Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Hitman: Agent 47 ... Daddy issues

ON the surface of it, director Aleksander Bach's Hitman: Agent 47 is about people having the right to determine who they want to be, even though they've been programmed to be killers devoid of emotions.
  Go a little deeper and you'll discover that it's actually about a pretty brunette's daddy issues, more specifically, her desire to find out why he abandoned her when she was 6.


   Rupert Friend (TV's Homeland), now sporting a bar code embossed in the back of shaved head, plays the aforementioned 47, an assassin with great shooting and hand-combat skills a la Jason Bourne. He comes from a long-line of assassins, with each increasing number better than the previous one.
  His handler Diana (Hong Kong's Angelababy) orders him to help multilinguist Katia (Hannah Ware) find her father, Litvenko (Ciarán Hinds), one of the geneticists who founded the agent programme.
   Katia's in Berlin scouring through old records to find her daddy; her mum's dead. She stays in a one-room apartment whose walls are plastered with charts and papers with info on her father.
  She gets help from another agent called John Smith (Zachary Quinto), who at first displays altruism in wanting to help her find her dad.
    However, he's actually working for Antoine Le Clerq (Thomas Kretschmann), the head of a Singapore-based organisation called Syndicate International that needs Litvenko's knowledge to create an army of super assassins.
  So you'll see 47 and Katia braving a gauntlet of hitmen, including John Smith, whose body is impervious to bullets, but the duo always have something up their sleeves.
  You see, Katia's dad bestowed on her special qualities that allow her to foresee or anticipate danger. She's also a mean shooter and easy on the eyes.
  Her beauty is enough to sway me, and her father says she's just like her mum in her looks and abilities.
  As with action films of this kind, the editing is of paramount importance. I take my hat off to Nicholas De Toth, who also edited X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. The parallel shooting, match cutting, point-of-view sequences and cut-aways are a joy to watch during the film's action scenes. He also intersperses many close-ups of people in the action scenes.
   47 and Katya make an unlikely partnership, and the latter quizzes him about his inability to choose his own fate, which is the film's central theme. She's certain that people do feel joy, regret and love, but the former nonchalantly says that it's better for someone like him not to feel emotions, especially regret.
  The film's trailer shows 47 escaping captivity, when handcuffed in an interrogation room at the US embassy, by getting a rifle to shoot a bullet at his handcuffs.
   How does he get a rifle to shoot a bullet on its own? But before that, you've got to wonder why a US embassy official put a bullet in the rifle and points it at 47. And watching 47 getting the rifle to fire off the bullet is really ludicrous.
   Another preposterous set-up takes place at Singapore's Gardens by the Bay, which features huge
Free publicity for clean Singapore.
concrete-shape trees with walkways connecting them.
   The syndicate's killers want to take out 47 and Katia, but they fail, naturally, because they left themselves so exposed on the walkways. Couldn't they have found a more discreet spot? Also, how did they find 47 and Katia?
  The killers and 47 and Katia create a such a commotion at the gardens, what with their car chase, too, but the cops in notoriously regimented and peaceful Singapore are nowhere to be seen.
   The film's family dynamics are more interesting, because it's Katia's trauma at being dumped when she was a kid that has haunted her and kept her going in finding her dad. We'll see what happened to her in flashbacks, and we'll also see the dad's sacrifice.
 
2½ out of 5 stars


 


 
 

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