- Posted by Giaco Furino
- On August 21, 2015
- 0 Comments
- agent 47
It’s been a summer of highs and lows, for sure. I’ve reviewed great movies like Mad Max: Fury Road and boring, just so-so movies like Tomorrowland (have you forgotten about that one already? I almost did). Hitman: Agent 47, a reboot of a film franchise that’s a video game adaptation, is getting slaughtered by critics. I saw it last night. It’s not a good movie. But *dissenting opinion alert* I think it might actually be brilliant! Hitman: Agent 47 is deeply flawed, but it’s the most fun I had at the movies this summer since Mad Max.
I’ll start with the bad. In the opening credits, we get a detailed voice over explaining the plot. A scientist created a series of genetically engineered assassins named “Agents”. The scientist went missing. The scientist’s daughter is looking for him. Agent 47 is an agent from the program, and teams up with her to track down her father. Simple plot, right? You wouldn’t think it with the sheer volume of exposition we get, driving the same few points home again and again.
The dialogue is insane. Listen to Zachary Quinto’s character explaining to Hannah Ware’s character the set-up to the movie: “Look I know this is gonna sound strange because it is. He’s an engineered human being. Stronger. Faster. More intelligent than normal people. They’re called agents.” This is pulled from the trailer, and I thought it was just a little fluff dialogue used in the trailer to get us up to speed on the movie. A lot of times lines like this won’t make it into the movie. Not the case here! And it’s about the third time we’ve heard about the agents and what they are/can do.
The acting, for the most part, is pretty rough. Zachary Quinto plays a guy who can go toe to toe with an agent, and it feels like he’s been directed to “act like a cross between a mannequin and a Martian.” Hannah Ware plays the co-lead of the movie, and only settles into her character in the middle of the second act. Rupert Friend though? He’s amazing as Agent 47. There’s something about his voice, his mannerisms… I feel like he put a lot of work into this role.
The action is exciting and surprisingly gruesome. But it’s often shot in dizzying spinning angles, with flashing strobe lights, upside down, or a combination of all three. This is a testament to the director’s previous work in commercials. Everything is pretty, everything moves fast, and everything has it’s place on the screen… then he spins the screen around and around until you want to puke!
Okay, enough of the bad. That’s not why you’re still reading, you’re reading to hear why I loved this movie that, at the time of this writing, has an 8% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m going to quote directly from my hastily scribbled notes to show you how my thoughts progressed with this movie. “10:45pm – Info Dump. 11:00pm – Getting dizzy watching him shoot everyone. 11:05pm – Gun Porn. 11:15pm – God this dialogue is sh**ty. 11:30pm – Wait… Do I actually like this movie? 11:38pm – Wait do I actually love this movie!?!?” I started out criticizing, but the movie invites you to give in to it as it progresses. It’s like the movie is saying “Sure, I suck. So what? Get past it and have fun!”
What makes Hitman: Agent 47 so good is that it tries so hard. Though the movie is deeply flawed, I never got that sense that the filmmaker was lazy. The screenwriters were lazy, sure, and first-time director Aleksander Bach may be in over his head with this one, but he seems to care deeply about this movie. I hope he brings us Agent 48 and Agent 49. I hope making Hitman movies becomes his life’s work. Because he’s created something oddly beautiful here. He’s created an action-packed, spirited, non-conventional pulse-pounder that doesn’t really care if it gets your pulse pounding or not.
A lot of this movie is geared toward an overseas, Asian market. Plenty of the action takes place in Singapore, and an ominous (rarely seen) character named Diana is played by Hong Kong movie star Angelababy. Like The Dark Knight taking a brief detour to Asia in the middle of its second act, this movie feels like it’s hedging its bets by placing the climax in Singapore. And you know what? I hope it crushes over there. I hope this is the biggest opening in a long time. Why the hell not!?
The dialogue is delivered by actors who know they’re delivering ridiculous dialogue. And because of that, there are some truly hilarious moments. When Quinto starts blabbing on about genetic modification. When Angelababy barks an order into a cell phone and slaps it shut. When Hannah Ware asks things like “Is that why I’m always scared?” These moments elevate the movie into near-camp.
This isn’t a good movie, don’t let my gushing for it confuse you. This is a really bad movie. But, because of (and in spite of) that, it ended up becoming a great movie. A cult classic. People should be watching this in five years at midnight screenings. People should memorize every ham-fisted line of dialogue. We should treat this movie not unlike The Room. It’s almost that weird, and accidental, and earnest.
I’m saying it right here, right now: I loved Hitman: Agent 47. For all intents and purposes, this movie is outsider art, and should be seen and enjoyed as such.