The history of Hitman is defined by its games. And gamers who have played them. What if someone could create a better story than what has been shown in the games? Someone tried.
The project was initiated in 2013 by the company named 20th Century Fox. It’s purpose was to create the video game movie. A story about human beings without emotion, or fear, or remorse. The resulting subject was called Hitman: Agent 47 (even though the previous movie was already known as Hitman: Agent 47 in several regions). The program was a financial success. But the price of creating a terrible movie loosely based on a video game is a slew of angry fans.
No-one had ever imagined, that in the end, it would come down to one, not little anymore and actually not a girl.
As the times went on, I thought I’d never find myself in a situation where I’m watching this movie. Hitman: Agent 47 was a sequel no-one ever wanted. Even the company itself as it canceled the previously planned follow-up to the 2007 Hitman and instead, rebooted the film universe. This time, the project was given to Aleksander Bach – a commercial director working mostly for Asian-territory based companies. He recalls the film to start out really small and then get bigger and bigger as time went on. The script was, again, devised by Skip Woods and was to feature likable characters and “great story”. “To make this successful, what you need first of all if you do a game adaptation — it really doesn’t matter if it’s a video game or not — you need a great story and characters”, the director said in an interview with BlackFilm. He also mentioned video game 47 being too cold to ever be relatable. “This is the big difference between the game and the movie, you need to create a character you care about.” That honestly makes me feel alienated in how much I personally care about the video game character of Mr. 47…
The protagonist was to be played by Paul Walker before his unfortunate death. Rupert Friend was casted in his stead and afterwards, a wave of news on the supporting cast begun to surface. Hannah Ware was to play a female role, Zachary Quinto joined the team as John Smith and Thomas Kretschmann as the antagonist of the story. Not many promotional materials have been released. Except for a few high action trailers and generic movie posters, the biggest promotion campaign happened during San Diego Comic Con 2015. That also featured two panels in which actors try their best in answering questions from the crowd and present the movie as appealing to the on-house audience.
Knowing all of this, I think it is time to finally jump into the film itself. If you’re interested in an in-depth experience of yours truly getting progressively more and more drunk in “White’s reaction to the second movie”, the audio recording is available on my Patreon, so remember to check that out as well. For now though, let us begin analyzing the unfortunately titled 2015 feature film – Hitman: Agent 47.
The first two minutes of the movie are filled with a long exposition/establishing speech from who we can only assume is Diana. It talks about creating a better version of man. A task that was apparently accomplished by a scientist by the name of Peter Aaron Litvenko. Do you know him from any of the Hitman games? Cause I sure don’t and I’m apparently the Hitman lore expert. Fueling the Agent Project, Litvenko focused on their abilities to kill and be rid of emotions. This meant they were perfect as hired guns and quickly took toll on poor scientist’s conscience. He fled. Shut down the project. The surviving specimens vanished into the world as well. Multiple efforts were made to reinvent the Agents yet everyone who has ever tried, failed. The man who got the closest – Dr. Albert Delriego – spent the last 6 years looking for Litvenko to get an insight to his brilliant mind. Finally, he has a lead. A photograph of a young woman.
This is the premise of Hitman: Agent 47 and pretty much the only piece of the grand story that we will see for a while. All of this in mere two minutes of the movie! It’s obvious that it takes inspirations from both Codename 47 and Absolution out of all the things. The CG of the intro scene is also very similar to Absolution‘s in its design choices which I guess should not be a surprise as it was the latest Hitman (debatable) game released at the time. I do however wonder why they opted to use the canon names of 47 and Diana, yet completely disregarded Ort-Meyer’s or Victoria’s. Maybe they were thinking their movie equivalents are different enough to warrant a name change. Personally, I think both have so little personality it truly doesn’t matter. And Victoria is so hated among the fanbase anyways, I doubt anyone would defend the possibility of destroying her character.
