November 29, 2007

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Hitman (R)
A very constipated-looking Timothy Olyphant shoots stuff and drags a half-naked girl around Russia, sometimes in the trunk of his car (but in a sexy way because we all saw The Transporter, no?), in Hitman, a very boring movie despite its unabashed willingness to cram in as many guns, explosions, boobies and improbable fight scenes as a 100-minute movie can hold.

Agent 47 (Olyphant) was trained from birth to be a ruthless, perfection-focused killer. Employed or owned or whatever by some shadowy organization called, simply, The Organization, 47 is sent to St. Petersburg to kill … this guy…OK, I’m sorry, this plot is too boring to rate thorough explanation. Let’s just say that there’s some shooting and then there’s some running and then Agent 47 meets a trashy-hot girl, Nika (Olga Kurylenko), who he’s supposed to kill but decides instead to have unresolved sexual tension with. And then there’s this good guy Interpol inspector (Dougray Scott), who is relentless in his pursuit of 47 and a bunch of Russian bad guys who serve as fodder for shooting or neck snapping or the like, one of whom is played by Robert Knepper, T-Bag of Prison Break fame. Sadly, his brand of evil is more entertaining when paired with a Southern accent.

Hitman was never going to be a good movie but it could have been a fun movie. Early trailers seemed, if nothing else, entertainig. I like Timothy Olyphant, even when he loses that Deadwood restraint and gives in to the big performance (Live Free or Die Hard). I also like goofily-used shooting and explosions (see above, Re: Live Free or Die Hard), improbable fight scenes and shadowy organizations. And I can live with boobs when accompanied by hilariously campy seduction. Somehow, with all these fabulous cheesy movie parts, Hitman couldn’t build a junk food guilty pleasure. After an opening montage, it more or less drops the motives and procedures of the Organization. The shooting and explosions seem both overused and too sparse — we’ll get a bunch of action all at once and then seemingly endless scenes of 47 and Nika traveling or talking. Talking? This is not the kind of movie one goes to for dialogue.

The relationship between Nika and 47 is equally baffling. He wants her but can’t have her because … why? The movie never tells us. So we are left to imagine that it is because 47, whose face seems permanently stuck in pained grimace, is seriously focused on finding some high-fiber foods in this potato-rich nation. D

Rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity. Directed by Xavier Gens and written by Skip Woods, Hitman is an hour and 40 minutes long and is distributed in wide release by 20th Century Fox.