47 is both the last two digits of the barcode tattooed on the nape of his neck, and his only name. The hunter becomes the hunted when 47 gets caught up in a political takeover. Both Interpol and the Russian military chase the Hitman across Eastern Europe as he tries to find out who set him up and why they're trying to take him out of the game. But the greatest threat to 47's survival may be the stirrings of his conscience and the unfamiliar emotions aroused in him by a beautiful, damaged girl...
With a budget rumoured to be around the $US25 million mark we are very pleased to report this is every bit the action movie one would expect to see being based on one of the movie violent video game franchises of all time. Indeed the movies worldwide take of just under $US100 million makes it a pretty profitable movie for Fox, and home video sales will only add to that title. As a movie director Xavier Gens (who is pretty much a newcomer besides some Second Unit Directing on Maximum Risk and Double Team) has done an admirable job of transferring the universe and feel of the games into this movie and credit should also be given to writer Skip Woods who also wrote Swordfish some years ago.
So how well does it adhere to the video games? Well pretty good actually. Many of the major sequences in the movie can be tracked back to various missions in the four games released to date. From a brilliant sniper-based opening, to an over-the-top gunfight with an arms dealer, to taking out a Russian SWAT team, this movie has it all. Small touches are included - yes, the strangulation wire makes an appearance! - while even some of the moves are taken from the games. Having said that there wasn't quite as much 'stealth' as we expected, and as you see in the games, and there wasn't as much 'costume changing' to blend in either, although the black suit, white shirt and red tie are very apparent. All-in-all gamers won't be disappointed by this effort.
There were some scenes however which I found were awkward. The scenes in the car between Agent 47 and Nika include dialogue about a vinyard, but it just seems so forced. Sure, Agent 47 is mean to be a hard-ass when it comes to interaction with the females, but it actually becomes a bit distracting in these scenes. Having said that there were some classic scenes too. There was quite a bit of laughter when Agent 47 stops Nika coming onto him rather abruptly when he has another job to get to. I won't spoil it, but it is quite possibly the best way to stop a woman lusting after you that I have ever seen! In another scene Agent 47 busts in on a room with two kids playing video games, and which game do you think it is?
Much comment is made about the similarities between Hitman and the Bourne trilogy of films. Yes they are similar, but they're not the same. Agent 47 isn't a womanising pretty-boy, he has a job to do - at any cost. The Hitman movie is also much more brutal then the Bourne movies and the motivations of each character are quite different. Would you say that Mission Impossible is the same as Get Smart as they're both spy type pictures? No. So don't try it here either.
Make no mistakes this is what can only be described as a 'popcorn' action flick. Yes, it is pretty violent but all who saw Hitman with me on Blu-Ray for this review (three guys, three girls) all enjoyed it immensely despite the fact that I was the only one who had played the games extensively. Certainly an entertaining action movie.
Encoded in the films original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 in 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec Hitman really does look impressive. Being such a recent movie it's not surprising to discover that the source was absolutely pristine with not a fleck or moment of dirt on the print. There were some moments where grain was evident, particularly in some of the darker scenes, but it is infrequent and for the most part the film has a polished sheen to it which really demonstrates the benefits of high-definition video presentation.
If you really want to see something special check out the opening assassination of the President between 12:25 and 13:33. The detail in the crowds, background buildings and even the zooming shot up to Agent 47 can't fail to impress.
There are a couple of other tracks on this disc including English Descriptive Dolby Digital 5.1 audio at 448kbps, as well as French and German DTS 5.1 tracks, both encoded at 768kbps and providing impressive experiences almost equal to that of the main Englsih DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Subtitles are provided in nine different languages including English for the Hearing Impaired, but no plain English track.
In the Crosshairs (24:18/HD): This feature is the typical 'making of' featurette with plenty of interviews with cast and crew. Better then your average press kit this featurette actually looks at quite a bit of production detail including the cast, filming, and remaining faithful to the games. Presented in HD with 224kbps 2 Channel Dolby Digital Audio.
Hitman: Digital Hits (10:36/HD): A great little featurette that looks at the games upon which this movie is based. It's surprising that more game based movies don't include such a featurette which, while a bit too brief actually gives people unfamiliar with the games a look into them.
Instruments of Destruction (14:26/HD): With so many weapons used in the movie this featurette looks at the numerous guns used throughout the movie including test firing, and safety on set. Quite an interesting documentary.
Deleted Scenes (7:57/HD): A series of deleted/alternate/extended scenes which didn't make it into the final movie. THese include an alternate shootout at an outdoor train station rather then in the subway, and a quite different ending sequence. Sadly there is no optional audio commentary to detail why these were cut. We could probably point to the usual 'pacing' issues on most of them.
Gag Reel (4:53/HD): A series of fluffed lines, gags and mucking around on set. Some is amusing, but nothing really outstanding.
Hitman Trailer (1:50/HD): Quite an eye-catching trailer for the movie.
I, Robot Trailer (2:26/HD): A trailer for the hit Will Smith movie which is on Blu-Ray.
Review By: Dave Warner