‘Somewhat based on the Hitman games’ – White’s reaction to the second movie

movie2_3.jpg
He’s laughing. He knows it’s a lie.

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…

movie2_2

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.

movie2_5
I thought this was a Hitman movie, not a Mirror’s Edge movie.

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…

DELRIEGO:

You need me.

47:

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.

…what?

Following is a high action scene with a tiny bit of Hitman which can be shown in one screengrab:

movie2_4
FIBRE WIRE!

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:

WOMAN:

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.

movie2_6
Look at this tiny thing! It’s almost as cute as the one in Blood Money!

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.

KATIA:

Are you some kind of cop?

JOHN:

No.

KATIA:

How do you know my name?

JOHN:

I’m John. John Smith. I’d like to buy you a cup of coffee.

…what?

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.

movie2_7.jpg
I thought this was a Hitman movie, not a Mirror’s Edge movie… I made that joke before….

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.

…what?

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.

SANDERS:

Why don’t we start out with your name?

47:

47.

SANDERS:

This is not a name.

47:

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?

movie2_8.jpg
This is Hitman.

“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.”

47:

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.

movie2_9.jpg
Which aspect of this I should be making a joke about first?…

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.).

KATIA:

What do they want?

47:

More of me.

KATIA:

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.

LITVENKO:

Perhaps you should consider shooting him.

47:

Subdermal body armour.

LITVENKO:

What, they actually got that to work?

47:

Yep.

I honestly cannot believe a “yep” is part of of the script but let’s move on.

movie2_10.jpg
What is this face?

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?

LE CLERQ:

So you want to trade him for her? Why?

47:

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.

movie2_11.jpg
Their faces clearly say “Holy crap, this is a Hitman movie?!”

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.

48:

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!

movie2_12.jpg
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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.

Signing out.

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!

movie2_14

Advertisements

‘Loosely based on the Eidos video game’ – White’s reaction to the first Hitman movie

movie1_2

Adapting an artform to a completely different medium has its ups and downs. It furthers the spread of the original material to new audiences. It allows for visuals for aspects previously only touched via the magic of letters and words, in case of literature to film adaptation, and it enhances the existing universe by adding auditory elements. It can fill in the blanks to show a different perspective, to shed light on other aspects of the story, in case of visual media to novel adaptation. Manipulating separate mediums is an art in of itself though and we haven’t had much luck when it comes to video game movies… That’s not an opinion. That is a fact.

Video games are still seen as a niche when it comes to entertainment. “Gamers” are prone to stereotypes but how many of the people you know still game in their grandparents’ basement wearing only their way-too-dirty of a t-shirt and boxers?… Except for me, of course. And yet, video game to movie adaptations are getting traction. Why? Money, probably. The industry and the market are changing, evolving. Video games now sell like hot cakes, and when you add the silly pre-order culture to it, I think you can get a clear picture as to why other businesses would be keen on getting at least a taste of the aforementioned hot cake.

This is why we have had such magnificent works of art as the Max Payne movie, multiple Mortal Kombat adaptations, the entire Resident Evil movie side universe and even a taste of the theatrical version of Super Mario Bros…. To add to that, there’s probably the most known line of video game adaptations, directed by the infamous Uwe Boll – a man who was told by Blizzard Entertainment that they will “not sell the movie rights, not to you…especially not to you.” when he expressed he’d like to work with their Warcraft IP.

Have we had some good ones? According to Wikipedia, the best scoring video game movie has a 44% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That would be Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within – a title often associated with the phrase “uncanny valley”. Other than that, the Tomb Raider movies apparently weren’t that bad and some swear that Silent Hill’s adaptation is the best one we’ve gotten… as a Silent Hill fan, I might get to that one eventually… Today we will be looking at something entirely different. That’s also because I usually discuss video games. As a Hitman lore expert however, it would be a deep shame (that’s a lie if I ever saw one) to never get around to movie adaptations of my favorite franchise of all time… I already told you what I think of the novels and I wrote that extensive character analysis of Mr. 47, so what else is left for me to do? The next logical step would be to cover the Hitman Christmas Flash Game or Hitman Vegas if I ever manage to get my hands on that one again… For now though, let’s fuel the memes. Or rather, give actual context to the already existing “White’s reaction to the first movie” card in our Discord’s custom Cards Against Humanity deck.

movie1_4
Welcome to the World of Assassination.