Hitman means world traveling so this time, we arrive at Salzburg, Austria. We are quite welcomed at the Syndicate International Research Facility – home to Albert Delriego’s investigation. Compared to the 2007 Hitman movie, everything here is weirdly high tech. Something which was never the case in any of the games, even the 2016 HITMAN. In fact, the older titles always managed to keep their campy feel so the choice of using a high tech aesthetic is baffling.
They aren’t the only ones looking for “the girl” or Katia van Dees as we can learn from the huge letters on the even bigger screen. A man with a barcode on the back of his head is also interested in her and he’s currently sabotaging the Syndicate machines by uploading a simple virus onto their servers. Via his smartphone. That’s it for the high tech computers. I guess some other piece of media has already shown us you can do pretty much everything just using your smart device so I should not be that surprised…
Using tracking devices attached to the Syndicate Audis (product placement!), he watches them on his super smartphone and then uses it to detonate a bomb, cleverly placed in the exact spot the cars were passing anyways. Then we are introduced to a self-sniping rifle (still no briefcase, though…) and a safehouse location which has apparently already been breached. Our antagonist demands to give him an update in a very similar manner to Absolution’s Benjamin Travis however. Or maybe I’m just delusional and try really hard to pick up some references to the source material.
Delriego attempts to convince the barcoded man that they are already working on the next generation of the Agents, but when that obviously fails, he plays another card – a chip implanted in his heart. Once that stops beating, his personal security service will barge through the door… something which I don’t understand why hasn’t happened already…
You need me.
No. I only need pieces of you.
This apparently convinces Delriego to give him the information he requires but also mentions Katia being a “ghost”. I think that fills the “ghost” quota of this movie. We are also witnesses of the “cool guys don’t look at explosions” moment because this is a Hitman movie.
Following is a high action scene with a tiny bit of Hitman which can be shown in one screengrab:
The fight at least seem to be somewhat choreographed this time around so it is a bit more enjoyable to watch especially as a guy is literally thrown down onto stairs handrails which he bounces off of and lands on the floor like a ragdoll… I guess that’s game accurate. And if you were looking for references – the barcoded man ends up with blood on his shirt in a very similar way to Absolution’s promo arts.
Another high tech environment, meaning we’re somewhere in the Syndicate HQ. From the barely even audible dialogue we can make up that Delriego was close to finding “the girl” yet now he’s dead. As his investigation lead him to Berlin in Germany, this is where we end up as well in the very next scene. There, we end up meeting who appears to be “the girl” herself. It seems as if she’s not only being hunted but also the huntress as we see her digging through papers and photographs. She’s looking for… presumably a man of… most likely Slavik origins… but there are literally 71,291 possible matches and… this dialogue speaks for itself:
You have to realize that millions of people have lived in Berlin over the past 25 years. I can’t be expected to sort through everyone of them for your mystery man, can I?
Our girl is also pretty sensitive when it comes to people touching her as it’s presented to us in a completely NON-OBVIOUS WAY BY FOCUSING A SHOT ON THE FACT THAT SHE ALMOST JUMPS FROM HER CHAIR WHEN THE WOMAN TRIES TO COMFORT HER. Unfortunately, without a name or really any lead what-so-ever except for the blurry photograph I’m sure Syndicate can easily CSI with their technological capabilities, there is nothing that can be done and she leaves unamused. A bus scene reminds us (already) that Katia doesn’t like physical contact. There’s also a suspicious dude looking directly at her as “you’ve gotta be emotional now” tune plays in the background. She exits the bus and with her, the suspicious dude does the same. “The girl” then attempts to purchase a false passport. The data strip is demagnetised and the seller is apparently very easily intimidated for someone working in such profession so she gets what she wanted after all. He leaves her with a generic “Be careful, little girl. This world is a dangerous place.” comment. Following that completely pointless scene, we establish that Katia is able to either sense or see or have weird visions of stuff around her and she helps out an innocent woman who’s getting beat in her own house by signaling the police.
