Agent 47 is a disappointment
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