Hitman: Agent 47 (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 6-Jan-2016

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Deleted Scenes
Trivia-The Hit Counter
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Re-Imagining Hitman
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Ultimate Action: Staging the Fights
Featurette-Hitman: Agent 47 Comic
Featurette-Making of the Comic Book
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Promotional Featurettes
Gallery
Gallery-Poster
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 96:16
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Aleksander Bach
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Rupert Friend
Hannah Ware
Zachary Quinto
CiarŠn Hinds
Thomas Kretschmann
Rolf Kanies
JŁrgen Prochnow
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Marco Beltrami


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 7.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish
French
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Portuguese
Russian
Swedish
Arabic
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Estonian
Greek
Hebrew
Hungarian
Icelandic
Korean
Latvian
Lithuanian
Polish
Romanian
Serbian
Slovak
Slovenian
Turkish
Ukranian
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, An additional scene during the credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† Almost a decade has elapsed since 2007ís Hitman entered multiplexes, with 20th Century Fox having sought to launch another cinematic franchise based on a popular video game property, and perhaps ape the success of the still-running Resident Evil franchise. The box office returns were nothing to brag about, however, and now Fox is trying again, with 2015ís Hitman: Agent 47 serving as a reboot of the earlier movie, hoping that this second incarnation of the titular assassin will click more successfully with viewers. Although tagged as a reboot, it can almost be considered a sequel to the 2007 film if you really desire, since Hitman: Agent 47 doesnít contradict its predecessor and the video games were never intrinsically tied to one another. Helmed by first-time feature-film director Aleksander Bach, the movie is fairly disposable on the whole, but itís not a total bust thanks to its often attractive visual design and a number of enjoyable action sequences.

††† A genetically engineered professional killer, Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) was created as part of an experiment carried out by a secret society looking to breed the worldís most effective assassins, imbued with heightened senses and strength, acute intelligence, and a lack of emotion. Hired for what seems like just another assignment, 47 is sent to track down Katia (Hannah Ware), the lost daughter of Dr. Litvenko (Ciaran Hinds), who led the now-defunct Agent program and escaped with the manufacturing plans. Both the Syndicate and the International Contracts Agency seek to track down Litvenko in order to restart the program, with Katia perceived as the golden key to finding the scientist.

††† Unfortunately, Hitman: Agent 47 suffers from uneven pacing and dull plotting, with the script unwisely overthinking 47, making the story needlessly personal and foolishly trying to inject humanity into the cold-blooded assassin. Consequently, it undermines the character and betrays his videogame origins, not to mention it turns 47 into a generic action protagonist rather than the dark anti-hero of the games. Bafflingly, this Hitman was co-scripted by Skip Woods, who was also responsible for the 2007 movie, and whose filmography does not exactly suggest heís a stickler for quality - he also penned The A-Team, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and A Good Day to Die Hard. Woods and co-writer Michael Finch actually take their cues from 1984ís The Terminator in the flickís earlier stages, establishing 47 as the villain which would have been an interesting twist, but this Hitman eventually transforms into a more generic no-brainer action effort. What a shame.

††† Even with its glaring script issues, however, the flick is mostly satisfying when locked in action mode, with acrobatic, John Wick-style shootouts allowing 47 to show off his impressive firearm skills. Equipped with a highly appreciated R rating from the MPAA, blood sprays with wild abandon and kills are allowed to be brutal, giving the shootouts more impact. Itís little surprise that director Bach cut his teeth with commercials and music videos, as Hitman: Agent 47 is a glossy movie, with designer clothing, stylish automobiles and shiny weapons. Bach delivers in terms of eye candy, with a slick presentation that keeps the movie watchable, even if the helmer has much to learn about pacing. However, the movie does lean too heavily on shonky digital effects, with noticeable CGI that often takes you out of the movie, not to mention the fights are undermined by shaky-cam and rapid-fire editing. Itís doubtful Fox were too enthusiastic about the project, thus costs were kept low, with the reported budget coming in at a mere $35 million, which is most likely to blame for the poor VFX work.

††† The role of 47 was originally intended for Paul Walker in the early stages of production, but his sudden and unfortunate death prompted a hasty re-cast. In his place, Friend acquits himself well enough, looking believable as a man of action while also coming across as intelligent. With the bald head, Friend bears a sufficient likeness to his video game counterpart, which should please fans. Speaking of the games, the movie does contain a few Easter Eggs that eagle-eyed viewers may notice, but Hitman: Agent 47 is still entirely suitable for the uninitiated who are unfamiliar with the source. It is clear, though, that the movie is more geared towards the Resident Evil audience, with the script even allowing a female character to kick some butt. Performances across the board are merely adequate, with Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto barely registering, while Thomas Kretschmann plays the generic bad guy role with absolutely no undue effort.

