Film Review “Hitman: Agent 47”

Starring: Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware and Zachary Quinto
Directed By: Aleksander Bach
Rated: R
Running Time: 96 minutes
20th Century Fox

Our Score: 1 out of 5 Stars

The award winning videogame franchise, “Hitman”, has yet to create anything worthy of a film award, unless we want to start talking about Razzies. But I’ll concede that it’s damn near impossible to create a decent movie based on a videogame. A videogame story is easily understood because the person diving into it is ready to spend 25-40 hours with the main character, being the character, and interacting with the world the character inhabits. We have a fraction of that time in a movie. So, the idea of creating a videogame movie is an insurmountable task, but there’s no reason it should suck this much.

The perplexing story starts with a narrator giving us meaningless exposition about characters we have yet to meet and don’t care about yet. It then shows us Agent 47 (Friend). He comes after a long list of agents, biologically engineered to be uncaring killing machines, in an unexplained agent program. We watch him do what he’s been trained to do as he violently disposes of multiple people so that he can track down the whereabouts of Katia Van Dees (Ware). She is an even more mysterious person on the search for a man that she doesn’t know. In fact, she doesn’t know why she’s really searching for him or what he means to him. Hoping to get a hold of Katia before Agent 47, is John Smith (Quinto).

So who do these people work for? That’s a really great question that the movie never really answers or seems to bother itself with. Maybe Agent 47 is working for a syndicate interested in rebooting the agent program. Maybe he’s working for a world power that’s hoping to create its own agent program. Maybe he’s working for it’s a nefarious conglomerate hellbent on restarting the agent program. Simply remove Agent 47’s name from the previous questions, and put in Katia and John’s name where his is and you begin to see the problem.

What’s even more bizarre is that while it doesn’t explain what’s going on with these people, it feels really predictable when Katia and John deduce/admit who they are. Every five minutes it feels like a new person is directing the movie and there’s no clear direction or narrative in general. When the action stops, it’s dreadfully boring. But even when the killing flares up we’re simply watching these three characters interact while unnamed soldiers, police, henchmen, and guards get caught in the crossfire or become fodder for lazy kill scenes.

For being an alleged action movie, “Hitman: Agent 47” is about as entertaining as watching someone who’s watching someone play a videogame. It’s a bit morbid to say that “Hitman: Agent 47” should spruce up the joy by having fun murdering countless people, but it’s true. Watching an expressionless person kill an expressionless person followed by more expressionless reaction elicits about as much excitement in me as winning a game of solitaire in my downtime at work.

If my may indulge my nostalgia for a second…way back in 2000, I played the first “Hitman” videogame at a friend’s house. We had a blast, had our eyes glued to the screen, and talked about the game for weeks at school. We wasted hours on it and couldn’t wait to waste more on the inevitable sequels that were to follow. To those who created “Hitman: Agent 47”, you have tainted that memory with your garbage movie.

Blu-ray Review “47 Ronin”

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Rinko Kikuchi, Ko Shibasaki, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Tadanobu Asano
Director: Carl Rinsch
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Universal Studios
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Run Time: 119 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I have been following “47 Ronin” and really looking forward to “47 Ronin”. I am a big fan of Keanu Reeves and I thought that him in a $170 million martial arts film would be epic. After watching it finally though, I was left a little disappointing and kind of bored like most people that saw it.  I personally have no idea how they spent that much money because I have seen films like “Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon”, which looks much better and was make for $25 million. I know the film has production problems and reshoot after reshoot but it didn’t really help make the film more interesting. I would recommend watching this once if you are a fan of the genre and its stars.

Official Premise: After a treacherous warlord (Asano) kills their master and banishes their kind, 47 leaderless samurai vow to seek vengeance and reclaim their honor. Battling across a savage world of mythical beasts, shape-shifting witches and wondrous terrors, the ronin must seek help from Kai (Reeves), an enslaved half-breed they once rejected, in their ultimate fight for redemption.

Keanu Reeves is front and center among an otherwise all international cast that includes Hiroyuki Sanada (TV’s “Revenge”, “The Last Samurai”). Tadanobu Asano (“The Wolverine”, “Thor: The Dark World”) as Lord Kira. Rinko Kikuchi (“Pacific Rim”) is amazing as the Witch, Ko Shibasaki (“One Missed Call”). The acting is great but the roles are rather one dimensional. Despite the film itself, I thought that Reeves was able to hold his own amongst the rest of the cast and give a good performance as well.

