Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Hitman (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

In FULL SIGHT of a few old men sitting outside the gas station, 47 opens the trunk and lets Nika out. She's really still traveling in the trunk? She's naturally very mad at him for this, but he says it's okay because he brought her breakfast. He then roughly grabs her, drags her to the passenger seat, and THROWS the food at her. As he walks back to the driver side, he makes eye contact with one of the old men and gives a “Geez, what's HER major malfunction?” look. The old man chuckles because abusing women is downright hilarious in this batshit insane universe that is Hitman.

47 warns Nika that her interference back at the station can't be allowed to happen again, in what is easily some of the worst line readings ever from a major Hollywood movie not involving a child. The video games have better acting than this.

Nika looks down and sees he's magically produced a gun from the same inventory he had those blades earlier. She instantly cowers, apologising to the psycho as I vomit. She says if he's looking for a reason not to kill her, she doesn't have one. She's not a whore by choice it turns out as Belicoff owns her, having bought her for $300 American, which admittedly is a bargain. When I tried to buy a terrible actress, the best deal I could find was Tara Reid for $700.

We get an ultra tasteful flashback of Belicoff hanging her by the arms while she's naked and beating her with a stick, all while his rich cigar smoking buddies watch and laugh. Just... lovely. I wonder since this movie has no issues re-using footage from other sources, if this wasn't an outtake from Frontier(s) Gens accidentally spliced in?  Nika asks 47 if he's going to kill her, and he replies no. From the “acting” Olyphant is doing, we see 47 is moved by her flashback, even a touch horrified as any human should be. Nika remarks that he doesn't want to fuck her and he doesn't want to kill her, never feeling so much indifference in her life. Whatever Woods got paid to write this script, it clearly wasn't enough. Genius like his should be rewarded with trillions of dollars!

This contender for “Worst Written Line in a Non-Porno” jolts 47 out of his melting heart status and goes back to anger as he threatens her again with some more woefully stilted line deliveries and I need this scene to be over NOW. 47 concludes with a joke about putting her back in the trunk. It's funny because she can't breathe in there! HAW HAW!  Returning to St. Petersburg, Whittier and Jenkins use the listening device they stole to find out Marklov is in cahoots with Belicoff. Marklov's men arrive and escort them to the airport. We jump to Moscow now, where Nika is meeting with an older gentlemen at the bar and gives him a cellphone. We see 47 on a building across the street, with a sniper rifle trained on the man.

The man, CIA Agent Smith, tells 47 that Belicoff's enemies have replaced the president with his body double. 47 makes a deal to kill Udre in return for a favour from the CIA. Smith tells him Udre is meeting with another arms dealer named Price in a few days, and that he's never seen Price before so he has no idea what he looks like. All 47 as to do is kill Price and take his place to get close to Udre in a plot ripped straight out of a 1960s spy story.

Cut to Istanbul now, where 47 reviews Price's file. Nika walks around topless because we haven't seen her breasts for almost three scenes now, and dammit Fox has a movie to sell! 47 announces they're going to dinner, Nika telling him he's charming when he's not killing people. Or locking her in a trunk I suppose.  They approach a restaurant, 47 doing his hardest to top his previous awkward line readings by asking Nika if she thinks it looks nice. She says it does, so he tells her to wait there while he goes inside.  I bet he makes her wait outside while he eats a full three course meal, then apologizes. In a shot meant to invoke the video game, 47 stiffly walks down a hallway to the maitre d's podium and discovers Price has a reservation at 8pm. Exiting, he finds Nika is gone. Oh wait, she was just off camera. She's mad at 47, asking if he ate without her. Called it!

