A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is based on a violent video game about a professional assassin; not surprisingly, it includes lots of shooting, fighting, stabbing, falling, blood, and injured or dead bodies. Characters are ruthless and calculating, even the ones who are meant to be the "heroes." The movie's damsel in distress is hyper-sexualized -- there are repeated shots of her breasts (sometimes naked), legs, back, and pouty mouth. Language includes several uses of "f--k," plus other profanity. Explicit cocaine snorting in one scene, plus cigarette smoking and drinking.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
I'd thank you if I wasn't so mad at you. Poor Nika (Olga Kurylenko) is confused by Agent 47 (Timothy Olyphant), the titular hero of video game-based HITMAN. She has good reason: He's assigned to kill her, but then he decides to save her. Nika is surely in need of rescue. A barely dressed and heavily made-up prostitute, she's employed and abused by the current Russian president, Mikhail Belicoff (Ulrich Thomsen). Enter Agent 47. Trained from his childhood to be a professional killer by the odious "Organization," 47 suffers flashbacks suffused with hazy fluorescent light in which he and his fellow orphans look pale and worried as they learn to shoot and have bar-code tattoos buzzed into their scalps. As adults, the agents are good mercenaries, their exorbitant fees deposited directly into secret offshore accounts.
Is it any good?
Even as 47's interactions with Nika apparently change his routine, the secret agent, like the film and the video game, is all about the violence. Scene after scene (many rendered in slow motion and accompanied by "Ave Maria") shows him shooting, knifing, kicking, and fighting his opponents -- including the big bad Russians (Mikhail's brother is even more debauched) and very dedicated Interpol agent Mike Whittier (Dougray Scott). If Mike says it once, he says it four times: He's been chasing 47 for three years, "knows him better than anyone," and still can't keep up with 47's virtuoso scheming.
For all his choreography, 47 remains awkward, especially around Nika. This might have made him sympathetic, but the film doesn't grant him much chance to speak, let alone put down his weapons. Dressed in a suit, his bald pate shiny under the harsh lights of railroad stations and hotel foyers, he tends to stand out, which repeatedly puts him on the run from authorities. True, he's good at what he does. But he also looks awfully tired.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what separates the "good guys" and the "bad guys" in this movie. Are they really that different? Why are some characters more sympathetic than others? How are video game-based characters different from characters developed for other media? What do video game-based movies tend to have in common? How do they usually compare to the games they're based on?
- In theaters: November 21, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: March 10, 2008
- Cast: Dougray Scott, Olga Kurylenko, Timothy Olyphant
- Director: Xavier Gens
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence, language, and some sexuality/nudity.
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