Friday, December 07, 2007

Mike and Dave Go to Hitman

Hitman didn't even make my list of November movies I wanted to see (which reminds me that I haven't done the December list yet), but in the absence of anything else really grabbing us, my brother-in-law Dave and I went to check it out last night.

It just now occurs to me that I want to also see Awake, but I'd forgotten about it last night. Awake is a bad, non-descript title. If they'd called it That Movie Where Hayden Christensen is Under Anesthesia but Can Still Tell People are Trying to Kill Him, I would've remembered what it was and that I wanted to see it. C'mon; get with it, Hollywood.

But I'm actually glad that I forgot that one and that we went to Hitman. Really glad.

My original dismissal of Hitman was based on its looking like it was trying too hard to be stylish. The trailer was all water running over bald heads and slow-motion action sequences set to "Ave Maria." Surely, I thought, they were covering for the fact that they had no plot. Or that the plot they did have was stupid. With movies based on video games, I think I was probably betting with the odds there.

I was totally wrong though, and I haven't had that much fun at an action movie since XXX. I'm not going to spoil anything about the plot, but it was just complicated enough to keep you guessing and surprise you a couple of times without being convoluted. Dave pointed out a couple of holes to me afterwards, but I'd only noticed one of them as I was watching the movie. And even after having them pointed out to me, I was able to explain most of them away, "No Prize" style. So, yeah, the plot could've been a bit tighter in a couple of places, but they weren't huge deals. One possible hole Dave mentioned might not actually even be one. We agreed that we'd need to rewatch the movie to be sure, and it says something that I'm totally excited about that prospect.

It is a stylish movie to be sure. It's positively silky in how smooth and shiny everything is, including our hero Agent 47. He's no James Bond, this guy, and I don't want him to be. Somehow Bond got a reputation for being slick, but as Casino Royale showed, he shouldn't be. Agent 47 though is a whole other story. Make no mistake: he's a complete badass and the action sequences (mostly gunfights, with a couple of hand-to-hand and sword fights mixed in) are all awesome. But he looks so damn pretty with his gentle eyes and baby-face. (That sounds like I'm in love with him, and I sort of am.) I wasn't that familiar with Timothy Olyphant, but he kept reminding me of Robert Sean Leonard. Not the first person you think of for an action hero.

And that's what I loved about him. He's nasty tough, but the juxtaposition between that and the implied vulnerability of his soft looks made him a unique, fascinating character. Seriously, I want to see twelve more Hitman films.

But they also need to star Olga Kurylenko, who's talented enough to pull off the complicated role she's playing. Nika could've easily been written as just another Hooker with a Heart of Gold, but there's a lot more to her than that and Kurylenko makes her a desperately tragic person. It also helps that her relationship with Agent 47 breaks the typical action-movie conventions about how these things are supposed to go. And it also also helps that her legs are longer than the Alaska pipeline. Holy crap.


Anonymous said...

I really liked this one too. Olyphant would not have been my first choice, but he won me over. I like that his 47 had a slightly strange quality about him.

Surprisingly, this film appears to be getting a lot of hate from Hitman fans. One of the major changes they're pissed about (and I don't think it's really a spoiler to reveal this) is that the videogame 47 is actually a clone. This led to a convoluted Hitman 2 storyline that I still haven't sorted out. LOL

Many also feel that the movie wasn't realistic enough. But I'm not really sure how realistic a bald hitman with a barcode on his head is going to get. Wouldn't this be the one person you *would* remember leaving the scene of a killing?

Michael May said...

Yeah, "realism" wasn't really something I'm overly looking for in this kind of movie. That said though, Hitman isn't anywhere near being a cartoon. It's a fantasy, but it's a well-grounded fantasy, if that makes sense.

I never played the video game, so I can't talk to that except that I would've been really disappointed if 47 had turned out to be a clone. He's a unique character and it would've ruined that aspect of him.


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