In honor of the absolutely stellar “Free Guy” that hit theaters, I figured I would tackle another low-rated video game adaption. This one ISN’T directed by Uwe Bol. Shocking, I know. I was actually pretty surprised that “Agent 47” made the list. Not because I would consider it a good movie, but considering the horrible company it keeps, it doesn’t quite fit the standard of absolutely unwatchable.
Don’t get me wrong, “Agent 47” isn’t a good movie by any stretch even by the low bar of video game adaptions already in existence, but at the very least it qualifies as easily consumable white noise. Most of the films that make this list can’t even do that, so this already has a leg up on some of these other ones. “Agent 47” is more forgettable than terrible, packed with some pretty decent stylized action and some weird narrative choices that leave your mind even as you’re watching it unfold.
Based on the acclaimed video game series “Hitman,” 2015’s “Agent 47” acts as a sequel/reboot of 2007’s “Hitman” film. The story is loosely based on the first game, and providing a synopsis would be futile seeing as how the film is pretty unconcerned with how much sense (if any) it all makes. The first hour is like a “Terminator” knock off, and abandons that model for “The Professional.” Then it transitions into the typical “big bad guy in a big bad room trying to create bigger and badder super soldiers” with a dash of “oh hey by the way you’re all family and the girl is the key all along” and a sprinkle of “everything’s cool if everyone’s a super soldier!”
The film’s plot is a disaster, making very little sense as it unfolds and even less sense if you think about it too hard. Newcomer director Alexsander Bach (who, surprise surprise came from directing music videos) seems to be unconcerned with telling a cohesive story and primarily focused on sleek video game action.
“Agent 47” is a strange blend of really bad special effects mixed with some solid derivative hand to hand combat. There’s some gun-fu ripped straight from “Equilibrium,” and some hand to hand combat straight out of “John Wick.” It doesn’t really do any of the well, certainly feeling like a budget knock off rather than allow those elements to inspire new ones. Because it never fully grabs your attention but isn’t so bad you can’t believe someone spent money on it, “Agent 47” rides the middle of just about every single road you can in a video game adaption. It’s not as bad as it could be but not memorable enough to really care about the things that stand out, both good and bad. It never really strikes the right balance between fan service and generic action, switching aimlessly back and forth between trying to capture elements of the game while also making an independent, cliche action film.
I won’t lie, this movie is a mess.
Nothing really works here, as the script by Skip Woods (who’s track record includes the unwatchable “Sabotage” and the somehow worse “A Good Day to Die Hard“) doesn’t do anyone any favors as far character or motivation and is riddled with cliches done poorly. In addition, Bach doesn’t really know how to bring any of it to life in a meaningful way, thus failing to excite anyone who may be a fan of the game franchise and certainly not gaining any new ones who want to invest in a new action series. Even if you want to like and invest in “Agent 47” it’s so meandering in its purpose that you continuously find yourself tuning in and out as it plays out. The film commits all of the mistakes of countless films that have made this Rated 10% or Less list, and by all accounts it should be deserving of it’s current 8% rating. This is a bit of a downgrade from 2007’s “Hitman,” who was probably saved by the much more charismatic and interesting Timothy Olyphant than the actual film (which really isn’t that much better narratively).
Despite all of this, “Agent 47” made $82 million on a $35 million budget, making it a profitable endeavor even after being critically panned. The thing is, while the result isn’t good by any standards of film making, I really didn’t hate anything about it. I don’t know that I would watch again. It’s so forgettable, I probably could, and it would feel like I’m watching it for the first time (seriously, it’s THAT forgettable). Yes, it’s a narrative disaster and poor man’s version of many other, better films, but I still don’t think it deserves such a low rating. Maybe it’s just because I’ve seen so many films that a so much worse and they’ve finally broken my critical spirit. Or maybe it’s because “Agent 47” really isn’t as bad as it should be. There’s some decent deaths, some ok action sequences, and though not everything holds up it looks much better than most of the other films that squander their budget on things that don’t matter.
“Agent 47” is at best, just ok, but it isn’t an unmitigated disaster and doesn’t fully deserve it’s very low 8% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I can’t say that it’s worth fixing, but it’s JUST ok enough to be watchable, which is more than I can say for many, MANY other films that I’ve reviewed in this series so far.
I guess “not being bad enough” is good enough for “Hitman: Agent 47” to escape the ire of the pen this time.
Rating: Does NOT Deserve It
Its streaming on Amazon Prime.