NOW THAT COMIC BOOK MOVIES have conquered the world, can video game adaptations follow the same path? Well, not yet, no. Despite a few promising moments of splattery clarity, Hitman: Agent 47 displays little of the vicarious imagination that keeps gamers glued to the couch. Taking a second swing at the source material (after 2007's attempt, a knowingly Eurotrashy Timothy Olyphant vehicle), Agent 47 fails to distinguish itself from pretty much every other B-picture featuring skinny ties, copious bullet-time, and guns in every available hand. For a movie based on a game that prides itself on offering multiple paths to an objective, it sure does rely on the tattered old John Woo playbook.
Making absolutely no mention of the previous installment, the story follows a bald, barcoded super assassin (the rather lumpily skulled Rupert Friend) tasked with hunting down a beautiful fugitive (Hannah Ware) with ill-defined... psychic powers? I think she has psychic powers. As the two lay waste to scenic locals around the world, a third heavily armed party (Zachary Quinto, sporting some amazing Teflon hair) gets thrown into the mix. Everything ends in a blindingly white office building, as these things often do.
There are a few undeniably good ones here—particularly during an amusingly grody sequence in a warehouse where seemingly every fixture and wall stud can be used as a lethal object. (Bonus points for the jet turbine.) Unfortunately, first-time director Aleksander Bach displays a frustratingly heavy hand on the editing board, fouling up too many set pieces with too much slow-motion and too many cutaways. When your movie is about a guy who can take out an entire room of thugs without breaking stride, it sure would be nice to actually see it.