Hitman was released in November 2007, after what we now call the “old school” set of titles were already out. Interestingly enough, the rights to adapt the franchise were negotiated starting February 2003, so even before Contracts hit the shelves. It was also to star Vin Diesel. The actor was also meant to be an executive producer of the title. The latter ended up a reality but the main role was given to Timothy Olyphant instead, with Olga Kurylenko, Dougray Scott, and Robert Knepper casted as supporting characters. The movie was given to a French director Xavier Gens and it was to be written by Skip Woods of Swordfish… fame… and Live Free or Die Hard which was apparently pretty good. The shooting began early 2007. It wasn’t without problems as the movie had to be pushed back due to several scenes needing reshooting. The script was changed to alter the main character’s origins (we’re off to good start, Hitman lore fanatics!). It also means I’m probably going to have a field day as I start disassembling this piece of art, especially given how the source material was disregarded even on the smallest of details. “47’s” eyes in the movie adaptation are brown simply because the director thought Timothy Olyphant looked odd in blue contact lenses. There are also rumors that Jesper Kyd’s music was to be featured in the movie before it was replaced by an original score by Geoff Zanelli.

But let’s not prolong this. Join me (or not, your choice, really) as I hit “Play” and share my thoughts on the 2007 adaptation of Hitman. If you want a more in-depth experience of White’s reaction to the first movie, I posted an audio recording of the entire thing on my Patreon, so be sure to check that out if you’re curious!

movie1_1

The film starts off with a pretty obvious reference to the franchise. Since the very beginning, we get to hear Schubert’s Ave Maria, cause it would not be Hitman if that wasn’t the case. At least we can scratch it off our bingo card early. Accompanying our magnificent song, we are shown a mysterious place in which children are actively being trained for combat purposes. DISCIPLINE is written in bold letters on a projector screen as rows and rows of small human beings with barcodes on their necks are brainwashed into stone-heart killers.

“Barcodes on their necks?”, you ask wondering if White’s Mind has already been damaged by the mere few seconds of the 2007 Hitman. The iconic placement for the barcode has always been the back of 47’s head, so what’s with the neck? Digging into the credits sequence of the film, we can also notice a small print informing us about footage reused from a different FOX-owned production. This was apparently to lower the costs after the previously mentioned reshoots.

Following this intro sequence, which ends up being completely meaningless over the course of the story as it explains nothing, we are then brought to a tiny neighborhood in London, England. A detective is coming back home in a stormy night after a long day of work only to find that his family isn’t there. Instead, another man welcomes him in his household. A bald guy dressed in a fancy suit, white shirt and a blood-red tie. He’s also holding a gun. And there’s a dead fellow right there on the floor. I’d argue that the milk and cookie was probably a way better welcoming gift.

The men apparently know each other. The detective seems startled but the bald guy comforts him, saying that his family is still alive. Just asleep. Of course we believe him and do not act as if being “asleep” isn’t simply a metaphor for being dead… Especially as the detective knows well who this bald man is. He’s been hunting him. Calling him a ghost. And here he is. A ghost right in front of his very face.

…I’m making this more interesting that it actually is, so let’s move on.

Mr. Ghost mentions he’s been stalking the detective for a significant portion of time, yet he still has not decided to kill him, so it’s probably not going to end up happening now, either. Instead, he simply wants to talk. He wants to know when does a good man chooses to end another person’s life and thus begins the proper story.

