To be honest the title is misleading this isn’t about a fight between Frank Martin and Agent 47. But if you are here for that, the answer is simple, Frank Martin would kick the Hitman’s ass if he was played by Jason Statham, and if he isn’t played by The Stath, who cares! The real story is why have these two franchises being rebooted? Although perfectly functional and relatively entertaining B action movies, they are totally pointless. The biggest problem is the total lack of originality. Given the limitations of the premise the films would never have been totally original, but they could at least have introduced new characters, a different transporter with his own code and a different agent with his own angst.
For those not familiar with the two franchises: Frank Martin is the transporter, he will transport a package anywhere, anytime, for a cost, just don’t be late as he won’t wait for you. Hitman is the story of, Agent 47 and assassin for hire, who is genetically engineered or a clone or something like that. Both franchises have seen recent reboots, Hitman: Agent 47 and The Transporter Refuelled. Prior to these new movies, The Transporter consisted of three movie between 2002 and 2008, all three starring Jason Statham as Frank Martin, The Transporter. There was also a TV series of twelve episodes between 2012 and 2014 (I haven’t seen the TV show) Hitman is a successful video game franchise with a novel adaptation and a movie starring Timothy Olyphant as Agent 47.
Transporter Refuelled sees a new actor Ed Skreintake on the role of Frank Martin, they make two fundamental mistakes. While Statham looks like a fighter, Ed Skrein looks like a cross between a twig and a Kelvin Kline model. Secondly they try to give him a background and back story, the simplicity and mystery of the character where part of its charm. The introduction of the father character is clearly aiming for a Last Crusade vibe but misses the mark without the chemistry and charm of Ford and Connery. But how original was the original film? Director Luc Besson is the first to admit the influence of The Hire, a series of short films commissioned by BMW to promote their cars. The films starred Clive Owen as “the Driver” and were directed by a series of Hollywood directors. Hitman (2007) had its problems but Timothy Olyphant is always a watchable screen presence, as is Olga Kurylenko. Hitman: Agent 47 is lumbered with Rupert Friend, a fine actor (see Starred Up) but presence and gravitas the role requires. The plot manages to be both thin and convoluted at the same time.
So why did these films get made? Money! Every new idea is a risk but every franchise no matter how bad makes money. But it isn’t all bad, for all its sequels and reboots, companies like EuropaCorp have also made some great original movies.