I Watched Hitman Just to Spend Time With Timothy Olyphant

I Watched Hitman Just to Spend Time With Timothy Olyphant

9 min read

It embarrasses me to admit it now, but there was a time when I confused Timothy Olyphant and Josh Duhamel. In fact, it's worse than that. I knew who Duhamel was. He was in Transformers. He was Mr. Fergie. Olyphant was just a guy that looked sorta like him and popped up enough to confuse me.

Then I watched Justified. And I wondered how I could ever be so stupid.

Timothy Olyphant is Seth Bullock. He's Raylan Givens. He's a Boba Fett cosplayer named Cobb Vanth. Hell, he's Danny Cordray for 3 episodes of The Office. He's all that and more. Duhamel wishes he was Olyphant.1

After watching Justified and Deadwood, I became a Olyphant super-fan. I don't have his likeness tattooed on my body and I haven't started a fan club (yet), but I can spell his name without looking it up. That doesn't sound all that impressive, especially when you look at it (as you probably are, right now, if for no other reason than to gauge my intelligence). But trust me: It's a deceptively tricky name.

Olyphant quickly supplanted Nathan Fillion as my favorite B-list actor–though Fillion forever remains my Captain–with Jon Bernthal finishing out the trifecta of Awesome Actors Who Should Be In Everything. Trust me when I say nobody was happier to see Olyphant and Fillion share the screen in Santa Clarita Diet. I don't know exactly how I reacted, but from the side-eye my wife gave me, it wasn't manly or attractive.2

I've been working through Olyphant's back catalog to fill-in with releases I missed, either because I thought he was Josh Duhamel at the time or because the project looked not-good. But since Justified: City Primeval doesn't come out for another two weeks, I needed to get creative for my Olyphant fix.

Which brings us to Hitman, one of those not-good movies I initially skipped. It's based on a video game series of the same name, where you play a bald assassin who loves three-piece suits and stuffing bodies into dumpsters. That's pretty much as deep as the game gets. The overarching story is just there to get you from one soon-to-be corpse to the next. I've played several of the games but can't recall a single plot point. Apart from the ingenius and often hilarious options to execute your contract, the game is entirely forgettable.

Naturally, Hollywood looked at the game and said, "This will make an incredible movie! Never mind that the main character is reminiscent of Lurch and there's no story. You know what–let's throw in an 80s-style gratuitous topless scene. Our market data says teenagers love boobs."

I don't ascribe much faith in aggregate scores as a measure of a movie's quality, but in my experience, if everyone says a movie sucks, it probably does. Hitman has a lot of green in its ledger.3

Rotten tomatoes screenshot Hitman lousy movie
I included the summary consensus because it captures the salient points, though I found the quantity of violence agreeable.

A quick word about the film, in case you're curious or a masochist–it's mindless entertainment, literally. Nothing makes any sense. The plot, the characters, the fact that our hero walks around with a barcode tattooed on the back of his head and somehow nobody notices.4 It's so dumb, my IQ dropped 20 points just from watching it. But I was entertained. The action scenes are surprisingly good. They're a bit reminiscent of John Wick's bullet ballet. I still wouldn't recommend Hitman unless you are an immortal with unlimited free time or an enormous Oly-fan.

The good news, from my perspective: Olyphant is excellent. If you're familiar with his work, he excels at emoting scarcely-controlled, I'm-gonna-lose-my-shit anger. The man can seethe. Fans of Deadwood know what I'm talking about.

Timothy Olyphant seth bullock angry seethe
Olyphant, as Seth Bullock, responding to a complement. Image: HBO