Three months ago, a bomb accident preplanned by our Ghost Fella has triggered Interpol, and subsequently our detective, to start following him throughout the world. The voice over gives us some world building exposition. Apparently, the mystery place from the intro sequence was a part of a training program by an establishment known only as The Organization. “So secret no-one knows it exists.” The inspector, going by the name Mike, paints an even clearer picture… somewhat. “No motive, no forensic evidence, no witnesses”, he says as he swivels on his armchair. We are also introduced to another Interpol agent – Jenkins – who manages to find holes in theories spewed by the Nigerian general. You know, there’s always this one character which seems self-aware about being a part of a terrible story and Jenkins might just be our guy this time around. Especially hearing dialogues like these:

NIGERIAN GENERAL:

It is our belief that Bwana Ovie
was killed by his own brother.

JENKINS:

Oh, so he choked down
a pound of C-4… and knocked on Ovie’s door?

NIGERIAN GENERAL:

Probably.

We then get a generic “he’s the best of the best” line from Mike himself and a nice shot of a world map with red pins representing Mr. Ghost’s kills. Not all of them, mind you. Just the ones the Interpol knows about.

The Hitman franchise is all about traveling the world, so we then move to St. Petersburg in Russia. A reference to Silent Assassin, perhaps, as our main character is tasked to perform a sniper kill on a Russian politician. But not before we see him in a hotel room, enjoying his ice cold whiskey. A random bystander jokes about killing him for what he’s doing with the beverage and he seems quite distressed before realizing she wasn’t actually serious. The woman is definitely interested in our protagonist yet he isn’t. Instead, we get a nice overview on some more preplanning that will end up being important as time goes on, so pay attention to the very blue ice machine! Ghost Fella then enters his own hotel room (No. 501 – a huge missed opportunity for a Contracts reference!) and we get more direct shots of important plot items.

movie1_5
It’s the only object in this shot and it’s so dissimilar in color to everything else! PAY ATTENTION TO ME!

What follows is a shower scene. I personally really enjoy shower scenes in visual media. Not because of the nudity (in fact there’s nothing to focus your eyes on here) but because they always manage to capture the purity and vulnerability of the character. 2007 Hitman does the same thing by incorporating flashbacks yet contrasts it with showing us a gun right next to the shower itself. We then get a glimpse of what’s happening in the background of the hired killer profession as Ghost Man contacts his agency… Organization… whatever. A robotic female voice (Diana, apparently, given the name tag), informs him that the payment is being completed as our main character is looking at a… “Man’s Guide to Women” article…

…what?

He can also be seen smiling a bit, either at the piece itself or the fact that Diana has just praised him for a job well done. Apparently, the next assignment is just getting more difficult as the client wishes the kill to be public. This triggers another reaction in Mr. Ghost. “I’ve planned something more… subtle”, he says. This one line might be to excuse the upcoming violence and high action scenes in a supposed Hitman movie but that may be giving it too much credit. Still, he accomplishes the task of eliminating Mikhail Belicoff and it’s all she wrote.

It’s never that easy, however. If it was, the film would be over in fifteen minutes and maybe that would have been for the better. Instead, we have an hour and fifteen more minutes to go. Our protagonist is also of an impression that it’s all done and well as we see him willing to depart St. Petersburg and be off to a new destination. Diana stops him. “We have a problem. There was a witness in St. Petersburg.” I’d argue there were many more witnesses, not just Nika Boronina. The kill was to be public, after all…

Said witness ends up being one of Belicoff’s prostitutes (spoiler alert?). Logically, our Ghost Fella is asked to get rid of her. A job he doesn’t complete as Nika simply looks at him and that stops him from accomplishing his goal… what? Then, another hitman appears. An inferior one, perhaps as he misses his target whilst the target is literally standing still. The main character escapes leaving the assassin clearly unhappy.

Remember Mike and Jenkins exist? Now you do cause they are up to something! Analyzing the record of the Belicoff kill reveals some interesting details such as way too much artificial blood used in the scene… no, that’s actually their conclusion, not my sarcastic comment! Mike also gets a tip that the ghost he’s been looking for has been spotted and someone even took a picture of him!

MIKE:

Where the hell did they get a picture?

