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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, July 31, 2014 - Edition No 908 

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HITMAN

SYNOPSIS:
When the genetically engineered elite assassin, Agent 47 (Timothy Olyphant), is ensnared in a political conspiracy with the planned assassination of newly elected Russian President, Mikhail Belicoff (Ulrich Thomsen), it sets Interpol agent Mike Whittier (Dougray Scott) on his trail. The Russian secret service guards its turf, but not even the combined forces of the CIA, Interpol and the Russians can prevent Agent 47 from his mission. And nor can Nika Boronina (Olga Kurylenko), the beautiful but troubled sex slave he rescues from the Russian political underworld.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Fans of the video game on which this film is based may get a kick out of the cinematic treatment, but even these low level kicks will be tempered by the film's failure to articulate its main plot points or to create characters we care about. Timothy Oliphant does his best to play a humanised robotic assassin, who we first meet as a youngster, head shaved and going through ritualistic training at what appears to be a monastic sort of secret institution. There are many others like him ...all with bar codes tattooed onto the back of their shaved heads. The bar code gimmick might work as a hip aside in a video game, but without any seeming use, here it's just a silly affectation.

Short on logic and long on bravura but incomplete ideas, the film aims for a sense of style with borrowed trappings, such as the over-used text typing metallically onto the screen. Likewise the score, adding to the sense that we have seen this film in other guises and with minor modifications, many times before.

For all that, Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko and Ulrich Thomsen in particular deliver terrific performances and make the film's otherwise frustrating aspects bearable. Production design is stylish and robust, and cinematography efficient.

The elements the film tries to rely on for some weight and meaning - Agent 47's stirrings of conscience and a specific affection for the young woman - are not well presented, but the action scenes are engaging - as are the many East European locations, like Istanbul, Moscow and St Petersburg.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

HITMAN (MA)
(France/US, 2007)

CAST: Timothy Olyphant, Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko, Robert Knepper, Ulrich Thomsen, Henry Ian Cusick, Michael Offei, Christian Erickson, Eric Ebouaney, Joe Sheridan, James Faulkner

PRODUCER: Adrian Askarieh, Lec Besson, Chuck Gordon, Pierre-Ange Le Pogam

DIRECTOR: Xavier Gens

SCRIPT: Skip Woods

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Laurent Barét

EDITOR: Carlo Rizzo, Antoine Vareille

MUSIC: Geoff Zanelli

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jacques Bufnoir

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 6, 2007







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