Agent 47

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Agent 47
Hitman character
Agent 47 in Hitman Absolution.png
Agent 47 from Hitman: Absolution
First game Hitman: Codename 47 (2000)
Voiced by David Bateson
Portrayed by Timothy Olyphant
Rupert Friend

Agent 47 is a fictional character and the protagonist of the Hitman franchise, created by the Danish company IO Interactive. The franchise currently consists of six Hitman video game titles and the two novels: Hitman: Damnation and Hitman: Enemy Within. A 2007 film adaptation of the game was produced by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation with Timothy Olyphant playing Agent 47. In 2013, Fox International Productions plans to remake Hitman and change the title to Hitman: Agent 47. In this remake, Actor Rupert Friend will be taking over the role of Agent 47 after the role was originally meant for Paul Walker who died in a car crash on November 30, 2013.[1][2]

In video games[edit]

Agent 47's typical attire consists of an immaculate black suit, black leather gloves, white dress shirt and a red tie. As the Hitman video game series allows players the option of engaging in stealth-based strategy to avoid conflict, Agent 47 has the ability to exchange his stock costume with various characters in the game to avoid detection. There are a wide variety of costumes to choose from including police, military, medical and culinary uniforms that are all made available by incapacitating non-player character and 'stealing' their clothing.

In addition to the signature suit, alternative stock costumes (costumes assigned to Agent 47 at the beginning of a level or displayed in a cut scene) are occasionally provided. In Codename 47, he is seen wearing a guerrilla camouflage in the jungle, while in Silent Assassin Agent 47 wears a protective anorak in the Japanese mountains and a blue turban in India. At the end of Blood Money, Agent 47 wears a white suit and white gloves while he is placed into a coffin during his funeral.

In addition to clothing, Agent 47's distinctive choice of weaponry plays an important role in his appearance. He prefers to use a pair of silver customized AMT Hardballers nicknamed "Silverballers." Following the third video game in the series, Hitman: Contracts, the Hitman symbol replaces the Silverballer logos that are typically printed on the side of the pistol's slide. Throughout the franchise, the Silverballers serve as Agent 47's signature weapon, along with his fiber wire black garrote, appearing in every game of the series.

47's barcode as based on images from Dr. Ort-Meyer's journal.

Agent 47 is completely bald with very pale skin and blue eyes with dark eyebrows. His ICA file from Hitman: Absolution states his height as 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m).[3] In Hitman: Enemy Within, his weight is given as 187 lb (85 kg).[4] Since players of the video game series control the character from a third person perspective, the barcode that is tattooed on the back of his head is starkly prominent, although in Hitman: Absolution, Agent 47 has the tattoo covered by a bandage for most of the game, after he removes it in an attempt to disguise himself.

His barcode acts as a security key to access areas of the facility where he was created and trained. 47's barcode is implied to be in Code 39; according to Dr. Ort-Meyer's journal, the barcode was added to the tattoo in 1975, one year after the code was developed. Curiously, the other characters in the games appear oblivious to the conspicuous tattoo. A newspaper's description of 47 in Hitman: Blood Money fails to mention the barcode as a notable characteristic.

Character history[edit]

Agent 47 was born on September 5, 1964 in a Romanian asylum with the number 640509-040147 tattooed on the back of his head in the form of a barcode. "64-05-09" denotes his date of birth, "04" indicates Series IV, "01" documents his class, and "47" is the order in which he was cloned. In the Hitman game series and the Hitman novel, Agent 47 is a genetically-enhanced clone and the culmination of decades of secret research into gene augmentation. His creation was funded by a group of investors who donated their own DNA to the project. In Hitman: Codename 47, five men of various nationalities served in the same unit of the French Foreign Legion. After their stint was finished, four of those men returned to their respective countries and founded their own criminal empires, becoming 4 of the biggest criminals in the world. The remaining one, Dr. Otto Ort-Meyer, ran a mental institution which he used as a cover for genetic experiments. In exchange for research funding, Ort-Meyer provided his former comrades with donor organs harvested from clone bodies, which significantly extended their longevity. In Hitman: Codename 47, each of Ort-Meyer's accomplices are said to be 60–70 years old but appear 10–20 years younger.

