Rico Torres / TM / Twentieth Century Fox

Review in a Hurry:  Top secret assassin Agent 47 is content with his life of offing political dignitaries—until complications arise in the form of a hot Russian babe. Based on the videogame of the same name (but minus the babe), this plays out more like a poor man's The Professional.

The Bigger Picture:  Timothy Olyphant (Deadwood) brings his A-game as a hit man known only to his victims and clients as Agent 47—too bad the rest of this adaptation lets him down. It's by no means terrible, but ultimately, it screams rental!

See, Agent 47 is hired to take out a Russian president-to-be, and Dougray Scott plays a London official sent to expunge the mysterious mercenary killer. But the hunter becomes the hunted, as 47 is betrayed and must fight for his life and the life of Nika (Olga Kurylenko), the aforementioned Russian babe.

Hitman earns its R rating with enough blood and bullets to make John Woo proud. The energy level is infectious, especially in a scene where 47 takes on three other hit men (48, 49 and 50?) with a unique weapon of choice: kendo blades. The stunt work is strong, but maybe let's lay off on all the quick-cut editing?

Now, in a game, you want your main character easily identifiable (i.e., Mario's big red overalls, Lara Croft's curves). Agent 47 is fitted in a black suit with a striking red tie—and he's cartoonishly bald. Plus, the nape of his neck is branded with a big bar-code tattoo. Great visuals for those over-the-shoulder shooters, but here, 47 comes off as the world's least covert assassin ever. And seriously, what's with the bar code?

The film's biggest strength, though, is Olyphant, who seems like an odd casting choice, more at home as scruffy, fast-talking supporting players (Girl Next Door). But he quickly owns the stoic, reticent, no-name assassin and manages to inject Agent 47 with a bit of humanity. Overall, he fares better than Angelina Jolie, The Rock and other stars who have tried to bring pixilated icons to life.

The 180—a Second Opinion:  As the Oscar race heats up (yawn!) with all these high-minded movies, maybe all you want is a mindless shoot 'em up, right? Ultimately, this could have been much worse (see Doom—actually, don't).

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