*NEW* HITMAN: AGENT 47 REVIEW *NEW*

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Hit and miss.

The iconic video game assassin gets a second chance on the silver screen. BUT should they have even bothered?

An assassin (Rupert Friend) teams up with a woman (Hannah Ware) to help her find her father (Ciaran Hinds) and uncover the mysteries of her ancestry.

Unfortunately, it really does sound as dull as you think. There are only so many explosions and relentless CGI injected action sequences you can throw in to hide what was a tepid shoot em up.

After his stellar turn as Quinn in Homeland, Friend takes on the big screen and the iconic video game assassin. It’s fine to have the look but his stone cold pallor and dead pan delivery really did justice to the character. Shame, he didn’t have better lines.

The first twenty minutes zipped along with an ultra-brief but highly watchable overview of the hitman’s origins. Something that bugged me from the original feature. I don’t know why it would be such a problem to see the agent start out from the beginning.

Instead we had a disjointed and uninteresting back story involving one of his targets. Hannah Ware played the feisty Katiya well and was certainly a lot less irritating than Kurylenko in the original. BUT the more we delved into her past, the more plot holes there were. However by the end, I hardly had any interest left to care.

What didn’t help was that after a quick chat with some random and highly unmemorable character, Katiya would suddenly remember some completely unrelated event in the past that didn’t even involve her. It was either that or she would spout statistics like a pleb. It just didn’t work. It was a shame as Ware and Friend weren’t a bad pairing.

The fist fight and shoot em sequences were entertaining enough and subdued my griping when they arrived. BUT the car chases and finale were overlong and hampered by incredibly poor CGI. A sequence in which 47 tests Katiya’s abilities by strapping her to a jet engine (Yup. That sort of movie) was terrible. And the helicopter skyscraper showdown was just awful to look at.

It was just about watchable like its predecessor BUT seemed to suffer from virtually the same flaws. The dreadfully OTT score. The incredibly dark tone that took itself far too seriously for its own good.

It seemed to realise that after the hour marker and desperately tried to inject some much needed humour. There were a few one liners that lightened up all the brooding and endless staring intp space. In one scene, our bald bad ass is perusing a safe house location. Checking the closets.

“Looking for guns?”, asks the clueless Katiya.

Without a bat of an eye, our hero simply replies, “No. Moths. They’re attracted to the Italian wool”.

Unexpected BUT it got a guilty smile out of me. Pity, it was a case of too little, too late.

Ciaran Hinds was completely wasted in his role as Katiya’s father. He did his best with the hammy dialogue. BUT his character was so weak and cliched that he was fighting a losing battle from the get go.

Zachary Quinto played an incredibly bland villain. His double crossing was so predictable. You could time when he was going to strike. He only really got to unleash his inner Sylar in the closing minutes. Again, too little, too late.

The writers tried to pull off a Terminator vibe with 47’s machine like persona. He feels no pain, love and he will absolutely will not stop. Tragically, it didn’t quite come off but the nod to Leon was a nice little touch. Keeping his guns by his side as he slept.

I was impressed to see a few traits of the video games seep into this. The camera invasion stealth sequence reminded me so much of Hitman 2 (The only game of that franchise that I actually played and failed miserably at).

It was tough not to draw comparisons to the first feature. And that wasn’t perfect by any means. The only saving grace was Timothy Olyphant. Friend may have provided a different take but it felt like both actors’ interpretations were put in the wrong movies.

The far fetched stupidity of the plot made some of the sillier aspects of the video game franchise seem more believable. It is so wrong to actually steal the plots of the games and adapt them? Oh wait, no. That would make sense.

Third time’s the charm? Somehow I don’t think there will be. Another video game adaptation misfire to add to the pile.

Two stars. One for the two leads and one for the action sequences that did spike my interest.

2/5

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THE WATER DIVINER REVIEW

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A simply divine debut from Russell Crowe.

Engaging, heartfelt and definitely one of the better films I’ve seen.

So what’s it about, mate? An Australian man (Russell Crowe) travels to Turkey after the Battle of Gallipoli to try and locate his three missing sons.

