Agent 47 on film - what seems to be the problem?

Written By: Kieran

Let me begin by saying that I do not have a problem with the video game version of agent 47, in fact I love the Hitman games, and I don’t think that a film version of this character should be all too difficult to pull off. So why hasn’t Hollywood been able to do the big bald master assassin justice? I have absolutely no clue. When I look at the adaptations of the Hitman games to film, 2007’s Hitman and 2015’s Hitman: Agent 47, I don’t see something that is worthy to carry the same esteemed title as the games.

Now when I saw the first trailer for the more recent Hitman: Agent 47 I will say, a tiny bit of me was mildly optimistic. I knew of the poor reputation of video game movies, but I thought that there was a small chance that this film could be the one to finally buck that trend and actually be good. Oh how wrong I was. The film was boring and just kind of ridiculous to be honest. And that got me thinking. Thinking about how I would make a Hitman film and I have come up with some things that I would do were I to direct or create a new Hitman project. In the end I came up with so many that I have decided to make a whole article out of this and list them all here for everyone to see. So listen up 20th Century Fox because you can have all of this stuff for free. Here are six things that I think should be done to make a good hitman film.

Number 1: don’t make Agent 47 a superhero.

As I said earlier Agent 47 is the world’s finest hitman. And when he kills he does so with ruthless efficiency. It could be done from some roof top far away from his target with the longest and largest gun he can find, or whilst holding them by the scruff of the neck, looking them in the whites of their eyes as he shoots them with his trademark silenced pistol, it doesn’t matter to Agent 47 as long as it is done. He always hits his marks and he never leaves a target alive. But what filmmakers seem to have yet to realise is that he is still very much a man. A human being, who whilst he may have increased physical strength and a heightened mental awareness he is not a damn superhero, ok? He isn’t some action hero who dodges every bullet that comes his way through the power of lazy script writing. He doesn’t get shot and killed simply because he meticulously plans out every single scenario and problem in his head. He hasn’t got amazing powers, he is just prepared for anything you can throw his way. He should be fully in control of every situation he is in and everything that happens should be to plan and in whatever order that he so chooses.

Number 2: he doesn’t need to talk.

This is just obvious. I mean come on, we are talking about a character who was never really known for his great conversation. Agent 47 is more of the strong and silent type. So why, oh why does he need to make highly detailed conversations with people. If you have a character who just doesn’t talk for most of his games then why would you make him speak in the films? It just doesn’t make sense. For example if you were adapting a book for the silver screen and the main character didn’t talk for one reason or another would you make them talk? No of course not, it would spoil their character and make them pointless. And this is my exact point. Agent 47 doesn’t talk so don’t try to force him to.

Number 3: do not try and make us sympathise with Agent 47.

Ok, trust me on this one. I know it may seem a bit farfetched to base an entire film around one guy who the audience can’t sympathise with but hear me out. For those of you who have seen it, and if you haven’t please do so, cast your mind back to the film No Country For Old Men. Who was your favourite character in that film? Its Anton Chigurh right? Now what actually was he? What part did he play? He was essentially just a roaming killer who stopped at nothing to get his money back. He shouldn’t have been so likeable but he is all everyone else remembers from that film. So why not try this same thing with Agent 47? We know that he is a killer and that’s what he is good at. So maybe instead of trying in vain to make us sympathise with him why not try and humanise his targets instead. I’m not saying that Agent 47 should be slaughtering innocents but maybe trying to add a layer of sympathy to their character might help in making the scuffle between them and 47 a far tenser affair. Make the ‘villains’ more like normal people and we would see a more compelling story. An example of this in another film series which suffers from the same problem with their villains would be Le Chifre from Casino Royale. He feels very vulnerable and slightly out of control when things begin to turn south on him. And it’s these and many other traits which make him a good example of this strategy. When, spoiler alert, Le Chifre dies in Casino Royale I felt quite sad, he was just a guy who was trying to pay off the money which he owed some very dodgy people and he was genuinely scared in the end. And I think that this could be a good direction for the hitman villains to travel down.

Number 4: don’t make the entire thing an enclosed affair.

One of the things that sets the Hitman games apart from the likes of Metal Gear Solid and other games of its type are the large and deeply layered maps upon which the jobs are carried out. So when you make a film translation of this, don’t place every other scene in a tightly packed corridor. Make the set design very open, to allow for fluid movement. There should always be alternative escape routes to put into use if required and Agent 47 should know about them all. Also if the sets are very big it would give room for larger set pieces and for the scouting out scenes that 47 would have to do to gather Intel on the interior. However when I say large I don’t mean characterless. The locations still need to feel like the real thing which it’s difficult to grasp sometimes when the sets you are working with are so large. Save the tight corridors and small box rooms for things like metal gear and the raid and give us grand halls and mansions in which our scenes can take part.

Number 5: special effects?

No. no special effects. I want no CGI it should all be practical. Nothing that Agent 47 ever does should be too physically difficult it’s just all about training. All the stunts should be practical and there should be practical blood squibs, for those of you unfamiliar blood squibs are the small bursts of fake blood that come from people who are shot in films. Most films now a days use digital blood squibs and they just don’t look right. Nothing looks as good as the practical effects. It would also give this film another selling point as it would be one of the few films made today with genuinely impressive stunt and practical effects work. If a big set piece does happen it should be done with good choreography and solid stunt work which would give it more of the slick feel of the games themselves. In a film where we seem to be striving for realism why not use the most realistic effects?

And finally number 6: the tone and pace.

Now this really is an interesting bit. The tone of the film shouldn’t be jokey, it should by all means be an incredibly tense and serious business which would hook audiences through the doors and keep them there with buckets of suspense. The pace could be done in one of two ways: fast gun blasting action movie, or a slower more methodical and efficient film. Personally I would go with the latter as it allows for all of my aforementioned ideas to further develop and create what I think could be a good film that deserves the title of a hitman movie.

And there you have it, those are my six steps for creating what I believe would be a better quality of Hitman film than we have recently been given. Please feel free to take these tips and incorporate them into any future Hitman films that are to be made. Just please, please, please make it good.