The transition from video game screen to the big screen has heralded a less than impressive list of movie adaptations. Indeed, looking back on a genre which includes 'Resident Evil', 'Super Mario Brothers', 'Mortal Kombat' and 'Street Fighter', you'd be complimentary in describing such films as 'stinkers'.
'Hitman', based on the Playstation 2 game of the same name, falls within such categorisation. As ever with such adaptations the focus here is on slick looking action sequences and comic book characterisations - all at the expense of storyline and dialogue.
The Hitman in question (Olyphant) is a cold blooded assassin, who was raised in an orphanage by a secret outfit called 'The Organisation'. Devoid of emotions such as love and pity, this lean, mean, killing machine doesn't even have a name – instead he is merely referred too as Agent 47.
This agent has been hired for a job in Russia which, it transpires, turns out to be a set-up. On the run from both his employers – who want him dead – and an Interpol detective (Scott) – who has been chasing him for years – Agent 47 must establish who is setting him up, and get to them before they get to him.
In this cat and mouse charade a girl invariably becomes 'tangled up' in the whole mess. Enter Nike Boronina (Kurylenko) a Moscow-based prostitute to the man Agent 47 was hired to assassinate. Taking her captive in a bid to figure out what's going on, a romance soon blossoms between the 'unlikely' couple (bet you didn't see that coming!), paving the way for a series of gratuitous nude scenes and dialogue so embarrassingly flimsy it'll make your toes curl.
Indeed 'Hitman' the movie feels like it has taken its audience to be naïve and geeky – a somewhat unfair stereotype often levelled at gamers. This feeling emanates from its diabolical dialogue, cheesy direction and a series of scenes drafted from comic books and sci-fi games.
Both Olyphant and Kurylenko's characters seem lifted from comic books and are devoid of any real human characterisation, making them extremely one dimensional.
The action scenes too are basic and unsophisticated, full of sub-'Matrix' slow-mo shoot-outs and shots of long black jackets flailing in the air. Besides a series of such shoot-outs however, there is little else in the way of action scenes to focus the mind off the underwhelming storyline.
Stylish to look at, and with a number of in-jokes fans of the game may enjoy, 'Hitman' may prove apt popcorn fodder for fans of the computer game series. Anybody else should avoid.