The men whose DNA contributed to 47's creation are often referred to within the series as the "Five Fathers", consisting of Dr. Otto Wolfgang Ort-Meyer himself, Lee Hong, Pablo Belisario Ochoa, Frantz Fuchs and Arkadij Boris Jegorov. Otto Wolfgang Ort-Meyer is a discredited German scientist living in Romania, whose radical theories were deemed insane by his peers.[5]

Ort-Meyer believed that genetic recombination and human cloning could be used to produce a perfect version of the human species, superior in strength and mind, and unburdened by conscience. His ultimate goal, unbeknownst to his associates, was to create an army of flawless and unquestioningly obedient supermen as his personal army.[6] When Ort-Meyer's associates become suspicious of his motives, he employs 47 to systematically eliminate each of them. When 47 discovers Ort-Meyer's plans, he manages to eradicate his latest series of clones, known as the Mr. 48s, and snaps Ort-Meyer's neck.

Ultimately, Ort-Meyer managed to perfect the process enough to produce an assembly line of genetically augmented clones, including Mr. 17, the antagonist of the second Hitman video game. 47 belonged to Ort-Meyer's fourth series of clones, possessing a 47th chromosome which, combined with DNA harvested from the world's most dangerous criminals, endowed him with levels of strength, speed, stamina, and intelligence significantly above the human norm. In Hitman: Blood Money, it is explained that American interests had repeatedly attempted to replicate Ort-Meyer's success, but were largely unsuccessful. 47 represents the most successful result of Ort-Meyer's research. Other clones produced by Ort-Meyer were plagued by medical problems such as albinism and extremely short lifespans (before 47, other test subjects lived only 18 months). Ort-Meyer's research was distributed among many covert cloning labs, but is insufficient; a sample of 47's bone marrow is needed to fill in the DNA gaps, making him an extremely valuable specimen.

Early life[edit]

Agent 47 was raised in Romania, by cloning facility staff, along with 50 other "Series IV" clones. From the beginning, Dr. Ort-Meyer identified 47 as his most promising creation. He was quiet and showed little social behavior except for one incident where he adopted a runaway laboratory rabbit, much to Ort-Meyer's displeasure. Agent 47 also had violent relationships with the asylum staff; regular invasive medical tests and frequent painful injections fostered strong enmity. On one occasion, he stabbed a doctor repeatedly with several needles, prompting Ort-Meyer to increase the number of personnel assigned to control him.

Training[edit]

Agent 47's training revolves around efficient killing techniques. He is instructed in the use of rifles, sidearms, military equipment and machinery as well as knives, improvised weaponry and garrotes, making him highly competent with a diverse array of weapons. Advanced hand-to-hand combat training and his genetic advantages allow Agent 47 to excel in scenarios ranging from self-defense against multiple opponents to murdering or incapacitating targets while unarmed. During his training, Agent 47 was noted for his distinguished marksmanship and assault on asylum staff with homemade slingshots.

When Agent 47 was 30 years old, he found a gap in the security and escaped the asylum, killing a security guard in the process. However, it is later revealed that Ort-Meyer purposely freed him to test his training in the world.

Employment[edit]

A year after escaping the asylum, 47 was employed by International Contracts Agency, a clandestine organization providing assassination and mercenary services. With a lifetime of training and genetically augmented physical abilities, he soon became the Agency's most effective employee. He briefly retired from the Agency between the events of Hitman: Codename 47 and Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, but returned to work for the Agency shortly thereafter. He enjoys his only notable human friendship with his handler, Diana. Agent 47 threatened to find a new employer after the I.C.A. had a significant loss of influence during the events in Hitman: Contracts.;

Despite the threat however, he continued with the I.C.A. until the events of Hitman: Blood Money, during which the organization is destroyed. At the end of that game the I.C.A. is rebuilt. The last scene depicts Agent 47 walking into a shop, using a fake name and asking what they have to sell "preferably in the back," suggesting that he has resumed his career at either the I.C.A. or a competing organized criminal organization.

Personality[edit]

Agent 47 is an introverted character who almost always speaks without emotion in a calm, formal manner that could be considered muted or blunt. His lack of emotion while committing acts of murder is his defining characteristic. One minor but notable exception to this is in one of the final cut scenes of Hitman: Blood Money, where he cursed at his I.C.A. handler Diana, when she injected him from behind with a syringe.

Agent 47 once demonstrated a high degree of devotion to Father Vittorio, the Sicilian priest who provided him shelter in Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, going so far as to rescue Vittorio from the Russian mafia even though there was no monetary reward in it (in fact, according to Vittorio, Agent 47 donated a large percentage of his earnings from Hitman: Codename 47 to the Catholic Church). In the end, Agent 47's work spilled over into the church, when his enemies located his hiding place in a Catholic monastery. This led to an attack on the monastery and the murder of a number of priests before 47 was able to stop the attack. As a result of the incident, Agent 47 has chosen isolation rather than association with innocent people who might be targeted for retaliation.