Not the best title for a movie. And I could hear a few people asking, “Why is it called that?”

Russell Crowe plays Connor, a farmer who has a gift for finding water.

Through a series of flashbacks, we delve into his background as he fights the bureaucracy and red tape to find his three missing sons who never returned from the horrors of Gallipoli.

An impressive debut from a talented actor. I had high hopes and the film certainly delivered the majority of them.

The cinematography was fantastic. Not bad for a directing debut if you can get Andrew (Lord of The Rings) Lesnie on board.

The beaches of Gallipoli and the Turkish mosques were captured beautifully.

The pace was perfect. I was engrossed and switched on for the 112 minute length. All helped by a great cast, great acting and a good story.

Jai Courtney added a sincerity to the role of Lt Colonel Cyril Hughes. It made for a refreshing change from the endless hard man roles he seems to do these days. It was good to see him actually act. Even with a bad moustache.

Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace/Oblivion) was very good. I may have a little screen crush on her but she played the vulnerable widow well.

There was good chemistry between her and Crowe which made their inevitable pairing a little more endearing and watchable.

Dan Wyllie was very good as the snobby bureaucrat that was Captain Charles Brindley. Forever a thorn in Connor’s side.

An all too familiar and painfully accurate representation of the British influence on the Ottoman Empire.

His rant about the significance of a soldier’s death really hit home.

Yilmaz Erdogan was superb as Major Hassan. I don’t know how much of the film was dramatized BUT I couldn’t believe how this man still wanted to help Connor after his treatment by the ANZAC soldiers.

His answer; “He was the only father who came looking”. Remarkable.

I could feel my loyalties divided as we watch Hassan see his country being torn apart. The figures about the loss of life on both sides were shocking.

Cem Yilmaz and Erdogan also made a memorable pairing as the Turkish captives. It was great to see them as fully rounded characters and not just as one dimensional representations of “The Enemy”.

Dylan Georgiades managed to do something that not a lot of child actors do and that is to not annoy the hell out of me. A charming performance.

In between Crowe’s challenging ordeal to honour a promise, we follow Kurylenko as she must fight against the binds of reputation and family. Defiant to accept her husband’s death by the community and ignoring the advances of her polygamous brother-in-law to re-marry.

To be honest, I would have been happy to see Kurylenko’s subplot fleshed out a little more but it certainly got the point across.

The battle sequences were hardly groundbreaking but they still captured the brutality of it all and made for some heartbreaking viewing.

Russell Crowe was (to be expected) fantastic. A charismatic lead that delivers yet again.

However, it’s not all perfect.

Isabel Lucas’ (Transformers) character was a little unnecessary. Apart from being the local prostitute staying in the hotel, she didn’t do much else or contribute anything to the story. A wasted character if I’m honest.

The flashbacks were key and added to the story. However, I found the heavy use of CGI spoiled a riveting sequence in which Connor saves his boys from a sandstorm.

Luckily, the endearing relationship between Crowe and the boys managed to reprieve the terrible special effects.

There was also a scene in which a secret rendezvous at a Turkish bath with Connor, Cemal and Major Hassan came off unintentionally comical. The celebratory song and dance number was a little too cheesy for my liking.

Some may also argue that Connor’s sixth sense is a little hammy and farfetched. There isn’t any explanation into how Connor can find water or why he has the recurring dream sequences in which he can see his son alive.

It’s not that sort of film and sometimes you just have to believe and hope. A parental instinct is a bond in itself that goes beyond explanation. I didn’t let that spoil the film for me. If anything, it added an extra depth.

As the film came to a close, there were some revelations along the way. However, I don’t want to tell you too much about the story. Some moments were predictable but they still hit home and made for a teary eyed finale.

It’s not without its imperfections BUT it surprised me that considering this film was a commemoration of a battle 100 years ago, relationships between Greece and Turkey are still rocky as hell.

I would certainly recommend you take the time to invest in this story of one man’s promise to bring his boys home.

A riveting, heart-breaking and promising debut.

Bravo, Mr. Crowe.

3.5/5