Before I get to the movie itself, here is a quick history of this film, and some of the key players. 2007's Hitman was universally panned by critics, but it did well commercially, and a planned sequel turning into a reboot set to star Paul Walker of Fast & Furious fame. When Walker tragically died late in 2013, Rupert Friend was cast in his place. The writer of the first film, and very notably writer of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Skip Woods returned as the screenwriter, with commercial director Aleksander Bach making his feature film debut with this film.
Noting some of the production problems this film had, this movie struggles, though less so than it's predecessor, with it's plot. Not much is explained, there is little character development, and the bad guys are banal. Ironically, it is the characters that carry the film, as the main actors did a good job working with a bad script, and all deliver their lines well, though the big bad, Le Clerq, played by Thomas Kretschmann, seems more Baron Strucker than a successful, paranoid CEO and militaristic mastermind. Rupert Friend does a commendable job playing as 47, especially given that it must be difficult to play an emotionless, genetically enhanced trained killer. Hannah Ware had a good share of the screen time and plot, and supplants 47 as the main character as Katia van Dees, and Zachary did a pretty good job with this film's "John Smith", but is not given much character development once his character is revealed.
The action sequences are fun, fast and bloody, unfortunately, they are also mild, perhaps trying to be more tempered than the previous film's insane violence, but it just feels neutered, and with the exception of a few fist fights between 47 and Smith, are standard. The vehicular combat and chases were well done; product placement became a bit obnoxious and heavy handed. If it weren't for the fact that this is his first feature film, I would have guessed that Bach had just read "Hollywood Action 101" when he directed the action sequences, as they were overall some of the weakest parts of the film.
There are a few nods to the video game series' take on stealth, with 47 adapting his trademark look to be able to slip by undetected by most people, but the actual idea of stealth, and focusing on only the killing the contract target are largely, almost completely, missing. Make no mistake; this is an action film similar more to the Resident Evil films than a Jason Bourne style espionage thriller, or for the video game fans, more Absolution and less Blood Money.
While I won't be seeing it again, or owning it in any form, I did not regret the little more than hour and a half of entertainment Hitman: Agent 47 offered. The film had a small budget, especially for an action movie; reportedly around $35 million, and it did more with less, and was cleverer than movies with five times the budget. Various reports are claiming that this is only the beginning of a franchise, and the quick mid-credits teaser certainly seem to imply that we may see a return of this version of the Hitman cinematic universe. I'm not entirely opposed to that, just so long as they get a better writer and maybe a director with a little more experience in action films.
Final Score: 6.5/10