††† Hitman: Agent 47 plays out with the same lustre and logic of a straight-to-video endeavour, but has the benefit of a slightly larger budget, even if the end result suffers from cheap-looking special effects. Still, the flick is watchable thanks to the frequent action scenes that are fast and coherent more often than not. Unfortunately, since this is wannabe franchise, Hitman: Agent 47 is not given a proper ending, closing on something of a cliffhanger to set up a possible second movie. Frankly, the open-ended conclusion is rather puzzling, especially given that the 2007 movie failed to spawn a sequel. Follow-ups would be interesting to see, but only if Fox can recruit better writers.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† 20th Century Fox presents Hitman: Agent 47 on Blu-ray in 1080p high definition via the AVC video codec, framed in its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1. Although I did not view the movie at the cinema during its theatrical run, the presentation on this disc looks faithful to the digital source, with the minor shortcomings most likely attributable to the production rather than the encode.

††† Owing to the digital shoot, Hitman does not exhibit any sort of grain structure, thus the image does occasionally look a bit smooth on the whole, but itís not much of a bother. The transfer is otherwise close to flawless, looking crystal clear and refined in almost every area. Detail is consistently impressive; in close-ups, itís possible to count the hairs, while texturing on clothing and outdoor environments is exceptional. Equally impressive is the rich colour palette - even in lower-light areas, delineation remains remarkably stable.

††† At no point did I detect any encoding anomalies. As stated above, delineation in low-light is terrific, without any black crush cropping up, nor is there any aliasing or banding. Itís hard to imagine anybody being dissatisfied with Hitmanís Blu-ray transfer, which is consistently eye-catching. Chalk this up as a win for Fox.

††† Fox provides every subtitle option imaginable. The English subtitles, which are unfortunately a necessity at times (more on that in the audio section), pose no issues to speak of.


Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††† This Blu-ray contains a whole heap of audio options, more than I can actually list in the audio section of the disc specifications, but the default option is an English DTS-HD MA 7.1 track, as to be expected with most recent action movies. Itís a serviceable track, but unfortunately it does have its noticeable shortcomings.

††† The big issue with the track is dialogue. Most of the dialogue is mixed far too low, often sounding surprisingly muffled, making subtitles almost essential. Cranking up the volume high enough to hear the dialogue properly will only leave you reaching for the remote to turn it down again as soon as an action scene hits. And speaking of the action scenes, gunshots also sound muted, seriously lacking in subwoofer activity to make every discharge impactful. Most of the other sound effects are fine, however, with nice loud explosions and car chases that only serve to show how underwhelming the gunshots sound. Marco Beltramiís boisterous score is also crisp, though it drowns out other sounds too often.

††† I am unsure whether these major issues are as a result of poor sound mixing on the part of the filmmakers, or improper encoding on the Blu-ray. Whatever the case, I was let down by the audio here, even though a number of the broad strokes are fine and there is decent surround activity.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††† There isn't much of substance here, with Fox putting in minimal effort for this one.

Deleted Scenes (HD; 4:03)

††† Three scenes are available here, which can be viewed individually or via a ďPlay AllĒ function. These donít add much, and itís easy to see why a short brawl at a construction site was cut since it features really shonky effects.

The Hit Counter

††† This is a cool feature which keeps a running total of the deaths in the movie, along with some picture-in-picture animatics and/or storyboards. Itís not the most insightful extra, though, and couldíve used some extra interviews, B-roll footage, or even an audio commentary.

Re-Imagining Hitman (HD; 6:02)

††† A short EPK-style behind-the-scenes look at the movie, mainly concentrating on the character of Agent 47. Cast and crew also talk about why the project appealed to them, and Friend briefly touches on his training for the role.

Ultimate Action: Staging the Fights (HD; 6:54)

††† Another all-too-brief featurette on some of the movieís major action set-pieces, mainly covering the fight choreography. Unfortunately, it doesnít go into much detail.

Hitman: Agent 47 Comic (HD)

††† The ďofficialĒ prequel comic is available to read here. You can either manually advance at your leisure, or let the images advance automatically. Thereís some nice artwork here.

Making of the Comic Book (HD; 1:49)

††† A very brief promo discussion about the comic book.

Promotional Featurettes (HD; 6:28)

††† ďPromotionalĒ indeed. Five short, fluffy YouTube segments which briefly touch upon various aspects of the movie in precisely no real detail. These can be watched individually or via a "Play All."

Gallery (HD)

††† Using either auto advance or manual advance, this is a very tiny gallery of images from the film, mostly screen-shots.

Poster Gallery (HD)

††† This is quite cool. A handful of posters are included here, most of which are pretty stylish. As with the other galleries, you get the option of auto or manual advance.

Theatrical Trailers (HD; 4:52)

††† Two theatrical trailers are included here, which can be watched individually or via a "Play All" function.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † The Region A release is identical to our local release. It's most likely a direct port since it has the same language options. Draw.

Summary

††† Perhaps owing to low expectations after the critical mauling it received, I enjoyed Hitman: Agent 47, even though I can't defend it as something other than a disposable guilty pleasure. It's not a great movie, and it's certainly not one of my favourites for the year, but I cannot deny that I had a fun time watching it. And considering how rare studio-produced R-rated action films are, I'll take it.

††† Fox's Blu-ray is mostly good news. Video is reference-grade, audio is decent but held back by some issues, while extras are mostly fluffy. Rent it first, and buy it only when it's on special.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDPlayStation 4, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42LW6500. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationLG BH7520TW
SpeakersLG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W

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