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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » December 19, 2007
Film review
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December 19, 2007 By Witold ¯ygulski   
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You wouldn't think that a big screen adaptation of a popular "shoot 'em up" video game was anything to rave about. But Hitman, the Hollywood debut of French director Xavier Gens, actually made it to number two at the American box office, demonstrating that you cannot aim too low when it comes to the sophistication of the public. The tired old formula of an action-packed plot that pits a pretty boy actor against any number of armed and dangerous adversaries works every time. And let's not forget the witty repartee. Here's a little taste that will no doubt leave you hungry for more.

Intrepid heroine: "What color underwear am I wearing?"

Intrepid hero: "You're not wearing any underwear."

Timothy Olyphant finally muscled his way into Hollywood's major league playing über-terrorist Thomas Gabriel in Live Free or Die Hard, the fourth movie to feature kick ass cop John MacClane. Pushing 40, Olyphant desperately needed a leading role to capitalize on his newfound fame. He could have done a lot worse than Hitman.

Agent 47 is an enigmatic hitman with a shaven head and the personality of an android. He has been trained by an equally mysterious organization which hands him an assignment that we all know is beyond him. Our hitman is the fall guy in a political conspiracy. He soon finds himself on the top of the most wanted lists of Interpol, represented by Mike Whittier (Dougray Scott-Mission: Impossible II), and the Russian secret services. The movie's 100 minutes are almost entirely taken up with Agent 47 fighting off or dodging any number of attacks from legions of pursuers armed with every imaginable lethal weapon. Unbelievably, Agent 47 comes through without a scratch, finds out who set him up and manages to save the obligatory damsel in distress, a stereotypical hooker with a heart of gold. The threadbare plot is painfully predictable and like the video game that inspired it, is little more than an excuse to show off our hero's fighting prowess.

As with all Hollywood productions set in former communist countries, Hitman is full of nonsense like preposterous last names, ignorance about languages and geographical "novelties." Bulgaria filled in for Russia without even having its street signs changed. Russian Federal Security Service agents have the letters FSB emblazoned on their uniforms, even though the first two don't exist in the Cyrillic alphabet and the third is equivalent to a Latin "V." The filmmakers obviously haven't upgraded their education since the Soviet Union was extant. Georgia disappears to give Russia a border with Turkey and so on. But the action is what counts and moviegoers seem happy enough to suspend all disbelief.
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