MAN ON THE PHONE:

I don’t know, sir.

I’m clueless, too…

Back in the hotel, our protagonist argues with Diana over if Nika is or isn’t a witness because that is totally something a hired killer would do. This, paired with the fact that The Organization has also caught on something being off about the Belicoff kill means Ghost Fella will not be getting his money. As you’d imagine, he’s quite upset about the situation, especially as it seems his agency has completely doublecrossed him. This is almost an Absolution-level of a plot setup!

A new challenger appears! Chief Agent Yuri Marklov of FSB has some business with Mr. Ghost as well but gives no reasons as to why. Mike seems to be distraught about it as well, further revealing obvious holes in this script. The Russians decide to storm the hotel and in the meantime, Diana calls our protagonist directly. Apparently, the client was Belicoff himself. She also mentions the police being around the corner which means maybe she didn’t doublecrossed him after all!… only that she was following The Organization’s orders or… is this Absolution?

Following is a long hotel escape action scene featuring the most Hitman thing in this movie… an actual Hitman video game. Interestingly enough, played in French. Given that our hired killer is supposed to leave no forensic evidence and no witnesses and overall be a ghost, he leaves the building completely destroyed, on fire and with a pile of death bodies inside of an elevator. All of the previously shown preplanning ends up coming into play though, giving us an insight of how much of a mastermind our Ghost Man actually is!

movie1_8
I thought this is a Hitman movie, not a F.E.A.R. movie.

Thankfully, that fulfills the quota for at least one person with enough hindsight in this entire plot as one of the Interpol agents has none of it and permanently destroys Ghost Fella’s laptop. Mike and Yuri have a bit of an argument about whether or not the killer is a freelance or connected to the CIA, Mike accuses the FSB of manipulating the photographs and that’s pretty much all this scene involves. The entire Interpol versus FSB conflict seems completely pointless in the end anyways and honestly, it feels like padding. It seems as if it was to balance the action scenes yet there’s so little content involved in them that you might as well just skip them. But then, if you’d also to skip action scenes, there would be nothing left of the hour and a half film, so the choice is yours.

Mr. Ghost goes on to find Nika Boronina in her own apartment. A good place to start looking, I’d say. He influences her to open the door by hiding behind a bouquet of red roses. He then forces her to enter the trunk of his car and takes her to his secret hideout place… that he owns apparently in this entirely foreign country… to interrogate her. Excuse me, he’s taking her “Somewhere safe”. That’s not something I’d believe if a man literally grabbed me by the neck and threw me into his car.

Nika doesn’t know much of importance, or the plot would be too competent for the lowest common denominator demographic to understand so instead, we are given a simple “Mikhail has a body double.” And if you can’t picture that, she also explains “Just as Saddam Hussein” as if that was to help. She also mentions Belicoff having a brother – Udre – who sounds like a man I’d not go to a coffee shop with.

NIKA:

He runs slave girls, drugs, weapons. Both the C.I.A. and F.S.B. want him dead.

Our protagonist asks her why she’s tattooed her face, giving us a connection between the two… sort of… and both an emotional and a bonding moment so the audience has at least one character to root for in this story. Ghost Fella ends up taking Nika with him, wanting to protect her from Belicoff (for some reason…) as he still wishes to complete his original contract.

Exiting St. Petersburg won’t be as easy as getting in as both the Interpol and The Organization apparently wants our main character dead. Another high action scene follows, featuring pointlessly leaving a man alive just to finish the job later and a sword fight between four random barcoded men. A disguise becomes a prominent component reminding us that we are watching a Hitman movie.

script
An actual excerpt of the script.

Mike gets told by other people. He also tells Yuri to fuck off filling the “fuck” quota of the film. Again, this aftermath seems completely unnecessary but it’s there so I’m going to comment on its lack of existential reason. Back to Ghost Fella and Nika, we have a second quick bonding moment between the two as Nika’s backstory is getting revealed a bit more. That goes with the actress herself just that in her case, her entire body ends up being revealed for us in a topless female nudity scene – genuinely the second of the most popular keywords on the IMDb page of this movie. The “no witnesses” ghost our protagonist is, he makes a huge scene in front of an entire crowd of people but the bonding moment does its job and he even forces a joke and a smile out of Nika at the end of it. We are also explicitly told that he doesn’t want to have sex with her so if you were in the cinema just for that, you might get up your seat and leave in this very moment.