Agent 47 places a significant measure of trust in his Agency contact, Diana Burnwood. She is the one character in the series that Agent 47 has had constant contact with, and probably the closest thing he has to a friend. As a general rule, however, they never meet face-to-face.[7] In Absolution, she was 47's target. He shot her, seriously wounding her, but did not finish her off, and she eventually recovered.

On a few occasions, Agent 47 has shown a warm side to his personality. While being raised by Dr. Ort-Meyer, he befriended a rabbit.[8] He has no apparent interest in sex or romance; it is unknown whether this is due to genetics, training, or simply a conscious decision on 47's part. He has shown considerable forbearance to a young prostitute named Lei Ling (renamed to "Mei Ling" in Hitman: Contracts), rescuing her from slavery on several occasions. In Hitman: Blood Money, Agent 47 picks up a small canary during his travels. He and the canary appear to be fond of each other, with the latter showing a happy responsiveness to his playful hand gestures. However, he later kills the bird to silence it when he hears an intruder approaching his position. In "Absolution", he showed considerable sympathy for Victoria, a teenaged girl with origins similar to his own.

Morality[edit]

In the trailer of the Hitman film, Agent 47 is described as a "necessary evil". He will kill anyone he has been assigned to assassinate without hesitation (the only exception being Diana Burnwood in Absolution). However, he has been known to spare individuals whom he has not been specifically ordered to kill and if they don't show a significant threat to him (a few cutscenes in Hitman: Contracts show him knocking out rather than killing various henchmen and bystanders), and even to occasionally offer assistance to those in need. However, he has also demonstrated a cold willingness to kill innocents if they pose a direct threat to his mission; Blood Money '​s final mission shows Agent 47 executing an innocent priest and a reporter, both of whom knew his identity and was sure they would provide information about him if they were left alive. In "Absolution", while his overall motives are good (rescuing Victoria from those who seek to exploit her), he kills a number of people simply because they "know too much".

While 47 is capable of appalling acts of violence and murder, he has a certain degree of morality. This is most noticeable in Hitman 2, which features a Sicilian priest named Father Vittorio. Along with ICA and Diana, Father Vittorio was the only person who knew about his past, although he forgave him for his sins and he retired, working as a gardener in the church. He showed great skills in farming and taking care of the land. He returned to his original occupation as an assassin in part to save Vittorio. He returned to his line of work at the end of the game, knowing that it would be best for him to face isolation rather than endanger people close to him. Additionally, 47 is very much a man of his word: be it a contract to commit a murder or a promise to a dying friend to save a young girl, if he says he will do something, it will be done.

Abilities[edit]

While 47 is not a superhuman, rather, his abilities are at the very maximum of the abilities of a human performance, if not even above. As a Class 1 type clone, 47 can be seen performing physical tasks much more efficiently than an average human. He has mastered the art of stealth, being able to sneak up on almost anybody and quietly neutralize them. He also has an expert level understanding in the use of disguises in order to access unauthorized areas of a location. He has an Olympian physique, physically strong enough to climb pipes, move and dispose of bodies, and jump from balcony to balcony with minimum effort. He is noted to be skilled with a number of vehicles; various games see him operating cars, boats, buses, helicopters, and various aircraft.

47's enhanced DNA and intensive training have made him seemingly impervious to fear, enabling him to remain perfectly calm in virtually any situation. This ability enables him to focus on his task, allowing him to do things that would be nearly impossible for anyone else. This trait also allows him to effectively disguise himself and enter restricted areas without raising any suspicion from guards or civilians . He is always perfectly aware of all his surroundings and constantly calculates his every action, never losing focus. Though trained extensively in armed and unarmed combat and in the use of every weapon from long-range rifles to blades or bludgeons, Agent 47 is fully adept at surveying his environment and using it to his advantage, most notably his ability to use the environment to either distract guards or eliminate targets (often making their deaths appear accidental). He is also resourceful and smart enough to maintain anonymity by avoiding leaving forensic evidence behind.

As a part of his training, 47 has a detailed understanding of human physiology, shown through his use of poisons, and sedatives. It is also clear that while trained as a killer, he can non-lethally disable adversaries with chloroform, syringes, chokeholds, or open hand-to-hand combat. He also understands human nature: he knows how best to move throughout an area, can tell when people are suspicious of him, and can instinctively choose appropriate actions to dispel their suspicion.

