Hitman Unrated
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2008-03-18 DVD Movie M (Mature) 20th Century Fox

I like my game-based movies. Well, not all, but most of them. Mortal Kombat, Doom, Dead or Alive (and I don't even like the games), Resident Evil, and yeah, I even liked Street Fighter in an odd kind of way.

I haven't actually reviewed any of them, but recently my husband brought home Hitman Unrated and shortly after watching it, I was already typing some notes to write this article. So here it is, my first "movies for gamers" review.

While the Hitman games never got my undivided attention, I'm happy to report that the movie certainly did. I was expecting tons of action, lots of bullets flying and very little plot. I still got the action and the bullets, but the plot is what really surprised me, since that's what the games are lacking.

Hitman begins with some scenes of how the agents are trained: young boys have their heads shaved and tattooed, they only ID being the barcode on the back of their skulls. They are taken through a series of training, from martial arts to weapon combat.

Fast forward to Russia, modern days. President Belicoff is sniped from afar with a single headshot that kills him instantly. Or so it seems, since shortly after, the media report him as alive and well. Agent 47 is then told that there is a witness who can identify him as the sniper and must be killed, but that turns out not to be exactly true either.

The movie follows Agent 47's actions trying to uncover what's behind the fake assassination (or was it?), who is trying to frame him and trying to keep Nika - the supposed witness and potential romantic interest - alive. The conspiracy theory and the few plot twists really made it all worthwhile, although a few scenes near the ending were quite predictable.

Timothy Olyphant (Deadwood, Live Free or Die Hard) is great as Agent 47. He comes across as a cold-blooded and calculated killer, although there are moments where he seems much more human than his videogame counterpart, with certain facial expressions and even a few smiles.

The action is fantastic, and the shoot-outs reminded me a lot of Equilibrium, little dances of precision with no wasted movements. The blood spatter made me smile, and there was a particular sword fighting scene in a train that I really liked, plus an interesting and creative torture scene. I loved the use of technology, drugs and tranquilizers, different weapons and explosives, and I'm sure every fan of the games would kill (no pun intended) to get their hands on one of the suitcases Agent 47 carries all those goodies in.

If this sounds like something you're planning to add to your DVD library, the two-disc special edition is probably your best buy. This version comes with a bunch of extra features (gag reel, special features and alternate ending) plus a digital copy that you can transfer to any portable media player.

Aside from the fact that I was left wanting to know more about his past, his origins and why there seemed to be clergymen running the training facilities, Hitman didn't disappoint me one bit.