It appears Mr. Ghost isn’t the only character knowing the art of preplanning as Mike does the same! The audience is informed with a very obvious sort-of-a-flashback-but-not-really that our detective has placed a bug on Yuri the last time they’ve met and him and Jenkins can now listen in to Yuri’s conversation with a higher up! But they are quickly interrupted and that’s another Mike scene wasted…

movie1_9
Why is the insignia on a piece of an Interpol equipment?… Or maybe they’ve stolen it from Ghost Fella’s stuff? No idea.

In the meantime, Nika meets up with a new character which doesn’t get properly introduced and we don’t exactly know where he comes from and why he is there. Ghost Fella is observing them via a sniper rifle scope cause that’s apparently more common than binoculars. At least we get a pretty clear Blood Money promo art reference reminding us that this is a Hitman movie. “After all these years, I’d think you’d trust me a little more than this”, the man starts off his phone conversation with the main character. That is the only line establishing some form of a previous connection between the two, so I hope you enjoyed it!

The man is apparently a part of the Central Intelligence Unit but also has some insight to the whole Belicoff situation and the fact that The Organization has doublecrossed “the best of the best” because it obviously made sense to do that. Since the CIA wants Udre Belicoff gone, our guy decides to do the dirty work. In return, he only wants a “small favor”. That’s obviously not the case but a part of a bigger preplanning operation so let’s roll with it as we travel to Istanbul!

Nika wakes up almost completely naked to try and force our Ghost Fella to pay attention to her. He isn’t interested though, instead browsing the files of a German weapon dealer whom Udre is doing business with. “We’re going to dinner”, he exclaims suddenly and follows it with a “We need to buy you a new dress.”

“You know, you’re really quite charming when you aren’t killing people.”

…what?

Istanbul serves as a bonding place for our main character and a… Bond girl… as they walk down the streets and make accidentally silly faces. They then head to Gelato Tower to do some more preplanning! Apparently Mr. Price is going to be there, as Mr. Ghost already knew from the briefing so I have no idea why he felt the need to doublecheck it other than to maybe make a reference to Traditions of the Trade or to point out how stupid it is for “the best of the best” to leave a witness unattended for a prolonged period of time.

NIKA:

How did you know I wouldn’t just take off?

GHOST FELLA:

I didn’t. Come on. We have dinner reservations at 8.

We change places for a second for another almost pointless Mike scene. The Interpol now knows that Belicoff has a body double. And we’re back to Istanbul! Great use of two minutes, there!

Our beloved couple has another bonding moment, as they are having dinner at Gelato Tower. Their conversation mostly involves exchanging random observations, mild sexual jokes and leaves me craving the soup of the day (red lentil and mint with sautéed onions and diced tomatoes). This nice environment soon changes as Mr. Ghost suddenly stands up and asks Nika to get the check. In the meantime, he enters the bathrooms, uses his preplanned asset to eliminate both Price and his bodyguard (a right man on the right job as he doesn’t even see it coming whilst facing a mirror). Nika’s “What the fuck?” pretty much covers it all. She still manages to grab a wine bottle from the table and apparently drinks all of it before they head back.

NIKA:

Well, that was lovely. Right up to the time you dragged me out by my hair.

Another attempt at seducing our protagonist fails thanks to a syringe filled with some sort of a sedative which affects the victim in less than a second. At least that’s game-accurate.

