Hitman (2007 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Xavier Gens|
|Written by||Skip Woods|
by IO Interactive
|Music by||Geoff Zanelli|
|Box office||$100 million|
Hitman is a 2007 French-American-British action-thriller film directed by Xavier Gens and based on the video game series of the same name. The story revolves around Agent 47, a professional hitman, who was engineered to be an assassin by the group known as "The Organization". He becomes ensnared in a political conspiracy and finds himself pursued by both Interpol and Russian intelligence. The film stars Timothy Olyphant, Olga Kurylenko and Dougray Scott and was released on November 21, 2007 in the United States, November 30, 2007 in the United Kingdom and December 26, 2007 in France. Though critically not well-received, it was a financial success, grossing $99 million against a $24 million budget.
At a remote compound, a group of young boys are receiving tattoos of bar codes on the back of their shaved heads; men observe, direct, and coordinate the training of the boys in firearms, unarmed combat, stamina and strength. The boys are trained from an early age to be professional, international hitmen-for-hire.
Interpol agent Mike Whittier (Dougray Scott) arrives home and is met at gunpoint by Agent 47. The two talk about 47's life as a professional hitman, raised and trained by a mysterious paramilitary group known simply as the Organization.
Three months prior, 47 (Timothy Olyphant) is completing a hit on a Nigerian warlord named Bwana Ovie, force-feeding one of his prisoners with plastic explosives. He remotely detonates the bomb, killing Ovie and three of his men. In a change of plans, 47 is told by his Organization contact, Diana Burnwood, that he is to kill his next target, Russian President Mikhail Belicoff (Ulrich Thomsen), publicly instead of privately. He completes his mission, but before he can leave Russia, he is contacted by his employers. They tell him that there is a witness to the assassination and order him to intercept and kill her. When 47 realizes she has never seen him before, he does not shoot her, instead, he narrowly avoids an assassination attempt on himself, attempted by another Agent.
His employers reveal his location to agents of the FSB, who make plans to intercept him. As he is about to be taken, Diana calls to warn him and tells him that Belicoff himself ordered the hit. After he escapes from the hotel, 47 intercepts Nika (Olga Kurylenko), Belicoff's mistress, the woman who supposedly witnessed his hit. He interrogates her about Belicoff and discovers that Belicoff had a body double, who ordered the hit on the real Belicoff so that he could take his place as the president of Russia. 47 was to be killed after the hit to ensure total secrecy.
As Nika and 47 attempt to take a train further into Russia, they are intercepted by more Organization Agents. 47 kills four of them. Whittier attempts to arrest 47, and 47 wounds and knocks his partner (Michael Offei) unconscious, but is persuaded by Nika not to kill Whittier.
FSB Agent Yuri Marklov (Robert Knepper) orders Interpol to leave the country. 47 contacts CIA officer Carlton Smith to offer him a deal. 47 will kill Udre Belicoff, Mikhail's brother (an arms dealer and human trafficker), in exchange for a favor. Agent Smith informs 47 that Udre had been planning something with a German arms dealer named Price. Intercepting him could lead 47 to Udre.
47 and Nika travel to Istanbul, where 47 abducts Price in order to pose as Price at a meeting with Udre. 47 kills Udre's bodyguards and then Udre, forcing Belicoff's double to attend Udre's public funeral. 47 kidnaps Marklov and forces him to order his own agents to shoot Belicoff's double as he delivers the eulogy. Disguised as a soldier, 47 kills Belicoff's double's guards and takes him into the archbishop's chamber in the church. 47 kills him and allows himself to be taken into custody by Interpol and Whittier.
Smith delivers on his end of the deal with 47. His operatives intercept the Interpol convoy that is transporting 47 to the airport, causing enough distraction for 47 to escape. The scene then flashes forward to the conversation between Whittier and 47 in Whittier's home. 47 suggests Whittier go along with his plan, saying that he will notify the police that he has killed the fake Agent 47, implying that Whittier will not survive if he does not. He also suggests that Whittier waits until after his daughters have gone to school, so they don't have to witness it.
Nika picks up an envelope from an undisclosed sender. Inside it, there are papers and a message saying that she now owns a vineyard, a dream of hers. 47 is watching her from afar, through the scope of a sniper rifle. He then looks at the corpse of another Organization Agent lying at his feet, tells the body that he warned the Organization not to touch her, and then walks away.
- Timothy Olyphant as Agent 47: An orphaned child, kidnapped and trained by the Organization to become an elite assassin.
- Borislav Parvanov as young Agent 47
- Dougray Scott as Mike Whittier: An Interpol agent who has been tracking Agent 47 for quite some time and finally confronts his mysterious target.
- Robert Knepper as Yuri Marklov: Lead agent of an FSB force. He joins in the chase to capture Agent 47.