Our next location is Interpol HQ in London. Whittier and Jenkins save us from how awful the previous scene was by discovering Belicoff's body double as I reflect this movie probably could have been paced a lot better. And when I say “probably could have”, I mean “NEEDS TO BE”.  Honestly, what's going on here right now? Our hero is a bipolar cold blooded assassin who has casually murdered the president of a country along with a fleet of innocent police officers just doing their jobs. He's absolutely terrorized his unwilling partner, a prostitute who has survived a horribly abusive relationship only to IMMEDIATELY try to jump 47's bones despite the fact he constantly locks her in his trunk.

Our villain is... not really established yet. Whittier and Jenkins are clearly an opposing force to 47, but they're getting WAY too much screen time for characters that are at least three steps behind the rest of the movie. Not to mention this entire film is just a flashback, so we all know 47 and Whittier are going to get though all of this anyway which makes all of this just... pointless.  At the restaurant, Nika bores 47 with a story about a pet chipmunk she had as a kid. A waiter walks by with a drink on a tray, 47 grabbing it because her story is boooooooooring. The waiter informs him the drink is for someone else, 47 asking if it's for table 26 (where Price is shown eating). The waiter replies yes so 47 puts the drink back.

I appreciate how he slyly poisoned Price's drink, but it's weird how he had to ask what table what it was for. Did he just grab every single drink that went past him and asked what table it was for? Wouldn't it have made him seen more competent if he made a note of what waiter was serving Price and thus know when a drink was coming his way? Am I putting more thought into a film than the filmmakers did again?  But it turns out it wasn't poison, just something that makes Price sick so he rushes to the bathroom. Since the film version of 47 is basically a gung-ho badass who loves violence, he follows him. Poison would have just been too neat and tidy and wouldn't let 47 up the body count I guess.

Outside the bathroom two of Price's goons frisk 47 to make sure he's unarmed, then allow him in. Inside Price pukes his guts out while another goon stands outside the stall, 47 entering the stall next to him. He opens the toilet tank and takes out a bag with a gun and a syringe in it. How did 47 know which stall Price would run to? Or did he put a gun and a syringe in every single toilet just to hedge his bets? When 47 and Nika first walked up to the restaurant, I didn't see him carrying a bag full of guns and syringes. Must have had them in his magic space inventory.  I applaud this movie's commitment to depict the video game as accurately as possible in this department.

47 shoots the guard in the head, and then shoots up Price with the syringe to kill him. Um... what? Is he going for the achievement for killing Price without using a gun? Before I even have the time to react more, 47 calls the two guards inside the bathroom and shoots both of them. 47 then returns to Nika, and- stop me if you've heard this before- roughly grabs her and drags her out of the restaurant.

Back at the apartment- and stop me if you've heard this before- Nika is mad at 47. But not too mad because she takes off her dress and tries to have sex with him. As disgusted with her character as I am right now, 47 takes a syringe out of his magic space inventory and injects her. Unfortunately, it's not a poison one but one filled with knockout juice.  47 heads out to meet with Udre, who is holding a coke party side-by-side with his arms deal. One of Udre's cronies immediately recognizes that 47 isn't Price, and we get a generic slow motion shootout that of course ends with 47 shooting Udre in the head. Whee.

We join 47 and Nika as they drive back to Russia. Nika is looking through 47's magazine, seeing an ad for a vineyard so she bores us with another story about how she always wanted one when she was a kid. Bipolar Agent 47, who just a few moments ago was threatening to gag her, is moved by her story. Somehow I have a feeling this movie will end with him buying her a chipmunk and a vineyard.  Whittier searches through 47's suitcase that the Russians sent him, finding a cross shaped key among the possessions.  Remember this key, it will come up later.  Now 47 and Nika are on a train... for some reason. Their car break down? Every second this movie goes on, the less and less it makes sense. Well, back to Whittier again because this film is a HORRIBLY EDITED NIGHTMARE.