Having Nika out of the picture for a bit, Ghost Fella meets up with Udre Belicoff under a guise of Mr. Price. For some reason, I fail to believe Udre either did not get the memo that the real Mr. Price is dead, no-one has found Price and his bodyguard up to this moment or even that Udre has no idea of how Mr. Price looks like. Disregard any logic, as we have another high action scene, this time involving hookers, cheap weaponry and dollar bills. Our protagonist ends up killing Udre in a way-too-risky of a method for the “no forensic evidence” type of a hired gun.

movie1_10
I thought this was a Hitman movie, not a PAYDAY movie.

Fade out, fade in back to the room where we last left Nika. Mr. Ghost thinks about it once he sees her naked but covers her up instead. His facial expression gives out a truly distressed feeling as if he’s a teenager watching a porno for the very first time. Honestly, this also might be because of how young Timothy Olyphant looks in this movie…

The next morning, the duo have even more bonding moments cause we have to pick up the pace with those. Nika fixes Ghost Fella’s tie before they head off to a great adventure. During the car ride, she begins reading aloud the same article previously read by our main character in St. Petersburg. We get to learn such plot-important details as that “when the male penguin meets the female penguin he knows in the first 10 seconds whether he’s gonna like her or not”. Terrible sex jokes later, Nika mentions she always wanted to have a vineyard when she was a little girl and that is actually a plot-important detail you should remember out of that entire scene.

Did you know that there is a substory to this movie? I certainly didn’t but here it is. Mike has been digging through the retrieved briefcase of our protagonist and has found a small bag containing a cross-shaped key. “I never thought our boy is a religious type.”, he mutters maybe referencing Silent Assassin to remind us we are watching a Hitman movie. “That’s strange.” Indeed. That’s also the end of the Mike scene.

Ready for our last bonding moment? I told you we needed to pick up the pace. Ghost Fella interrupts Nika’s nap to inform her it’s the last time they ever going to see each other. Just… it’s not as dramatic as I’m making it out to be cause the script obviously tries but fails at delivering this level of drama.

GHOST FELLA:

Nika. I have to go.

NIKA:

So much for happy endings. I don’t want you to do this.

GHOST FELLA:

Belicoff needs to die.

NIKA:

I don’t care about that.
Not anymore.

GHOST FELLA:

As long as he’s alive, they will never stop looking for you.
At the next station, get off the train as soon as it stops. Move with the crowd.

NIKA:

But I don’t even know your name.

GHOST FELLA:

The place I was raised, they didn’t give us names.
They gave us numbers.
Mine was 47.

Finally! I was waiting for it all this time! If you were wondering why I am not calling this character “47” for this entire time, it was because, disregarding the few seconds the number appears during the calls with The Age– Organization, it is never mentioned up to this moment! Nika has the nerve to answer “Well, that explains a lot” even though it actually doesn’t and they split up.

When was the last time we’ve seen Yuri? I personally don’t even remember anymore but here he is again and, it appears, he has been working with Mikhail Belicoff all along and the man is furious. And drunk. Next is Mike and few quick establishing moments of “the FSB wants the Interpol to drop the investigation”, “Udre’s been found dead” and a convenient TV report about Mikhail Belicoff attending his brother’s funeral which triggers Mike to add two and two together and realize Mr. Ghost… or “47” has been using his preplanning abilities once again.

If revealing the number of “47” reminded you that we’re watching a Hitman movie, this might be the only time to appreciate the source material as this nighttime scene is actually quite suspenseful and features multiple Hitman references – the fibre wire and the coin distraction (not a pistol distraction, this was way too early for that one). A shame though that the room Yuri ends up in is more akin to SAW than any of the Hitman video games. Unless maybe you count Sturrock’s brother’s playground from Meat King’s Party. A rubber ducky also makes its appearance in the tub accompanying Yuri’s bath. Apparently “47” now wants him dead… for some reason… and he’s using a complicated machinery to do it for him.

