‘Homeland’ actor Rupert Friend, with his penetrating grey eyes and menacingly hollowed-out cheeks, has a way of looking like he’s plotting a puppy massacre. Which comes in handy, since this ridiculous, violent, occasionally fun arse-end-of-summer action flick doesn’t throw much character depth his way.
It’s based on the ‘Hitman’ video game series – and the flummoxing plot might have been written by a couple of stoners after a late-night gaming session. Friend is shaven-headed Agent 47, the product of a 1960s experiment to bio-engineer emotion-free killers with heightened intelligence, strength and, judging from the film, shocking taste in estate-agent suits. The whole thing feels cobbled together from bits of other action movies, globetrotting from Berlin to Singapore, with an oligarch baddie who wants to use the technology that created 47 for world domination, naturally.
With just 48 hours to eliminate his target, Agent 47 – identifiable by the barcode on the back of his neck – zeroes in on a mysterious young woman (Hannah Ware). She’s meant to be the badass female hero here, but does it count when there’s a naffly gratuitous shower scene? At the end, the door is left open for a sequel, but Agent 47 doesn’t feel like a character who’s got what it takes to be a franchise hero – he, and the film, are lacking in personality.