.

Agent 47 is also highly trained to observe and store everything in his brain, or maybe he has a sixth sense, that enables him to perceive certain things that normal people cannot. For instance, while dining with Nika in a restaurant, she asks him, “The woman, two tables behind you — what’s she wearing? Agent 47 counters: “The one with the red hair and the silk dress — facing you?” When Nika nods, he says quietly, “That’s not a woman,” referring to the transvestite that Nika and the viewers can see over his shoulders.

Hitman is full of the Arnold Schwarzenegger type of one liners, inane but funny. Here are a few of them, courtesy IMDb, just so I get the quotes right.

Yuri Marklov (screaming): You bastard!
Agent 47: Yell all you like — the Lord himself won't hear you.

Agent 47: Nika…
Nika Boronina: Yes?
Agent 47: Stop talking or I'll put you back in the trunk.

Agent 47: Eat your sandwich. I need to get some sleep.

Nika Boronina: What are you going to do?
Agent 47: What I do.

Nika Boronina: What colour underwear am I wearing?
Agent 47: You're not wearing any underwear.

Like I said, Agent 47 doesn’t talk much.

Hitman is entertaining, the kind of film you can watch when your modem goes kaput and you are suddenly left without internet. Now for 'Hitman' the game…


  1. I wonder if this ever got a regular release here. I don't remember it at all.

  2. I think you may have watched this one in optimal circumstances Prashant - I quite like Olyphant in his Elmore Leonard series JUSTIFIED and thought he was a good villain in the last DIE HARD film but I'm not a gamer and have so far been unable to enjoy any of these kinds of movies, thought this is a massive generalisation (I mean, I liked THE MATRIX which certainly has a similar aesthetic sensibility after all). But I dare say that wihotu the Internet and with a young person to explain it to me I could probably enkoy it!

  3. I saw it. Don't remember a lot about it but I did like it pretty well. Good action

  4. Patti, I don't remember seeing HITMAN in theatres in India though the video game was quite popular.

  5. Sergio, you'd be surprised at the kind of action films I watch. I enjoy HITMAN type of movies. They are fun because you don't really have to pay attention. I'd forgotten about Olyphant's villainous role in the last version of DIE HARD. I thought he did well in HITMAN.

  6. Charles, I agree, there is some good action in this film. It's a slick film, the scene and setting changing within minutes of one another.

  7. This movie was good. The only problem is the story. Too confusing.