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03.05.08

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Phaedra

Hitman

One or two discs; 20th Century Fox; $24.98/$39.98

By Michael S. Gant


The search for a good movie made from a video game continues apace. For Hitman, Timothy Olyphant (the sheriff from Deadwood) shaves his head and starts blasting away as an assassin for hire who was trained by the shadowy "Organization." While on assignment to kill a Russian politician, Agent 47 discovers that he has been set up for a double cross. Only with the help of a Russian babe (Olga Kurylenko) can he outwit his Interpol pursuer (Dougray Scott) and a Russian police agent (Robert Knepper, Tea Bag from Prison Break, showing off a wildly improbable accent). Lots of gunplay ensues, from St. Petersburg to Istanbul. Most hilarious of all is the idea that no one seems to be able to catch Hitman, even though he walks around with a giant bar code tattooed on his naked neck. Olyphant, a restrained actor, doesn't ever feel comfortable in the implacable-killer mode. Given that a shaved head was required, they should have IM'd Jason Statham. The DVD is available in several variants; one version even allows for a digital copy to be made to a computer. The advance copy I saw included an unintentional "Making of" feature in which Olyphant struggles mightily to find some serious motivation for his character.


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