The 2007 movie Hitman starring Timothy Olyphant is streaming for free (with ads) on Tubi.
For some reason, studios love to take risks on video game adaptations, mainly because there is the possibility that it will create a massive franchise they can bank on for a decade, a la Resident Evil. However, most video game adaptations fall flat and are seen as failures more often than successes; for every Sonic the Hedgehog, there is a Doom, Prince of Persia, or DOA: Dead or Alive, and for every The Last of Us there is a Need for Speed, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, or Street Fighter. However, sometimes there is a third category, where a film is released that is somewhat successful and then completely forgotten about, like in the case of the Hitman movie, now streaming for your reminding pleasure on Tubi.
What makes Hitman such an interesting study is that it was simultaneously hated by critics and audiences and also incredibly successful in its theatrical release. The film got a dismal 16% on Rotten Tomatoes, mostly criticizing the writing and thin plotlines, and in a rare moment of agreement, the fans gave it a better but still horrible 57%, mainly based on loving the action pieces. However, despite the dreadful reviews, the film was able to pull in just under $100 million, quadrupling the budget of $24 million the studio spent on the film.
The Hitman movie is based on a long-running video game franchise of the same name, following Agent 47 as an assassin created by cloning the DNA of multiple people, including an arms dealer, a cocaine trafficker, a Chinese Triad, and a mercenary. The franchise spawned eight video games in the main storyline, three spinoffs, two novels, and a comic book miniseries. The games were beloved due to their semi-open-world platform and the focus on stealth assassinations, some believing they led to the success of the historically focused Assassin’s Creed franchise with a similar feel.
While the game seems like a perfect fit for a translation to the big screen, the Hitman movie missed the mark for fans and regular movie-goers. The fans saw a main character that was no longer a clone who ended up killing the very men he was made from and instead found an orphan who was used as a pawn in a global coup. The non-fans saw a relatively low-budget and uninspired action movie with few new and exciting ideas.
What makes the film intriguing to watch on Tubi now is the cast. Agent 47 is played by Timothy Olyphant, who had some notoriety due to his leading role on HBO’s Deadwood but would see his career mirror the Hitman movie as teetering on the edge of stardom, never quite getting the hit it needs. It also stars Dougray Scott, who missed out on playing Wolverine a few years before to star in Mission Impossible II, and Olga Kurylenko, who would end up a Bond girl in what is largely considered the worst of Daniel Craig‘s tenure, Quantum of Solace.
While there is another film in the franchise, an unrelated B-movie titled Hitman: Agent 47, this Hitman movie has an intriguing formula that should have worked. However, just like its cast of stars, it flew just below the line of notoriety and became largely forgettable.