In the meantime, the barcoded man exits an elevator. A badass music accompanies his slow walk as he enters a high tech apartment and takes out a tiny computer out of his huge suitcase filled with all kinds of tools of the trade. He hacks into the Berlin police servers and attempts to find a match for the mysterious “the girl”. He then puts his weaponry next to him and goes to sleep sitting up.
Katia returns home as well. Hers being messy and dark, to contrast with what we’ve been seeing so far. We get shown her own investigation as well as few disassembled pieces of machinery. She gets more weird visions, cries a bit, takes some pills and also goes to sleep. Just laying on her mattress and exhaling in an exaggerated manner. Back to the barcoded man. The tiny laptop has found a 100% match and presented it to him in a visually exciting way!
“47. It’s Diana”, says a woman of an… Asian… accent… Shortly, we can see her face and indeed, she ends up being of Asian origins. Who would have figured that Diana Burnwood, with her identifying characteristic being a heavy British accent would be portrayed by Angelababy – an actress almost exclusively taking part in Chinese productions before starring in Hitman: Agent 47? “47” is apparently having a tail. A Syndicate operative. They know nothing about him except that he’s found “her”, so they set up a contract. The barcoded man now has 46 (cause 47 might have been too on the nose) hours to eliminate both targets so he leaves immediately. I’d like to point out now that we’re at 20-minute mark and the biggest story development we’ve had so far was the intro info dump.
Back into Katia’s apartment. She’s dreaming of 47 (don’t we all?… just not this non-bald movie version), or rather has another weird vision. Knowing she’s in danger, she takes her time to get properly dressed, casually grab stuff off her wall and then storm out of the building. I’m sure she could have avoided leg work if she didn’t stick around her apartment for what seemed to be forever. The barcoded man finds her pills, disassembled machinery and a public transport map from which he somehow knows exactly what she’s been eyeing. The entire trio heads there.
Katia uses her weird visions to steal pills off some poor woman’s purse but is caught by the suspicious dude from before.
Are you some kind of cop?
How do you know my name?
I’m John. John Smith. I’d like to buy you a cup of coffee.
Katia’s obviously not interested, so Smith – here portrayed by Zachary Quinto as a generic sort-of handsome dude even though the main characteristic of agent Smith in every single Hitman video game was his red hair – asks if she’d be interested in living instead. This wooden dialogue leads to even more wooden delivery of “the girl” trying to pull of a Heather Mason.
“Walk away or I’ll scream”, she attempts to convey but doesn’t manage to convince anybody. Not even John. “He won’t care. He’s here to kill you, Katia. And I’m here to stop him. I know you don’t have any reason to trust me but look at him.” …what?
Few more unconvincing lines later, they come to a conclusion that they should indeed be working together. Smith mentions he knows Katia is looking for someone and that’s apparently enough for her to completely trust him. A high action scene begins. 47 uses such tricks as pushing some guy onto Smith to make him fall over and then shoots his pistol to move it out of his reach. He lines up to shoot “the girl” but John manages to jump on his back and they both fall down onto a moving train… and then down onto the train tracks. They casually wrestle in a terribly choreographed fight scene, so we get shaky camera movements instead to compensate. Apparently, this was meant to buy Katia some time but, as we all know how hasty she can be, both John and 47 get to her in record time. They run to the parking lot, where somebody who I can only describe as “some dude” waits for Smith behind a wheel. He nonchalantly asks “Where’s the Agent?” so Smith hurries him up and they drive away and this time it is 47 who’s looking unamused.
Only now Katia has the decency to ask who are the people whose car she’s is now sitting inside. “Some dude” manages to mumbles something about them “trying to protect her” and then immediately gets shot in the face (literally) so I fail to see how credible this statement is. Smith fires some shots for some reason or another even though 47 is miles away. Although he managed to somehow hit “some dude” in from said distance so maybe it’s not as unrealistic as I think given this movie logic. John reestablishes what we already know and they jog into the American Embassy. “We’ll be safe here”, Smith states and immediately draws his weapon to fire shots in front of the building.