- Olga Kurylenko as Nika Boronina: Mikhail Belicoff's mistress who is swept into companionship with Agent 47 as events unfold.
- Ulrich Thomsen as Mikhail Belicoff and Belicoff's body double: The President of Russia. He is targeted by Agent 47 as a mark early on in the film.
- Henry Ian Cusick as Udre Belicoff: An international criminal wanted by the CIA and the FSB, while protected by his brother Mikhail Belicoff, who is President of Russia.
- Michael Offei as Jenkins: Whittier's right-hand man at Interpol.
- James Faulkner as Carlton Smith: A CIA agent who helps Agent 47 evade Interpol.
- Eriq Ebouaney as Bwana Ovie
- Emil Abossolo-Mbo as General Ajunwa
- Lisa Jacobs as Diana Burnwood
- Sabine Crossen as June: A young woman who tries to seduce Agent 47 at the bar.
- Susan White as Mia
- Asen Blatechki as FSB Driver
- Vladimir Kolev as HRT Guy
In February 2003, Hitman makers Eidos and IO Interactive entered negotiations with Hollywood production companies to adapt the video game to film. 20th 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, Diesel stepped down from the role. In January 2007, Olyphant was cast as the lead with director Xavier Gens at the helm. In March, actor Dougray Scott was cast as Agent 47's nemesis, with Olga Kurylenko, Robert Knepper, Ulrich Thomsen, and Michael Offei also joining the cast.
The release of the film was set back a few months to allow for the re-shooting of several scenes. These included a sword fight between four assassins in a train car, which replaced the original train platform sequence where Agent 47 fought only one assassin. Reports before the film's release confirmed that not only were reshoots taking place, but that Fox had fired Gens and denied him 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, with a decision to add footage from the TV series Dark Angel, which was also owned by Fox in an effort to save money. Gens told an interviewer that whilst they are not directly dealing with the clone storyline, one scene (the original train station sequence) showing a bald, barcoded assassin (Jean-Marc Bellu) following Agent 47 (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).
Hitman was originally stated to be released on October 12, 2007 in the United States and Canada, 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 Indonesia, $224,449 in 37 theaters in Malaysia. and $244,329 in 32 theaters in the Philippines. In Taiwan, the film opened in fourth place with approximately $100,000. The film also performed weakly in Lebanon with $19,321 in 6 theaters. As of March 13, 2008, the film has grossed $39,687,694 in the United States and Canada and $60,278,098 in other territories for a worldwide total of $99,965,792, exceeding its estimated $24 million budget. The DVD sales equal $27,858,148 in the US alone, putting the total gross for Hitman at around $128 million, not counting television airing rights.
Hitman received mainly negative reviews. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 15% of critics gave the film a positive rating, based on 102 reviews, with an average score of 3.7/10. The website's consensus reads, "Hitman features the unfortunate combination of excessive violence, incoherent plot, and inane dialogue." At the website Metacritic, which uses a normalized rating system, the film earned an unfavorable rating of 35/100 based on 22 reviews.
Critics found fault with several aspects of the film, including a weak and often confusing plot, dry acting, and extreme violence. However, film critic Roger Ebert notably 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". In 2008, Time listed the film on their list of top ten worst video game movies.
Despite Hitman's negative reception, Slovenian philosopher and film theorist Slavoj Žižek included the film in his personal list of 10 greatest films in a 2012 poll conducted by the Sight & Sound magazine. However, in a comment on his picks, he said the list contains "only 'guilty pleasures'" and he made "no compromises for high quality or good taste."
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 the same date 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.
Cancelled sequel and reboot
IESB had confirmed that 20th Century Fox hired writer Kyle Ward to pen the script for the sequel to Hitman. Adrian Askarieh, Daniel Alter and Chuck Gordon were to return as producers. American actor David Hess, who died in October 2011, had been reported to have an as-yet-unnamed role. Daniel Benmayor had signed to direct the sequel. Olyphant stated on the Nerdist podcast that he had no interest in returning for a sequel and only did the original film in order to pay for his new house following the sudden cancellation of Deadwood.
On February 5, 2013, it was reported that the film would be rebooted with the title of the film being Hitman: Agent 47, and would have starred Paul Walker as Agent 47 prior to his death on November 30, 2013, with commercials director Aleksander Bach making his feature film debut helming the project. The screenplay was written by Skip Woods and Mike Finch. Shooting was expected to take place in Berlin and Singapore in summer 2013. On January 9, 2014, actor Rupert Friend was in talks to replace Walker as the character. On January 31, 2014, actor Zachary Quinto was cast in an unnamed role. On February 6, 2014, actress Hannah Ware was cast in the female lead role. On February 19, 2014, production on film began filming with Friend as Agent 47.
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