He learns Udre's body has been found and is being flown to Moscow for a funeral, deducing 47 is going to try to kill the Double there.  The movie gets as sick as I am of these Whittier scenes, so it cuts to the latest Saw movie. 47 has abducted Marklov and used barbed wire to tie him into a bathtub with a radio taped to his hand. A nearby generator will start up and electrocute him if he doesn't use the radio to order the shooting of the Double at a given time. When 47 inevitably gets fired for being the worst assassin ever, I suppose he could try out for a Bond villain.

Udre's funeral begins as Whittier tries to tell security how to do their jobs, but they're confident they have things in hand. They'll use knockout gas on the crowd if anything happens, so we have a whole bunch of gas masked soldiers on duty. There's NO WAY 47 will take advantage of this, like none whatsoever.  The Double arrives at the funeral, 47 watching him outside through a sniper scope. He could just shoot him here, but we still have 15 minutes of movie left. Plus we still have to see if Marklov makes the call or not. Marklov does, calling one of his soldiers to kill the Double.

The soldier fires, but the bullet is stopped by the protective barrier the Double is standing behind. Everyone just stands there not reacting, so the soldier tries again and gets the same results. It's not until when his third bullet shatters the barrier do people actually start panicking. The soldiers unleash the gas as guards get the Double to safety.  However, in a twist that ranks up there with the Usual Suspects, one of the masked soldiers shoots everyone dead except the Double. Do I even have to say who it's revealed to be? 47 roughly grabs Nik- wait, I mean the Double and drags him down the hallway. Outside security tells Whittier they have 47 trapped in the church and there's no way out. Whittier can't understand why 47 would get himself trapped until he realizes a sculpture on the outside of the church matches the key he found in 47's suitcase.  “He set this up from the very beginning!”.

Just hang on, we'll get to that black hole-sized plot hole in a bit. 47 and the Double enter a room where 47 is attacked by another bald assassin. Oh yeah, those guys. I totally forgot this was a Hitman movie. They fight in “Filmed WAY Too Close to See What The Hell is Going On” Shaky Cam, and this one is exceptionally bad. The assassin somehow loses an ear and for the life of me I can't tell how. I rewound it at least five times before giving up. 47 ends the battle by curb stomping him to death.

Back outside, Whittier talks to some priests and learns the key opens the archbishop's personal chambers. The head of Russian security hears this, ordering a helicopter to the tower. In said tower, 47 talks to the Double in a COMPLETELY pointless scene. As a matter of fact their conversation makes no sense at all, so 47 just shoots him to get this damn movie over with. Suddenly the helicopter shows up and starts indiscriminately blasting the chamber, 47 diving for cover. Good thing the Double was already dead or someone would have gotten written up for this one. After a minute the chopper gets bored and flies off because its audition for World War Z is in a few hours.

Whittier and his team bursts into the chamber and arrests 47, who offers no resistance at all. As they drive away, they find their route blocked by a whole bunch of black cars. Agent Smith steps out of one, serving as a distraction which allows 47 to escape. These last few scenes have such a rushed pace I wonder if the Flash directed them.  You can just see the director off the camera doing the "hurry up motion" with his hands.

Back to the present, Whittier answers he'd kill to protect his family. I can't even remember what the point of 47's question was, or if there was one at all. Whittier spells out 47's plan, that he left the key on purpose because he knew Interpol would have jurisdiction and would walk 47 right out the front door of the church safely.  47 points out the dead body we saw in the beginning, which is another bald assassin. He tells Whittier to use this body to impersonate him and leave him alone. Whittier says he can't go along with this, 47 ominously replies he hopes that he can... for both their sakes.

We return to St. Petersburg where we watch as Nika opens her mail. She finds a deed to a vineyard, but sadly no license for a chipmunk. Gyp! 47 watches her through his sniper scope, looking down at ANOTHER dead hitman lying next to him. He tells the corpse “I told you to leave her alone. You should have listened.”

Cue the credits.

