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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Martial Arts > Spy > Video Game > Hitman – Unrated (Blu-ray + DVD-Video)

Hitman – Unrated (Blu-ray + DVD-Video)


Picture: B/C+     Sound: B     Extras: C-     Film: C



Some films try so hard, they try too hard and some things backfire as a result.  In Xavier Gans’ feature version of the hit videogame Hitman, trying to be a spy film, video game movie, martial arts flick and even science fiction tale all at once can be much to juggle.  Co-produced by Vin Diesel, this did turn out better than Chronicles Of Riddick, but the lack of a rich story by Skip Woods hurts what could have been a very exceptional surprise.


Timothy Olyphant (the villain of Live Free Or Die Hard; he is much better here) is a mysterious assassin/agent who is about to be betrayed (every such film has been the same lately, as if this is the only story about hitmen will ever be told) and, yes, part of it has to do with his mysterious past and those who want to silence it forever.  So what’s a killer to do but fight back?


Unfortunately, since their is no story and all kinds of clichés and conventions poorly filling in the gaps, it is up to the editing, acting and fight scenes to carry what remains.  Fortunately, the big surprise is that this has some of the best martial arts fight scenes we have seen in a while and (look out!) does not rely on shaky camera work!  The failure of the script is even more unfortunate in light of this.  Of course, this wants to be the Jason Bourne films with more guts (et al) and I liked that ambition about it.  Too bad that was not matched in other ways.


If this does well on Blu-ray and DVD, we might see a sequel.  If so, there is much room for improvement and if a series does occur, the makers will need to act fast to make this work.  If not, this will be an interesting curio a few years down the line.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 AVC @ 16 MBPS digital High Definition image is not bad, but has just enough softness and depth limits to hold it back, partly from stylizing and partly from the transfer.  This is still much better than the very weak anamorphically enhanced low def DVD, which has bad Video Black and is weak overall, but the High Def version could deliver better.  Wonder what Director of Photography Laurent Bares intended?  The DTS HD MA (Master Audio lossless) should be better than the DTS on the DVD, but reveals a strained soundmaster that the DVD DTS does not.  The mix has some good moments of action and edge, but in other cases, the soundfield is problematic and the sound can be too harsh for its own good.


Extras include four making of featurettes, alternate ending, deleted scenes and a gag reel.  The Blu-ray adds a new twist Fox has been promoting, a DVD-ROM so you can download a digital copy of the entire film for portable devices.  You have to be hooked up to The Internet to do this and it is a low def copy, but some may enjoy the option.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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