Katia gets interrogated by the only character (called Sanders… in reference to Absolution’s Sanders?… I doubt it) consisting of any logic in this film. Just as 47 enters the Embassy himself with all of his weaponry on him. And obviously gets captured. Sanders fails at being the only smart person of the story by bringing a high caliber sniper rifle and pointing it at the barcoded man now sitting with his hands cuffed. If you can make up what the policeman is saying at this point in time, you are rewarded with a Hitman reference as the rifle is supposed to be a custom Blaser R93.
Why don’t we start out with your name?
This is not a name.
No. But it is mine.
The barcoded man then goes on to say that he’s an assassin tasked to eliminate “the girl”. Sanders obviously doesn’t believe him cause no-one would in this situation. 47 teases him with threats featuring the man’s family and then some more generic wannabe badass dialogue ensues resulting in a silly slow-mo action scene. Smith manages to break Katia out, 47 dresses as a cop and also leaves the building. I guess it’s not so safe if you lead the man who’s trying to kill you to the very place you want to hide at.
At the 30-minute mark, Katia asks the same question every viewer is having. This being “You want to tell me what’s happening now?” John reveals that Litvenko is her father which I completely misinterpreted the first time I saw the movie. Either because the plot dropped so fast I wasn’t expecting it or because I was really drunk. This is the only important information out of everything Smith has to say in this scene. Even he prefaces it by stating “I don’t know much” before retelling the same info dump we’ve had at the beginning of the film. Also his name isn’t really John Smith. It’s Brian. Cause that is apparently important. Even Katia calls him “John” in the very next conversation. And I completely disregarded the visually exciting sniping scene because nothing comes out of it anyways.
Smith tries to discourage “the girl” from finding Litvenko but when she says “No”, he ends up telling her everything he knows about him anyways. Apparently her father has lung cancer which might be a way to establish an emotional connection. Also, there is a mention of the other parent being Sri Lankan. This entire conversation takes its sweet time so it’s only a good thing that 47 barges in and interrupts it. He shoots John in the chest, punches Katia in the face thus rendering her unconscious somehow and leaves with her casually hanging off his shoulder.
Apparently this version of 47 also has a safehouse in which he interrogates young women. They reestablish the same plot points once again but weird visions and flashbacks disclose that the duo are siblings. Or rather part of the same program. Even though the little 47 has green eyes and the adult one’s are more blue-ish. The barcoded man then tries to trigger a reaction in Katia by placing her in a dangerous situation featuring a high speed jet engine which she somehow did not notice beforehand …what?
“The girl” uses her enhanced survival skills to free herself and somehow the jet engine sucks in the chair and not her. She finds 47 and asks him about what she is, even though he literally just established that they were part of the same program. “Bullshit, I’m just Katia.”
And your name isn’t Katia van Dees. It’s “quatre-vingt-dix”. French for “90”.
…wha– You know, I actually like this.
Following is a high action scene featuring loads of artificial blood and a Wilhelm scream as 47 attempts to prove to Katia that she’s been programmed to deal with extreme situations. And by “high action” I mean “action at a moderate pace”. John appears out of nowhere even though he was quite clearly shot. His first words to the barcoded man are “I want you to know, I’m a big fan of your work, 47. It’s an honor to meet a legend.” which may be a reference to Absolution’s Attack of the Saints but I’m doubtful that’s the case. They wrestle a bit after Smith mentioning he’s “special”. 47 thrusts a knife into his chest but that quickly backfires and he ends up on the floor as John is aiming a gun at him and demands him to fuel up his ego. Katia comes to save the day. She shoots the glass window exposing the huge jet engine and a silly CGI death of two random armed men ensues. Smith’s survival is credited to “subdermal titanium body armor, injected under the skin in liquid form.” Something Syndicate likes to experiment with, their high tech capabilities and all. “The girl” reveals her father is in Singapore, as is the Syndicate Headquarters, conveniently. Diana ends up overhearing the entire conversation and sets up another man in black suit and with a red tie to join the party in Singapore.
