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Blu-ray Review: Hitman

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Translating the stealthy video game into movie form, Hitman falls apart in this format. The story is cramped, moves too quickly, and the action feels out of place. It becomes a generic action thriller that had a chance to stand out, and instead goes for the explosions.

Timothy Olyphant was great as the head villain in Live Free or Die Hard, but cast as the nameless Agent 47, his line delivery is painful. He carries little of the style or actions of the popular video game character, though this has more to do with a script that doesn’t allow for it than his own talents. He looks the part, though it’s not played properly, pun intended.

The overly convoluted story involves a hit on a Russian politician. The set-up and explanation go by at blazing speeds, and while it’s not hard to pick up on, the film would have greatly benefited from some clarification. Agent 47’s own creation as a clone is plastered behind the opening credits, leaving the audience to piece together the rest later.

Action sequences include over the top violence simply for the sake of violence. A sword fight has little logic behind it, although it is entertaining. Shoot-outs feel pulled out of an ‘80s action movie. Explosions occur simply because they can.

A few stealthy kills bring the game’s style into the film properly, not to mention its original intent. A beautiful shot of 47 on a rooftop in front of red neon lights is simply flawless. Sadly, the shootouts are replacements for the ingenuity of the kills from the games. While in many cases a translation wouldn’t work, the close range unique deaths are perfect film material and work in the true sense of an assassin. Agent 47 becomes Rambo in this movie.

Hitman is also sloppy in spots. There are obvious dialogue sync issues that ruin some key scenes. The final shot of 47 on a roof top is a terrible green screen effect. It’s almost an appropriate cap on a lackluster, dull, and rather pointless film translation of the game.

Sharp and detailed, the film makes a nice fit for an HD presentation. Detail is maintained in close-ups perfectly. Long shots are likewise impressive, particularly fly-bys. Colors are bold and vibrant. Black levels maintain themselves throughout. Some aggravating background noise does cause a few scenes to go off course, though it’s only a slight deterrent.

The DTS Master mix included here is wonderful… if you’re willing to sacrifice your family and neighbors to your audio equipment. This is a pounding, overdone, loud presentation. Bass is set ridiculously high, drowning out other audio in the process. Action scenes seem primed to make viewers jump out of their seats when they begin, but this isn’t effective mixing. The surrounds do a fine job of creating a realistic sound field when you can hear them. Debris and bullets fly around believably. Quieter scenes provide a small amount of atmosphere.

In the Cross Hairs sets up the extra features. This is a standard making of running 24 minutes. It’s worth noting that through almost all of the extras, the thick accents can be almost impossible to make out, especially director Xavier Gens.

Digital Hits is a solid look at the video game series, with interviews from the creators and game industry veterans. Instruments of Destruction is a collection of brief snippets discussing all of the weapons used in the film. In total, they run for 14 minutes. Settling the Score is a short look at the music. Five deleted scenes include an alternate ending with some merit, a gag reel provides some small laughs, and a group of trailers marks the final selection in the menu.

Inside the Blu-ray case comes a secondary extra if you will, and makes for the first of its kind. The DVD included is meant to be ripped to any portable media device. This is a nice touch even if it’s a desperate attempt to shave off some of the piracy out there.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.