Agent 47 is a dis­ap­point­ment

Rutherglen Reformer - - The Ticket -

Su­per Mario Bros., Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Mor­tal Kom­bat, Silent Hill; it’s fair to say that big screen adap­ta­tions of video games have en­dured a more dif­fi­cult past than the an­tag­o­nist in your av­er­age slasher flick.

Far­ing no bet­ter than the afore­men­tioned ef­forts, 2007’s Hitman was an in­stantly for­get­table ac­tioner bogged down with dodgy di­a­logue and patchy plot.

Part-se­quel, part-re­boot Agent 47 sees Ox­ford-born Ru­pert Friend re­place Ti­mothy Olyphant as the ge­net­i­cally-en­gi­neered as­sas­sin, this time tar­get­ing a mega­cor­po­ra­tion plan­ning to un­lock the se­crets of his past.

But those hop­ing for a step-up in qual­ity – both for the bald-headed killing ma­chine and the genre it­self – will be as dis­ap­pointed as an ex­cited child who opens their first present on Christ­mas Day to dis­cover a pair of socks in­side.

Pol­ish di­rec­tor Alek­sander Bach has lit­er­ally noth­ing else on his CV – and af­ter this largely mis­er­able mess, it’s hard to see it ex­pand­ing much go­ing for­ward.

Skip Woods (Hitman, A Good Day to Die Hard) and Michael Finch (Preda­tors) try their best to fur­nish Agent 47 with some story to chew on, but it’s so bonkers and lack­ing in imag­i­na­tion that Friend is left to plod along from set piece to set piece with no sense of di­rec­tion – iron­i­cally, al­most like a com­puter game char­ac­ter with some­one as rub­bish at them as me at the con­troller.

It’s a pity be­cause the Home­land star does a de­cent job in the lead role; he’s cer­tainly a greater pres­ence than pre­de­ces­sor Olyphant and cracks plenty of bones while look­ing good wield­ing two guns.

Zachary Quinto ( John Smith) lends de­cent sup­port too, de­spite his un­even char­ac­ter mak­ing lots of bone-headed de­ci­sions along the way.

The rest of the cast – in­clud­ing pre­vi­ous video game adap­ta­tion ‘thes­pi­ans’ Ciarán Hinds (Litvenko) and Thomas Kretschmann (Le Clerq) – come and go mak­ing less of an im­pres­sion than Ge­orge Clooney’s ‘wing man’, in­clud­ing Han­nah Ware (Ka­tia) who, de­spite the trailer hint­ing at big­ger and bet­ter things, is lit­tle more than a dam­sel in dis­tress.

Bach films a cou­ple of pass­able set pieces that turn Agent 47 into a Ter­mi­na­tor-style in­de­struc­tible force, but ev­ery ex­citable gasp the au­di­ence may muster is likely to be fol­lowed up with a ques­tion – eg, how does the as­sas­sin get on a com­mer­cial flight with a bag of weapons for a trav­el­ling com­pan­ion?

Also, I’m not one to nor­mally moan about, or get that both­ered by, prod­uct place­ment but it’s so bla­tant here that you’re half ex­pect­ing Friend to turn to the cam­era and serve up a glis­ten­ing smile while hold­ing a tube of tooth­paste.

De­riv­a­tive and deathly dis­ap­point­ing, Agent 47 is another nail in the joy­stick for the genre.

Gun­ning for ac­tion Friend is in trig­ger-happy form

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