Just as last time, Katia leaves a map from which other characters magically know where she’s heading to. 47 and her are now at the Singapore airport though and after acknowledging that the cameras are Syndicate’s eyes, the barcoded man disguises himself just as the Big Brother is clearly watching him.
Even though Katia did her best to stay out of sight, a camera still managed to snap her picture, thus the Syndicate knows everything rendering the previous scene completely pointless. “The girl” and the barcoded man attempt to have a bonding moment. Katia asks if the tattoo hurt and more incomprehensible details about the Agents program are given to us. Apparently, the barcode is given to them when they are born and the numbers when they become Agents. That’s both stupid and completely unreasonable as the barcode already is a way of representing the numbers anyways. Katia reveals that Litvenko will be “there” at 9AM and that he has lung cancer, trying to force an emotional response out of either 47 or the viewers. Both failed attempts. A conversation about suppressing emotions ensues before it is suddenly interrupted by the need to go to sleep. So 47 does that by sitting up and “the girl” continues on her merry ways which also means disassembling his guns. Which is apparently a thing she does when she cannot fall asleep. This also means the barcoded man is left without his pistols when some more folks join the fun first thing in the morning. 47 somehow knows they weren’t Syndicate. Instead, there is an open contract on the duo so everyone and their mother will try and stop them.
The siblings (ugh… I’m never using that word to desribe them ever again) finally get to meet with their father… somehow. The conversation between Litvenko and Katia is full of non-answers as he keeps reestablishing what we already know from the intro. His conscience was driving him mad so instead of trying to raise his children by himself, he instead left them to be further experimented on… what? Isn’t this what you were trying to stop?…
47 appears out of nowhere. Katia spurs something about people having a choice of who they want to be in life, therefore rendering the entire plotpoint about being programmed to kill pointless. Bad men cut short this very emotional moment and the trio escapes in a red Audi (not product placement except the logo is directly in focus of the shot. Multiple times.).
What do they want?
More of me.
Why would anyone want more of you?
What follows is a high action car chase which has the barcoded man leisurely sitting behind the wheel of the red vehicle as John Smith keeps hurrying up his collegue who appears to be the calmest man on the entire universe even though he is actively taking part in a high speed pursuit and Litvenko mentions being a part of the program working on the subdermal body armor.
Perhaps you should consider shooting him.
Subdermal body armour.
What, they actually got that to work?
I honestly cannot believe a “yep” is part of of the script but let’s move on.
Our heroes get out of the situation without a scratch, as is the red Audi even though it has been bumped and shot many times during the course of the scene. I guess you really need no more convincing if you ever wanted to purchase one. Suddenly, more plot is getting unveiled as the Syndicate chairman who we’ve seen for maybe two minutes at best actually has a name. Antoine LeClerq. Apparently, he never leaves his secure office and fourteen agents have already tried killing him. You know, I’d expect more from beings literally programmed to eliminate other beings but I digress. Syndicate uses their high tech capabilities to stick hooks in the poor red vehicle. Masked armed men attempt to rappel down onto the car but 47 activates his aimbot to shoot all of them down. Also understandably causing panic on the entire street. Cars are getting destroyed left and right, naturally though, our Audi is all fine and dandy.
Katia helps Litvenko off the busy street. He ends up getting shot in the knee which is apparently enough of a drawback that they leave him behind. Not before slipping him an inhaler previously stolen from a little kid in an elevator – a scene which yours truly didn’t mention as there was nothing more of importance. John Smith snatches Litvenko, brings him to the Syndicate HQ and interrogates him in almost a Bond-like fashion. He also learns that he’s a failed experiment and that is pretty much all out of the new plot information.
