Hall of Fame Speech #27: Hitman: Agent 47

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our sixth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. As is typical there will be films we watched five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the ninth (eleventh?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. This film is kind of like Here on Earth, except instead of Chris Klein smooching Leelee Sobieski, it is bad guys’ bodies falling three stories and smooching banisters. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Hitman: Agent 47

Every year we choose six films for potential induction to the Hall of Fame, but two of them battle it out to get the fifth spot. This year that contest was between The Avengers (1998) and Hitman: Agent 47. And the winner this year was Hitman: Bodies Hitting Banisters. It isn’t uncommon that we induct a film where I can’t remember a thing about it prior to the review. This time, there is probably a reason for it: this was only our fourth BMT Live! ever. So naturally the only thing I could remember was being desperately trapped in a theater watching multiple bad guys’ falling three stories and hitting banisters. But trust me, there is a lot more to it than that.

It has been five years since we watched the film. But what do I remember?

  • What? I literally just told you that: bodies hitting banisters! But because of my lapse in memory I had to cheat a bit and look at an old recap for the rest of it.
  • I distinctly remember that my recap was all about how unpleasant the experience of watching bodies falling multiple stories onto banisters which is why I mentioned it like five times so far.
  • It was BMT Live! before BMT Live! We wouldn’t officially start the category until a year later, and so it was actually only our fourth film we watched in theaters for BMT.
  • And in Jamie’s showing half the theater walked out (not joking).
  • I remember it is globetrotting and ends in Singapore in that beautiful public garden.
  • It was also a rare appearance of the BMT:CSI:SVU (we’re the special victims). Mostly to note the film’s bizarre marketing campaign.

So which do I think is the most important? Prior to viewing I was convinced that the key was going to be the combination of how unpleasant it was and it being a BMT Live! I thought that if it were just a regular BMT I would have half-watched it and been like “blah”. It definitely seemed to represent the unpleasantly violent action films of the 2010s combined with that trapped animal feeling of BMT Live! As I desperately attempted to gnaw my own foot off to escape the trap that is BMT alas, rules rules rules. There was nothing to be done but bear it and then induct it into the Hall of Fame, right?

But really it is one of the last bastions of really really terrible directing and also what I ultimately described as being “aggressively adapted”. For a video game film it could actually be the worst adaptation ever. Hitman where Agent 47 don’t give a fuck and just murders people with helicopters? That doesn’t sound right. At least Super Mario Bros. was interesting. This managed to be unpleasantly violent, jokey, nonsensical, and plotless. Truely a quadruple threat.

How did the rewatch go? Way better than I expected. I was convinced this was going to lose handily to The Avengers (1998), but that was a boring nothing film. This? This is genuinely the worst video game adaptation ever and oddly entertaining in its own way. Overly violent, a slap in the face to established lore, horrible direction, a British hitman who is exclusively interacting with Europeans but puts on a fake American accent despite the video game character being voiced by a South African. Like … what?! It apparently is cobbled together from a number of the Hitman games, but you can hardly tell, it just seems like they went with Female Hitman and left it at that.

And of course bodies hitting banisters. They really one-two punch you early and knock you back on your heels. Meanwhile they are cracking jokes for the last two-thirds of the film. The best part? I couldn’t even tell they were jokes. I could only tell because Jamie wrote in his recap back in the day that the movie was overflowing with jokes. And then I realized that when Hitman deadpans: “Moths. Italian wool, they love it.” That is meant to be a joke. So let’s see. Overly violent film that could only be tolerated by Hostel fans … and also a jokey script that would put even Marvel to shame. A stunning decision by a director who appears to have been plucked off the street to make a giant studio film.

Every year I must remind our final inductee that there is no shame in getting that final fifth spot. Quite the opposite. You took on a legendary film in The Avengers (1998) and took it down by being an over the top disasterpiece … but who am I really kidding? It is all about ‘dem bodies hitting banisters babyyyyyyyyyyyy. Welcome to the Hall of Fame Hitman: Agent 47.


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