Reputation[edit]

Due to his successful track record, 47 is usually given the Agency's largest, most complex and most difficult assignments. 47 completes all of his assignments with unwavering accuracy, fulfilling all of his objectives and unfailingly eliminating his targets. 47's stealth and cunning are so perfect that 47's existence in the ICA became legendary; he is regarded by the world as an urban legend of a "mysterious assassin", and very few know of his appearance (fewer people even know that he exists). The degree of 47's professionalism is such that in the trailer sequence that plays on the title screen of Blood Money, the speaker states that once a client has contracted 47 to perform an assassination, he cannot be called off and will fulfill the contract through to the end no matter the difficulty or the victim itself, even if the client changes their mind, meaning that the client must be absolutely certain of their desire to have the contract fulfilled before they request 47 themselves from the Agency. It is also have been noted that in the price range of ICA's assassins, 47 is the most expensive assassin offered by the ICA, and that his assignments have been among the Agency's most lucrative.

Living quarters[edit]

47's hideout is unknown, and it's unknown where it is, or actually how many hideouts he owns. They are often portrayed to be run-down buildings. He operated out of Father Vittorio's church in "Silent Assassin". In Blood Money, his primary hideout seemed to be in a sewer, with a single laptop to maintain contact with the ICA, a shooting range and an armory, and a single rusty bed. He also had a small apartment, in which he kept a small bird in a cage, the only nonessential item he kept around. At the end of the game, he killed the bird without remorse to prevent it from blowing his cover.

In film[edit]

Hitman [edit]

Main article: Hitman (2007 film)

In the 2007 Hitman feature film, Agent 47 is portrayed by Timothy Olyphant. His back story differs significantly from that of the video game. The organization he works for is renamed the International Contract Organization. Instead of clones, his employer takes in orphans and trains them as professional assassins, of which Agent 47 is considered the best. He does not appear to use 47's signature fiber wire, but he does use twin .45 pistols. His personality is generally consistent with the games as he displays the same emotional detachment and dedication to killing his targets. He retains his calm under pressure, as well as his disdain for killing or harming the innocent (as demonstrated by his protection of a woman named Nika, as well as his decision to spare Interpol agent Mike Whittier, despite Whittier having seen his face). However, he had no disdain whatsoever for killing non-targets; most of his missions involved killing large numbers of henchmen (the kind of missions that would merit a "Mass Murderer" rating in most of the games).

Hitman: Agent 47[edit]

Main article: Hitman: Agent 47

On February 5, 2013, it was reported that the film is being rebooted with the title of the film being Hitman: Agent 47. Paul Walker was attached to star.[9] On January 9, 2014, actor Rupert Friend was chosen to replace Walker as the character after Walker's death on November 30, 2013.[1][10]

Reception[edit]

Agent 47 has gained significant success and was very well received and praised by both critics and fans alike. In 2012, Games Radar ranked Agent 47 as 47th "most memorable, influential, and badass" protagonist in video games, commenting "To refer to Hitman's Agent 47 as a hero would be a bit of a misnomer. He has been known, after all, to unceremoniously murder a man simply because his clothes were deemed desirable, and then also cram that man's naked corpse into a armoire in an insane effort to cover his tracks."[11] The same site ranked him as the 4th "top assassin", commenting "Cloned in a lab and raised from birth to be the perfect assassin, 47 is a cold, conflicted soul."[12] IGN ranked him as the gaming's fourth "most notorious" anti-hero, commenting "He's just doing his job, you might say, like most people do. But his method of operation elevates him to a sadistic level. He does whatever it takes to get the job done – collapsing hot tubs, dressing up as waiters, poisoning donuts, and more. Even if it's just his job, he's no good guy and deserves a spot on this list."[13] Similarly, The Telegraph placed him third on their Top 10 video game anti-heroes, stating "Call him what you want; any attempt to morally redeem Agent 47 stops dead at his job-title. This gentlemen takes life for money."[14] The same cite ranked him as the 7th "best video game assassin", commenting "Not only is Agent 47 a master of gunplay, he's also pretty good at making things look like an accident."[15] Complex ranked him as the 5th "best assassin and hitman in video games", adding "Whether putting together cold and calculated plots to take out his target or running in guns blazing to empty a room (up to the player, of course), Agent 47 is the original contract killer who makes his own rules."[16] FHM ranked him as the 3rd "most memorable hitman in gaming", adding "With four full games and a Hollywood movie under his belt, Agent 47 is definitely a star."[17] In 2012, WhatCulture ranked Agent 47 as "2nd Wicked Video Game Assassin That Couldn't Be Stopped", calling him "simply the best cloned cold blooded bald bar-coded bad ass".[18] In 2013, WhatCulture ranked Agent 47 as "2nd Videogame Character Who Inexplicably Survived A Sh*tload Of Punishment", commenting "The guy can shut out the pain and just keep on trucking, simply because he’s nuts. He can sustain more holes than your average game of Kerplunk, but still aim without a hint of discomfort".[19] GameDaily ranked Agent 47 as the 8th "top baldie", commenting "His black suit and red power tie accentuate his baldness. No need for hair."[20] Gaming Symmetry ranked Agent 47 as the "top video game assassin of all-time", adding "Agent 47 was created to be an assassin. I mean literally. And I’m not missing the word literally here."[21] Empire ranked him as the 21st "greatest video game character".

