More Video Game Movie Mediocrity

by Alan Rapp on November 22, 2007

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Hitman
  • IMDb: link

What’s Thanksgiving without a turkey?  Hitman is exactly is good as you would expect from a flick adapted off a series of video games.  It’s not the mind-numbing disaster Doom was (thank God! read that review), but it’s not exactly good either.

Timothy Olyphant stars as “Agent 47,” a bald hitman with a bar code stamped on the back of his head.  He works for a secret organization performing assassination and murder for hire, that is until (for no apparent reason) he’s sold out by the people who own him and he goes on the run with a whore (Olga Kurylenko) owned by the man he must kill and avoid capture by the Interpol agent on his tail (Dougray Scott).

Here is the perfect example of video game logic versus screenplay logic.  In a video game I’m sure it’s exceptable to have an assassin who sticks out like a sore thumb (I don’t know about you but I think I’d notice a guy with a bar code tattooed on the back of his head), but here, even though our guy takes no steps to conceal himself, he’s almost impossible to find.  And when he is caught more logic goes out the window.  In one scene he faces off against three other men with guns only for all of them to drop their weapons and pull out identical twin swords (out of their collective asses, since they couldn’t conceal such weapons on them) and fight.  You know you are in trouble when you’re watching a scene and asking “Why is this in the film?” and the only answer available is “Because it was in the video game.”

Aside from huge logic holes, a background story which is never developed, and some pretty shitty acting across the board the film also gives us no reason to care.  Our main character is an emotionless killer, neither evil nor good, seemingly invincible and without care.  We are given no reason to root for, or even against, him as the plot trudges on to its inevitable conclusion.  There’s no drama or tension here as our bland video game character is never truly challenged or put in danger he can’t escape from.  Even most of the action scenes are tame.  And the only interesting part of the story, this organization which trains and brands assassins from childhood, is never explored.  This is a second-rate xXx (a movie, by the way, I didn’t care for either) complete with just enough explosions and partial nudity to try and pull in the dumber part of the bored 17-20 audience with absolutely nothing else to do on a Friday night.

There’s just nothing here.  Like the many films before it, and the many yet to come, video game movies (aside from a select few) just don’t play on film.  When taken out of a video game world the stories often translate poorly, or as in this case, don’t translate at all.

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