A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hitman: Agent 47 is the second film based on the popular Hitman video game series about a cloned assassin who works for a covert international organization. The movie's Agent 47 resembles his gaming character in looks and characterization, as well as his impressive ability to kill dozens and dozens of people, often in gory/bloody ways. You can expect plenty of strong language (mostly "f--k" and "s--t") and tons violence, from close-up executions and sniper-level shootings to explosions and car chases/crashes. Although there aren't any sex scenes, several shots focus on a key female character's body, which is highlighted in a towel, bikini, and in the shower (but always just short of actual nudity). Those unfamiliar with the game series and it's storyline are clearly not the intended audience.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
In HITMAN: AGENT 47, the second film based on the best-selling video game series (the first was 2008's Hitman), the protagonist, Agent 47 (Rupert Friend), is a bald, cloned assassin-for-hire sent on an important mission: to find a woman named Katia (Hannah Ware), who will lead him to her father, Litvenko (Ciaran Hinds), the reclusive geneticist who created the clone program. Katia, who hasn't seen her father in decades, is reluctant to team up with 47, but after nearly being killed by a rival genetically modified assassin, she decides Agent 47 may seem like a robotic killer, but he's also honest and possibly even capable of redemption.
Is it any good?
There's limited appeal for non-gamers in this internationally cast action flick that seems like a tribute to the worst of Renny Harlin and Luc Besson's '90s films. Although Friend has been effective in past roles in Pride & Prejudice and The Young Victoria, he (and his razor-sharp cheekbones) can't carry this frighteningly boring and borderline-unwatchable adaptation. The dialogue is stilted and formulaic (even accounting for the fact that he's a clone designed to kill), the twists are eye-rollingly predictable, and the jokes are just shy of hitting their mark.
From the cheesy synth soundtrack to the off-putting chemistry between the robotic agent and his gorgeous charge (is she a potential love interest or more like a sibling in genetic modification?) to the dozens and dozens of death scenes, this is one of those global action movies you expect to see on late-night cable, not on the big screen. What's worse is that the movie ends in a cloying fashion that leaves it up in the air whether there will be another sequel. Let's hope there isn't.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of video-game adaptations. How does Hitman: Agent 47 compare to others in the genre? Those familiar with the games: Did the movie capture what makes them exciting to play?
Which sorts of video games make for better movies -- those based on action and shooting or those that are more story dependent?
Discuss the amount of violence in the movie. How does it differ from the violence in the game? Is there a difference between watching violence on screen and role-playing it in a game? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?
- In theaters: August 21, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: December 15, 2015
- Cast: Rupert Friend, Zachary Quinto, Ciaran Hinds
- Director: Aleksander Bach
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sequences of strong violence, and some language
- Last updated: June 23, 2020
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