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Hitman is a film based on the same-titled video game series. The film was directed by Xavier Gens and stars Timothy Olyphant and Dougray Scott. Hitman was released on November 21, 2007. A sequel, under the working title of Hitman 2, is currently in pre-production.

Plot

The film opens with a montage showing a group of bald children receiving tattoos of bar codes and receiving training in firearms and hand-to-hand combat. These scenes were actually not filmed for this film but were taken from numerous episodes of the Fox show Dark Angel.

Interpolmarker agent Mike Whittier discovers Agent 47 in his study, where the two talk briefly. The scene flashes back three months, as 47 is completing a hit in Nigermarker. He receives a communication from his Agency contact, Diana, and is told he is to kill his next target, Russian President Mikhail Belicoff, publicly. 47 completes his mission as ordered.

Before 47 can leave the city, he's told there's a witness—Nika Boronina. However, when he confronts her, he realizes she's never seen him before. He then discovers that Belicoff's death has been covered up; a double is now playing the part, and the assassination attempt is being portrayed in the media as a grazing wound.

47 is soon targeted for assassination himself by his own people. He is told by Diana that "Belicoff" ordered the hit himself. Meanwhile, Mike Whittier and his partner have been informed of 47's whereabouts. They encounter the FSB, led by Yuri Marklov, who sends in an emergency response team to capture 47. 47 successfully escapes.

47 kidnaps Nika, who was about to be killed by her driver, and questions her. She suggests 47 may have killed one of Belicoff's doubles, but 47 is sure he killed the real one. The two try to leave by train, but are intercepted by the Agency's assassins. 47 defeats four of them, including the assassin who tried to assassinate him earlier. He also shoots Mike Whittier in his bulletproof vest, but spares his life at Nika's request.

47 arranges a meeting with Agent Smith of the CIA. Smith reveals to 47 that Belicoff's opponents ordered the hit on the real Belicoff, in order to replace him with a double who is loyal to them. He is working with Yuri and an unseen cabal as part of a plot to have a puppet leader in control of Russia. In exchange for an undisclosed favor, as well as some incriminating documents that would be found should 47 be killed, 47 offers Belicoff's brother, Udre, a slave trafficker, narcotics and arms dealer. Smith accepts the deal.

47 and Nika travel to Turkeymarker, where 47 successfully kills Udre. Udre promises to help kill his own brother, the president, in exchange for his own life. 47 then shoots him. As a result, Belicoff's double, needing to play his role, is forced to attend Udre's funeral. 47 kidnaps Yuri and forces him to have his own FSB agents try to shoot Belicoff as he delivers a eulogy for Udre. Disguised as a soldier, 47 manages to kill all of Belicoff's guards and takes him into the archbishop's chamber in the church. 47 has a small conversation with Belicoff - Belicoff tries to peacefully reason with 47, saying the Russian people will never let him get away with assassinating the president, that 47 had done his job very well, and that he could negotiate for 47 to leave in peace. 47 instead kills him. He then allows himself to be taken into custody by Interpol and Mike Whittier.

At this point, Agent Smith delivers on his end of the deal, having the agents under his command intercept the police convoy, giving 47 the distraction necessary to escape. The scene then flashes forward to the conversation between Whittier and 47 occurring at Whitter's house. After wrapping up their conversation, 47 reveals the body of Mr. Price, shaved and dressed to look like 47. They make a deal in which Whitter will go along with 47's plan, admitting that the body in his home is the real 47. As 47 leaves, he turns to Whittier and says that he hopes to never see Whittier again.

The scene then changes to Nika, who is shown picking up an envelope from an undisclosed sender. Inside it, there are papers and a message saying that she now owns a vineyard (she had told 47 of her childhood dream of having one). Meanwhile, 47 is watching her from afar, through the scope of his sniper rifle. He then looks at the corpse of another hitman, lying close to him, and says, "I told you to leave her alone. You should have listened." He then turns back, and walks away.

Cast

  • Timothy Olyphant as Agent 47: An orphaned child (though in the video games he is the result of cloning experiments), kidnapped and trained by the Organization to become an elite assassin. He is the main protagonist in this story.
  • Dougray Scott as Mike Whittier: Interpol agent Mike Whittier has been tracking Agent 47 for quite some time. During this film, he finally gets to confront his mysterious target.
  • Olga Kurylenko as Nika Boronina: A woman who is swept into companionship with Agent 47 as events unfold.
  • Robert Knepper as Yuri Marklov: Leader of a FSB force, he joins in the chase to capture Agent 47.
  • Ulrich Thomsen as Mikhail Belicoff: The Russian President, Mikhail Belicoff is targeted by Agent 47 as a mark early on in the film.
  • Henry Ian Cusick as Udre Belicoff: Sibling of Mikhail Belicoff, he is protected from arrest by the CIA and other international police organization under his brother's influence.
  • James Faulkner as Smith Jamison: An agent of the CIA who helps Agent 47 evade Interpol.