Le Clerq also gets frustrated by the lack of development in this story and exits his protected office. He wants to know how to build an army of Agents but gets nothing once again. Litvenko knows he’s going to die anyways so there’s no point in speaking up to anybody. In the meantime, 47 managed to get his hands on a helicopter and is now trying to reason with Le Clerq by selling her Katia instead… what?
So you want to trade him for her? Why?
Because I always close my contracts.
Either that, or because the script did not know how to drag a very basic concept onto a feature-length movie.
Katia breaks her ties once again and pilots her helicopter onto through the glass pane windows of the Syndicate building. She then exits the vehicle and begins either disarming or straight-up killing random armed men.
Plot twist: 47 was never actually on that helicopter. Instead, he somehow managed to enter the extremely secure office of Le Clarq. He shoots Smith in the hand as he walks in (a reference to Absolution, maybe?) and another wrestling match between the two begins. The fibre wire saves the day as it inducts electricity and finally manages to find a way to end John’s existence for good.
“When this is done, I will kill you”, Katia says and she definitely has my sentiment as a terrible Bond movie-like guitar riff track begins playing in the background. The duo clears their way up to the roof, Litvenko takes off in a heli and the barcoded man gets shot in the back trying to protect Katia. He’s not affected by it though and they both respond with a bullet to the attacker’s chest.
It appears the inhaler wasn’t just an inhaler. It was also a detonator… somehow. Litvenko knows that… somehow and uses it to blow up himself, Le Clarq and the poor innocent helicopter pilot leaving Katia in tears. Another plot twist – it was actually Antoine Le Clarq who 47 was tasked to kill. It was to stop the Agent program once and for all and to set Katia free. The barcoded man mumbles something about not having destiny, instead determining who we are by what we do. They try to leave but it’s never as simple as another Agent cuts in their path. A 48, no less.
Diana says “Hello”.
All of them shoot their guns and a terrible song plays over the credits. The end.
…Or is it?!
It isn’t as the mid-credits scene reveals that Le Clerq survives and is now an albino!
Hitman: Agent 47 fails to deliver as a video game movie. I’d argue that it also fails in many other aspects. Not only the plot can be contained in the intro info dump, all of the characters mumble their lines in almost incomprehensible fashion. Not to mention the dialogue is stilted and reminds me of the original PSX Resident Evil. The high action scenes are boring as they are often comical and fail to deliver the suspense. This is due to the characters taking forever in performing any actions and there is nothing to keep your attention on the film. At least there were no forced innuendos this time around…
And yet I still kind of prefer this one over the 2007 Hitman. Why? Maybe because I can see the potential in the story. Yes, they very clearly sequel-baited it in the end but I find it adorable that they tried to incorporate the games’ grand storyline into it in some manner. Would I watch it again? No. Would I recommend it to other Hitman fans? Of course not. But either because I’m partial to the albino subplot of Blood Money or I admire how the movie wasn’t simply about a superkiller on the loose, I’m not as offended as most people were when I talked to them about this film. It was still horrible but at least it tried. And I always give credit where credit is due.
I hope you enjoyed our little adventure in the realms of the Hitman movies. Whether or not you’ll decide to watch them on your own is obviously your choice. I personally would not recommend either of them unless you get really drunk like I did. If you wish to listen to my ongoing reactions to both of the movies, my Patreon is where you’ll find it. And thus, we end our Summer Bonus Episode. I certainly hope it was worth it, as many people asked me to cover the movies for much longer than “a while”. What will happen next Hitman-wise is to be seen but I more than encourage you to explore my articles on topics other than Hitman. I do video game analysis, so go check it out!
In the meantime, this has been White.
PS.: If someone can tell me where exactly is the credited footage of Absolution in this movie, please screengrab it cause I don’t want to see this movie again and yet I’m curious.
A big thank you to LadyFromEast for suffering through this with me as well as my Patreons for the continuous support! Remember to check out my Patreon for an audio recording of White’s drunken reactions to this movie. Don’t like Patreon? You can just buy me a coffee instead as a one-time donation!