Hitman Xavier Gens

Hitman Xavier Gens
Another in a growing line of films based on videogames, Hitman is a brainless action film about a hit man with a mysterious upbringing involving being trained to become a killer (à la La Femme Nikita), a good head shaving and a barcode tattoo on the back of the skull. Starring Deadwood’s Timothy Olyphant, Dougray Scott (who based on everything I’ve seen him in, I bet curses the Mission Impossible II re-shoots for costing him the role of Wolverine in the X-Men franchise every single day of his life) and Olga Kurylenko, the film has a decent cast but a weak script gives them nothing to do. Even hot French director Xavier Gens (Frontiere(s)) isn’t given much to work with. The only standout scene is a four-way, eight-bladed swordfight in a passenger train. Olyphant is hired to assassinate the prime minister of Russia but once he’s done so, a double appears on the scene and the media covers up the assassination. What follows is the Russian secret service trying to kill Olyphant and Kurylenko (who was the prime minister’s favourite girlfriend/prostitute) while Scott and his partner (who’ve been on his tail for years) try to bring him back to the States, and, of course, Olyphant looking for revenge for being double-crossed while protecting Kurylenko. The strangest part about Hitman is that Olyphant’s macho Hitman character seems to be a virgin. In one scene he excuses himself when a woman hits on him, which could be to keep witnesses to a minimum but later in the film, Kurylenko straddles him naked on a bed and moves to take off his pants. Terrified, he knocks her out with an injection to the neck. Gens butted heads with Fox over the intensity of the violence in the film, and although it’s probably not related, the hit man as emasculated virgin could be read as amusing commentary on the dispute. The DVD presents the unrated cut of the film with more blood and violence than the theatrical release but it still fumbles around too much and even with its arsenal of big guns doesn’t satisfy. Extras include featurettes on the film’s guns and gun techniques, the original videogame and the score, along with a short "behind the scenes” documentary and bloopers. None of which are anything to write home about but are more enjoyable (and shorter) than the film itself. (Fox)