A silent weapon for the International Contract Agency (ICA), Agent 47 - a name derived from the last two digits of his assigned number - is the perfect killer clone: a deadly mix of speed, intellect and strength. Originally conceived by IO Interactive as a disgruntled and bearded old guy, he was later transformed into the barcode-tattooed, snappy dresser who has since become a gaming staple. Leather gloves, red tie, black suit and bald, barcode-adorned head, Agent 47 is striking to the point where it's probably something of a hindrance in his chosen line of work.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Vejvoda, Jim (February 18, 2014). "Exclusive First Look at Rupert Friend as Agent 47 in the Hitman Sequel". IGN. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ Paul Walker Leads HITMAN Reboot in AGENT
  3. ^ Hitman Absolution: Trailer „ICA File 5 - Agent 47“; (photo 1 from trailer, photo 2 from trailer).
  4. ^ William C. Dietz: Hitman: Enemy Within, 2007, Del Rey Books, ISBN 978-0-345-47132-1, page 12.
  5. ^ Ort-Meyer: I discovered the true power of 47 chromosomes. Do you think that was easy? As always, I was ahead of my time. They shook their bony little heads, looked at me with those beady little eyes and said I was crazy. You, my friend, are living proof that I'm not! Eidos Interactive Hitman: Codename 47 (United States) 2000-12-25
  6. ^ Ort-Meyer: Man was made at the end of the week's work, when God was tired. I quickly improved on all of the built-in flaws. I'll show the whole world who's right - and decide who will be left! Eidos Interactive Hitman: Codename 47 (United States) 2000-12-25.
  7. ^ 47: "It's dangerous to meet in person. You're normally more prudent. What's going on?" | Eidos Interactive Hitman: Blood Money (in English) 2006-5-30
  8. ^ Untitled Document
  9. ^ Fox International Reloading 'Hitman' With Paul Walker As Bald Barcoded Assassin Agent 47
  10. ^ Kit, Borys (9 January 2014). "'Homeland' Actor Rupert Friend in Talks to Replace Paul Walker in 'Agent 47'". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  11. ^ Agent 47 - 100 best heroes in video games, GamesRadar, October 19, 2012
  12. ^ "The Top 7... Assassins". Games Radar. 2008-02-06. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  13. ^ IGN Staff, Gaming's Most Notorious Anti-Heroes, IGN, March 5, 2012
  14. ^ Cowen, Nick; Hoggins, Tom (September 16, 2009). "Top 10 game anti-heroes". The Telegraph. Retrieved April 21, 2013. 
  15. ^ "The 10 best video game assassins". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  16. ^ "The 10 Best Assassins And Hitmen in Video Games". Complex. 2013-01-04. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  17. ^ Gelo Gonzales, The 5 most memorable hitmen in gaming, FHM, November 26, 2009
  18. ^ Jack Chambers. "10 Wicked Video Game Assassins That Couldn't Be Stopped » Page 04 of 05". Whatculture.com. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  19. ^ Edward Owen. "10 Videogame Characters Who Inexplicably Survived A Sh*tload Of Punishment » Page 10 of 11". WhatCulture.com. Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  20. ^ "Top 25 Baldies Gallery and Images - GameDaily". Web.archive.org. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  21. ^ "The Top 10 Video Game Assassins of All-Time". Gaming Symmetry. 2012-12-13. Retrieved 2012-12-13. 
  22. ^ The 50 Greatest Video Game Characters, Empire, May 28, 2010

External links[edit]