Production

In February 2003, Hitman makers Eidos and IO Interactive entered negotiations with Hollywood production companies to adapt the video game to film. Twentieth Century Fox eventually acquired the rights and hired screenwriter Skip Woods to pen the screenplay with actor Vin Diesel executive producing and starring in the film. In December 2006, Vin Diesel stepped down from the role. In January 2007, Timothy Olyphant was cast into the lead role with director Xavier Gens attached at the helm. In March, actor Dougray Scott was cast as the antagonist to Agent 47, with Olga Kurylenko, Robert Knepper, Ulrich Thomsen, and Michael Offei also joining the cast. Production began the week of March 27, 2007 in Sofiamarker, Bulgariamarker and lasted 12 weeks. A second unit also shot in locations including Londonmarker, Istanbulmarker, St. Petersburgmarker, and Cape Townmarker..

The release of the film was set back a few months before release, this was to allow for the reshooting of several scenes. The new scenes included a stand-off between 4 assassins who go on to participate in a sword fight, which replaced the original train platform sequence, simply consisting of Agent 47 facing off against one assassin. Reports before the film's release confirmed that not only reshoots were taking place, but that Fox may have totally removed Xavier Gens from his directing position and denied him the final cut. Nicolas de Toth was brought in at this stage to soften the edit and cut down material.

47's origins were also changed at this stage, Xavier Gens told an interviewer that whilst they are not directly dealing with the clone storyline, one scene (being the original train station sequence) which shows a bald, barcoded assassin (Jean-Marc Bellu) following Agent 47 (Timothy Olyphant), another bald, barcoded assassin, is very explicit and showed his intention to keep him as a clone. The detail was likely changed to accommodate for the casting of actors of mixed races during reshoots, making it impossible for them to be clones (or at least clones of the same person).

Release

Hitman was originally slated to be released on October 12, 2007 in the United Statesmarker and Canadamarker, but the film's release was postponed to November 21, 2007. Hitman opened in 2,458 theaters in the United States and Canada, grossing $13,180,769 in its opening weekend, ranking fourth at the box office. The following weekend, Hitman opened in 12 markets, having the following highlights: $150,355 in 38 theaters in Indonesiamarker, $224,449 in 37 theaters in Malaysiamarker. and $244,329 in 32 theaters in the Philippinesmarker. In Taiwanmarker, the film opened in fourth place with approximately $100,000. The film also performed weakly in Lebanonmarker with $19,321 in 6 theaters. As of July 2, 2008, the film has grossed $39,687,694 in the United States and Canada and $60,245,563 in other territories for a worldwide total of $99,933,257. The DVD sales equal $27,858,148 in the US alone, putting the total profits for Hitman at around $128 million USD, not counting television airing rights.

Reception

The film has been almost universally panned by critics. The most common complaints are a lacking, often confusing plot, dry acting and extreme violence. On the film review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, Hitman has received a Rotten rating of 15% based on 91 reviews, and it has received a Rotten rating of 6% from 19 "Cream of the Crop" reviewers from mainstream news outlets. However, film critic Roger Ebert gave it three stars out of four, saying "Hitman stands right on the threshold between video games and art. On the wrong side of the threshold, but still, give it credit." On the website Metacritic, the film has received a Metascore of 35 out of 100 based on 22 reviews. In 2009, Time listed the film on their list of top ten worst video games movies.

Home video

An unrated version of Hitman was released in the high definition Blu-ray format on March 11, 2008, and features extras including deleted scenes, an alternate ending and a gag reel. This version also features a special digital copy of the film which can be transferred to a portable media device like an iPod. A standard definition DVD was released on March 11 as well in three versions. A single disc theatrical version, a single disc unrated version, and an unrated special edition including many extras, and the digital copy mentioned above. The unrated DVD is one minute longer than the theatrical cut and includes a few extended scenes with more blood. The UK version of the film was available on Blu-ray and DVD from 31 March 2008.

The French Blu-Ray version of the film came with 10 deleted scenes, accompanied with French audio commentary by Xavier Gens. Some of the scenes included are the original assassination, in which Ovie survives, is taken to hospital only to be killed via lethal injection by 47 disguised as a doctor. The alternate train platform sequence which features no sword fight, as well as showing the older assassin biting off his tongue to avoid giving answers to 47, and an extended departure sequence between 47 and Nika, which shows Yuri and his men stopping their train and boarding it to look for 47.

An alternate ending in the Special Features of the DVD show 47 watching Nika through his Sniper Scope as she opens the envelope. She then turns down a corner of a small street to be shot dead in a drive-by, possibly by men loyal to the organization behind the fake Belicoff, all while 47 watches.

Sequel

IESB has confirmed that 20th Century Fox has hired writer Kyle Ward to pen the script for the sequel to Hitman. Adrian Askarieh, Daniel Alter and Chuck Gordon will return as producers. Timothy Olyphant will return as 47.

References

  1. Twitch - Fox Yanks HIT MAN From Director Xavier Gens
  2. Xavier Gens and Timothy Olyphant discuss Hitman [1]
  3. http://www.iesb.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7070&Itemid=99


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