Okaaaaaaaaaaaay... let's see if I got this right. Belicoff was a woman beating scumbag who was gunning for re-election to be President of Russia. His moderate and West-friendly views caused his body double, who wanted a return to the old ways of Russia, to hire the Organization to assassinate him.  The Double hired the Organization for a multi-level job, to have an agent (47) kill Belicoff and then have another agent (48) kill that agent to cover any traces of what he'd done. While 47 was competent enough to act on his own, 48 was not so he had to get the help of the Double in taking out 47.

48 and the Double came up with a plan to use Belicoff's sex slave/girlfriend Nika as bait, having the Organization tell 47 she saw him shoot Belicoff. 48 plans to kill 47 when he goes to kill her, but 47 realizes she's never seen him and that he's being set up.  47 has the ability to anticipate the future in such detail it makes Batman and Jigsaw look like morons. 47 is able to deduce from the set up that he'll have to kill Belicoff's brother Udre to lure the Double to his funeral so he can kill him. Furthermore, he knows Interpol Agent Mike Whittier will gain possession of a key that belongs to the church where the funeral will be held so Whittier will be able to find him and arrest him, guiding him safely past the Russian authorities.

47 contacts his friend Agent Smith in the CIA, making a deal so Smith will save him after he gets arrested by Whittier in exchange for him killing Udre. That's a FLAWLESS plan really, though I do have a few MINOR questions.

1.  Why was the Organization so callous about killing one of their own, especially an agent who was hailed as the best of the best?

2.  Why did Agent 48 have to enlist the help of his client? The Organization couldn't have just sent him to meet with 47 and shoot him in the head? 47 wouldn't have his guard up around a fellow agent.

3.  Why was the Double okay with 48 staying alive?  48 would absolutely know why he was killing 47, so he'd be a loose end too.  Did the Double have ANOTHER assassin in the wings to kill him, and then another assassin to kill that assassin, and then another assassin to kill...

4.  Why did 47 ask Diana who the client was when he obviously knew? After he realizes Nika has no idea who he is, this is the only chance he would have had to go to the church to steal the key so he could leave it in his suitcase for Interpol to find.

5.  Speaking of the key, how did 47 know which church they'd send Desmond's body to after killing him? You can't tell me there's only one church in all of Moscow.  Or did he go to EVERY SINGLE CHURCH in Moscow stealing all of their keys just to hedge his bets?  If Whittier had examined the suitcase more, would he have found like a million keys in it?

6.  How did 47 know the Russians police would break protocol and send his suitcase to Interpol so they could find the key? The Russians are portrayed as wanting nothing to do with other agencies operating on their turf.

7.  Why did 47 leave so much to chance about Whittier being able to figure out they key, let alone gaining possession of it?  We know 47 is the smartest tactical genius in all of existence, but he sure put a LOT of faith in Whittier.

8.  What was the logic behind putting Marklov in one of the Saw movies and ordering him to order one of his men to kill the Double?  I suppose it was to flush the Double out into the open where 47 could grab him, but how could 47 have possibly known the actions the security would take?  What if they didn't use knock out gas and thus wouldn't need masks?

9.  When 47 had a clear shot at the Double going into the funeral why didn't he just shoot him there?  I'm sure he could have gotten away, it's not like the Russians ever had any kind of rooftop security even after his rooftop assassination of Belicoff. And going off that, what if Marklov's man had succeeded in killing the Double? 

It's ALMOST like no one read through the script. Or, more likely, did and no on cared. That theme prevails throughout the entire film. So this was a terrible movie, and I do mean terrible. A bad story is made totally incomprehensible with the whole key subplot, Olyphant's wooden acting highlights a cast full of bad performances, this has some of the worst “action” scenes ever seen in a big budget Hollywood film, and Miss Fanservice is one of the most vile characters in years.

But, despite all of this, I can actually recommend checking this movie out as long as you're a fan of bad movies.  It's a classic “so bad it's good” picture, worth the price of admission for the hitmen four-way dance scene alone. You WILL laugh and laugh often, and you can't put a price on that kind of joy.