Videogame adaptation Hitman follows the now-standard Bourne/Mission Impossible formula of the highly-trained assassin who becomes embroiled in a vast international conspiracy after he's betrayed by the clandestine organization that employs him. Bred from birth to be a ruthlessly efficient killing machine, Agent 47 (Live Free or Die Hard's Timothy Olyphant) sports a bald pate, a barcode tattoo on the back of his noggin and a perpetually blank look on his face as he goes about his brutal business of dispatching various world leaders and their known associates.
But even cold-blooded assassins have consciences, it seems, and when Agent 47 refuses to eliminate Nika (Olga Kurylenko), a hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold tied to a prominent Russian politician, he becomes the target, with Interpol, the Russian Secret Police and his shady former employer all seeking to cap his shiny-headed ass. But Agent 47 has a vast international conspiracy to unravel -- not to mention a hot Russian prostitute to protect -- and he'll be damned if he lets hordes of highly-skilled, heavily-armed men stand in his way.
Who exactly is Agent 47? Why does he suddenly develop a conscience when a sees a Russian prostitute? What's the huge barcode on the back of his neck for? Why doesn't anyone else in the movie seem to notice the huge barcode? Who are all those other bald guys who surface at various points throughout the flick? Why was the girl playing the Russian prostitute given dialogue? These and dozens of other questions arise during the course of Hitman, but answers are maddeningly tough to find in this incoherent excuse for an action thriller.
Director Xavier Gens manages to piece together some impressive action set pieces, but it's not enough to compensate for the pain caused whenever Hitman's characters open their mouths. Touted by some as the Next Great Action Star, Olyphant suffers through the film in the "Bourne Lite" lead role, unable to squeeze any personality out of his lifeless character. Granted, Skip Woods' cliché-ridden script doesn't exactly help his Olyphant's cause, nor do his largely mediocre castmates.
Fans of the bestselling Hitman videogame might find something to embrace in this underwhelming adaptation, but I suspect the non-gamers in the audience will be sorely disappointed.