A videogame to screen espionage thriller about a genetically engineered assassin with a robotic personality and a chip on his shoulder as well as inside his head, Hitman dabbles in present day notions about merchandised mercenaries with high price tags as apolitical servants of special interests that function above and beyond governments. Timothy Olyphant is the nameless ’47’, the workaholic multinational killer in question, a whiz at sniping and strangling, but clueless when it comes to conscience, sex or emotions.
In other words, he’s the sort of guy who when a desirable hottie hits on him, as in trying to rip his clothes off, he can’t distinguish her moves from any run of the mill enemy assault, and reacts by zapping her in the neck with his handy animal tranquilizer syringe. Though he’s troubled by existential issues like, when do good men decide that its necessary to kill, and he seeks advice about this ethical dilemma at gunpoint, from the agent at Interpol who’s been hunting him down.
After graduating from some sort of weird religious school and being sent out into the world to give it his best shot – literally – 47 is handed an assignment in Russia to go sort out a presidential assassination, homicidal body doubles, and a fetching Moscow sex slave in distress named Nika (Olga Kurylenko), the property of a local baddie, whom he invites to tag along from inside his car trunk, don’t ask. Then there’s the question of that secret society telltale bar code on the back of the brainwashed skinhead’s skull. How secret could it be if he’s flaunting it in public for his various adversaries to see?
In any case, 47 finds himself caught between a Russian president with a contract on his head because he’s too moderate, a corporate operative customer who sets 47 up and wants him dead, and the suspect sex slave in heat with a provocative tattoo on her cheek – no, not that one – who craves the sexually shut down hitman’s body bad, but has to settle for a platonic relationship for the time being. Let’s just say that 47 has a few nifty tricks up his sleeve to extricate himself from the most compromising situations, like keeping your Uzi’s on ice until the moment is right.
Hitman is fairly standard espionage fare, with some slick showmanship thrown in. As when a gaggle of top drawer professional assassins find themselves in a faceoff on an abandoned subway train, and decide to fight to the finish with dignity by dropping their machine guns and drawing swords instead. And guess who’s the last man standing. Familiar territory with a fresh coat of paint.
20th Century Fox
2 1/2 stars