Universal Studios delivered this film as a combo pack with Blu-ray + DVD + HD Digital UltraViolet copy.  The film was post converted into 3D (which I haven’t heard great things about anyway) but we had a chance to review this in standard Blu-ray. The 1080p was impressive. The visual effects played out very nicely and very detailed, especially the creatures. The costumes, the locations, the sets are all very colorful and vibrant. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 was pretty powerful and packed a nice punch. Ilan Eshkeri’s score was also a highlight for me.

In terms of special features, they are not too shabby either. “Keanu & Kai” features the star talksing about his roe. “Steel Fury: The Fights of 47 Ronin” looks into the choreography and action sequences. “Myths, Magic & Monsters: The FX of 47 Ronin” dives deep into the creatures of ancient Japanese folklore used in the film. Those extras above are just available exclusively on Blu-ray for a limited time only. The rest of the extras are available on both the Blu-ray and DVD discs. “Re-Forging the Legend” tells the actual story of 47 Ronin and the road of how the filmmakers brought this film to the big screen. Lastly, there a a few deleted scenes included wrapping up the extras.

“47 Ronin” Blu-ray Combo Pack Comes Home April 1st





Universal City, California, February 4, 2014— Keanu Reeves (The Matrix trilogy, The Day The Earth Stood Still) stars in a reimagining of one of Japan’s timeless tales, 47 Ronin, available on Blu-ray™ 3D and Blu-ray™ Combo Packs, DVD, DIGITAL HD including UltraViolet™ and On Demand on April 1, 2014, from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.­­­

Based on an epic story, this extraordinary tale of inspiring courage has its origins in the early 18th century. After a treacherous warlord kills their master and banishes their kind, 47 leaderless samurai vow to seek vengeance and reclaim their honor. Transformed into a thrilling, visually stunning 3D film by director Carl Rinsch, 47 Ronin tells the story of a small group of warriors, or ronin, on a quest to avenge the death of their master. Battling across a savage world of mythical beasts, shape-shifting witches and wondrous terrors, the ronin must seek help from kai (Reeves), an enslaved half-breed they once rejected – in their ultimate fight for redemption.

Keanu Reeves leads an international cast that includes Hiroyuki Sanada (SunshineThe Last Samurai) as Oishi, the leader of the ronin; Tadanobu Asano (The Wolverine, Thor: The Dark World) as Lord Kira, the treacherous villain who will stop at nothing to destroy his enemies; Academy Award®-nominated actress Rinko Kikuchi (BabelPacific Rim) as the Witch, a siren who executes Kira’s deadly plans; and Ko Shibasaki (The Lady Shogun and Her MenOne Missed Call) as Mika, the forbidden love of Kai’s life.

The Blu-ray™ Combo Pack includes a Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD with UltraViolet.

  • BLU-RAY™ disc unleashes the power of your HDTV and is the best way to watch movies at home, featuring 6x the picture resolution of DVD, exclusive extras and theater-quality surround sound.
  • DVD offers the flexibility and convenience of playing movies in more places, both at home and away.
  • DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet lets watch movies anywhere, on any device. Users can instantly stream or download movies to watch on iPad®, iPhone®, Android, smart TVs, connected Blu-ray players, game consoles and more.


  • KEANU & KAI — Keanu Reeves embodies one of cinema’s most richly imagined heroes as Kai, the outcast who leads a small band of rebels against an army and supernatural enemies. Along with Reeves, director Carl Rinsch and other key voices from the filmmaking team reveal how this adventure would not be possible without Reeves’ mastery of martial arts and total immersion in the role.
  • STEEL FURY: THE FIGHTS OF 47 RONIN — This featurette explores the intense research, choreography and rehearsals that went into creating the film’s unique action sequences, including Kai’s epic battle against the silver Samurai and the heart-stopping Kirin hunt sequence.
  • MYTHS, MAGIC & MONSTERS:  THE FX OF 47 RONIN — 47 Ronin’s world-class creative team reveals the technological magic it used to bring to life the creatures of ancient Japanese folklore, including The Kirin (a giant hybrid beast with the head of a dragon and the body of a deer), the Kitsune witch, the Oni troll and the demonic Tengu Monks.


  • RE-FORGING THE LEGEND — The story of 47 Ronin is one of Japan’s most time-honored legends. The filmmakers talk about how they brought this “dream world” to the big screen, from script to costumes, visual design, and culture.