- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 7, 2016

A popular video game character returned to movie theaters last year, and neither thrilled critics or movie audiences.

Hoping for some financial redemption, Hitman: Agent 47(20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Rated R, $39.99, 98 minutes) arrives on Blu-ray with some tempting extras to connect with fans of developer Square Enix’s third-person action franchise.

The story offers Agent 47, a cloned human, methodical killing machine who apparently goes rogue from his organization, called the Syndicate, to find the scientist responsible for the original “Agent” program and keep him from his bosses.

He finds help from the scientist’s daughter while during the search and deals with a formidable foe, a super-agent (Zachary Quinto) with subdural body armor no less, looking to also find the scientist.

Actor Rupert Friend (“Homeland”) is perfect as Agent 47 with the right attitude and combat abilities while wielding a pair of signature silverballer pistols and wearing an impeccably tailored black suit, white shirt and red tie to hide the bar code on the back of his bald head.

Much like his video-game counterpart, his Agent 47 is skilled in explosives, knives, automatic weapons, a fiber wire garrote, the art of disguise and can plot multi-point strategies to stealthily and brazenly take out targets.

Despite the movie failing to be an amalgam between a poor man’s versions of the thriller “John Wick,” and “The Terminator,” director Aleksander Bach maintains respectful treatment to the gaming source material.

The digital transfer offers some spectacular shots of Singapore and Berlin.

Fans will appreciate the extras that first include a pop-up information track played during the movie that presents fact nuggets on the history of the video game (i.e., the first “Hitman” game required two years of development), animated storyboards, concept art and character

The track also provides a running tally of how many humans Agents 47 has killed or injured on screen with detail down to headshots and signature kills. To offer a perspective to the violent content, he quickly amasses 27 non-target casualties (all bad guys) in one scene alone.

Next, owners get a 28-page, virtual comic book from Boom! Studios that acts as prequel to the movie. Navigation to view each page (no individual panel inspection) can be set to manual or auto-advance using the Blu-ray player’s controller. It would have been nice if it had been a motion comic rather than static images.

The package also includes a hard copy, full-color mini comic of the prequel seen on the disc.

Finally, a collection of deleted scenes, photo and poster galleries, and promotional featurettes focus on the authenticity of the film version of the character, the action-packed firefights and close-quarter combat scenes, including one involving a jet engine.

However, what’s stunning to the package is not allowing an easy way to check out any version of the “Hitman” video game series.

20th Century Fox could have easily teamed up with the developer to offer a download code to appreciate either the current mobile game “Hitman: Sniper” or even a few levels of the last video game “Hitman: Absolution” for those watching the film on the PlayStation entertainment console.

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