Sunday, May 18, 2008
THE BRIEFEST OF REVIEWS: HITMAN (*)
My friend is a teacher, and he once described one of his students as being "MMR," which in lay-person's terms means "mildly mentally retarded." That's how I'd describe the screenplay, written by Skip Woods (SWORDFISH), for director Xavier Gens' action film HITMAN (*), which unsurprisingly, was based on a video game. This film (and I use the term "film" loosely) is so beyond stupid, so inanely plotted, and so carelessly thought out, that I lasted only 60 minutes before watching the rest on fast forward. The only redeeming aspect of the entire production is the fact that future Bond girl Olga Kurylenko got fully naked on numerous occasions. That was nice to see. However, beyond that and a handful of stylish action-movie money-shots, HITMAN is running on empty. The film has something to do with an bar-code tattooed assassin (a woefully miscast Timothy Olyphant, a long way from DEADWOOD) who has been trained to kill since birth. Some Interpol agent (Dougray Scott) is trying to track him down for some unknown reason. And other assassins are after Olyphant as well for underdeveloped reasons. After about ten minutes I thought the opening reel was missing. Nothing is explained, the movie is on autopilot right from the beginning, and there is no attempt at even creating a coherent narrative. Sure, individual shots are nice looking and there is a Euro-trash sexiness that permeates the picture. Gens, a heavily-hyped French genre specialist who's extreme horror movie FRONTIER(S) made a splash last year at film festivals (haven't seen it yet), demonstrates zero ability at creating a sustained pace or tone. The action scenes are absurdly violent and while I applaud the idea of making a hard-core R-rated action film complete with blood-filled squibbs and outlandish fight sequences, you have to care about the characters and HITMAN never even gives you the chance. This is a dumb, dumb movie that I rented from Netflix hoping for a quick, fun blast of visceral action excitement. Avoid this clunker at all costs.