In the meantime, the authorities are preparing a setup themselves. Mike is worried about the civilian casualties but that is to be avoided with a gas-based sedative. The grand star arrives. We’re ready for the climax. Yuri is forced to direct his own hitman to shoot Belicoff instead but the glass pane stops their plans. TARGET LOCKDOWN.

movie1_13
Wait, so it is the ICA or not? I’m confused…

Mr. Ghost or “47”, I guess, uses the newfound distraction to obtain a masked disguise and massacre even more people. This means a clear cut way to his original target. Mike also makes a connection between the cross-shaped key and the church they are in, by the way. It feels like he understands a lot more than I do cause he comes to a conclusion that our protagonist has set all of this up from the very beginning. How? I literally do not know. Apparently, Ghost Fella knew from the start that Belicoff has a body double, that The Organization is going to doublecross him, that the FSB is working with Belicoff to cover everything up and has even been carrying this random cross-shaped key knowing well that Interpol is going to get a hold of his suitcase and find it. What a mastermind.

After a high action scene, “47” forces Belicoff into a room and they have a little talk. The Russian wants to negotiate with the killer but he’s not interested and shoots him right in his pretty face instead. His plans are not over yet however as he purposely sets himself up to be found by Interpol and then have the previously seen but not properly introduced up until now character get him out. It appears that the guy we’ve only seen in one scene is actually agent Smith of the CIA. I know, I wouldn’t guess either based on his appearance. And I’m the Hitman lore expert! Thus, in this very convoluted way, “47” flees into the unknown having completed his original contract and leaving Mike with nothing once again.

Except for milk and cookies, cause we are back to the suburban neighborhood in London.

MIKE:

So now what?

47:

Now you have to answer my question.
Are you a good man, Inspector?

MIKE:

I think.

47:

And yet you’ve killed men.
So, Inspector… how does a good man decide when to kill?

Mike ends up muttering a few words which don’t make any sense what-so-ever, so the entire plot set up and therefore, the entirety of the movie was completely meaningless. It is then clear that the preplanning went even further, up to this very moment. Mr. Ghost has not only found Mike’s family house but is also giving him what he always wanted – himself. Killed by Mike. Sort of. Cause it’s not him but a different barcoded man. And he wasn’t shot by Mike but his weapon. But you get the gist. He also says his last goodbye to Nika. By setting her up with her very own vineyard. The end.

So there we go. The 2007 Hitman movie. To be fair, there’s not much to discuss as it’s barely even a Hitman movie. The number “47” has been mentioned once throughout the course of the story. Diana is a robotic voice who only has few lines in the entire script and The Agency is pretty much none existent. There are few references here and there but it’s definitely not enough for it to be Hitman especially given how high action and loud the film ends up being. Even as a movie, it’s lackluster and pretty boring. As I’ve mentioned before, the Interpol vs. FSB subplot is forgettable to say the least, the dialogue can be illogical or outright stupid and the characters have little to no motivation. It’s a typical Hollywood action flick so I guess we shouldn’t expect much. I simply do not know who is the target audience for this movie. It’s definitely not Hitman fans and it’s not generic action movie fans as the film ends up being mediocre at even that with it’s obvious horrible looking CGI and excess of fake blood. Maybe it tried to grab viewers attention by plastering the lens with Olga Kurylenko’s naked body but even that need (if you personally have it) can be easily circumvented by browsing the internet.

What is worth mentioning is that the original script was much different from what we’ve received. Even the ending scene was changed. Nika was supposed to get killed right in front of “47’s” eyes. But I guess that would make it pretty grim and the lowest common denominator prefers happy ending. What a shame. Can you believe they wanted to make a sequel to this movie? It never ended up happening cause they canceled it and rebooted it in 2015.

…Wait. They did what?…

Yes. Hitman was successful as a movie after all and even though plans for a sequel were ruined, that did not stop Fox from taking another bite of the license. And since they did it, I guess I also have to…

Join me here next month for another batch of “White’s reactions to the Hitman movies” as we tackle the 2015 Hitman: Agent 47.


A big thank you to LadyFromEast for suffering with me through this movie and a huge thanks to all of my Patreons for the continued support!
Remember to check out the bonus’ bonuses, too! Including the audio recording of White, LadyFromEast and Toffi reacting to the first movie!

movie1_12