Though adaptations of comic books and novels currently dominate the movie landscape, adapting video games for the big screen has proven difficult to do successfully. That hasn’t stopped producers from trying, determined to turn billion-dollar video game franchises into the next box office cash cow. Unfortunately, the existing adaptations have consistently been disappointing, if not downright awful.
20th Century Fox is next up at bat, releasing Hitman: Agent 47 later this year. The film is based on the Hitman game series, currently owned by Japanese developer/publisher Square Enix. The property was previously adapted in the 2007 movie Hitman, starring Timothy Olyphant, and while it achieved moderate financial success, it was almost universally panned by critics. The planned sequel was eventually scrapped, paving the way for this reboot.
Fox has released a new TV spot for the upcoming film, focusing exclusively on Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) and his talent for ‘closing contracts.’ The short trailer is mostly footage from the previous trailers, recut to put the focus on the titular character. The trailer offers a brief glimpse of Zachary Quinto (Star Trek) as the villainous John Smith, but co-star Hannah Ware is nowhere to be seen.
The footage shown is sleek and showcases the over-the-top action to be expected in the film. Hitman: Agent 47 is the feature film debut of director Aleksander Bach, whose directing experience largely consists of making music videos. In many ways, this TV spot feels like it’s taken directly from a music video, focusing on the flashy moments rather than keeping the film grounded. The CGI-heavy action sequences bring video games to mind, though sacrificing realism for style might not benefit the film overall.
Hitman: Agent 47 tells the story of an elite assassin, identified solely by a barcode on the back of his neck. He is the 47th subject of a cloning experiment dedicated to crafting the perfect killer, granting him enhanced speed and strength. He eventually teams up with Katia van Dees (Ware) to take down the mega-corporation that is attempting to use the secrets of his past to create an army of super-powered soldiers.
Co-written by Michael Finch (Predators) and Skip Woods (Hitman, Sabotage), the film seems to take key ideas from the original game without limiting itself strictly to the existing storyline. Fans of the game series will be happy to note the nods to the game mechanics, specifically the use of multiple costumes shown in the TV spot.
All in all, it seems like pretty standard fare for a B-level action movie. Nothing in the footage shown so far indicates further aspirations, seeming to underscore its intentions through extremely generic trailers. Admittedly, there could be much more under the film’s flashy exterior, though I wouldn’t bet on it. Fans waiting for a video game adaptation that takes the source material seriously might be better off waiting to see what happens with the upcoming Assassin’s Creed film.
Hitman: Agent 47 opens in U.S. theaters on August 21st, 2015.
Source: 2oth Century Fox