Agent 47 Is Back on The Big Screen, with New Guns

No action movie trope got more played out in the early '00s than a hero, male or female, dual-wielding pistols. Where did it start? You could argue that Agent 47 of the Hitman series of video games and movies began the trend. And the Bald One is back, starting today.

Hitman's first entry for next-generation consoles, simply titled "Hitman," is set for release in December. Today, though, fans get to check out Hollywood's latest attempt to bring the popular stealth/strategy/shooter video game series to the big screen. This time, Rupert Friend (who starred in Showtime's "Homeland") takes up the role of the barcoded, genetically engineered super assassin with a penchant for twin pistols in "Hitman: Agent 47."

In the games, Agent 47's signature weapons are a pair of custom stainless AMT Hardballer pistols, called Silverballers. The real Hardballers were a series of beefy handguns based on the 1911 made by Arcadia Machine & Tool from 1977 until 2002. The Hardballer's claim to fame? It was the first production 1911-pattern pistol that was entirely stainless steel.

One of Agent 47's Silverballer pistols from the games.

Unfortunately, the signature Silverballers didn't make it into the first movie based on the games, "Hitman" (2007). Timothy Olyphant (of "Justified" fame) played Agent 47 and carried two stainless Para-Ordnance P18.9 pistols instead.  Since they're also 1911 clones, the P18s look a lot like the signature Hardballers, but they didn't have the right wood grips with polymer finger grooves that look a lot like these American Legend grips from Pachmayr, instead opting for plain black slabs. In production materials and on the film's website, they were still referred to as Silverballers. The movie fizzled and underwhelmed the game's fanbase, like so many video-game-based movies of that decade.

"Hitman" from 2007 starring Timothy Olyphant.
Agent 47's kit from Hitman (2007) featuring the twin Silverballers.

Today we'll see Friend's take on Agent 47, but he won't have a pair Hardballers somehow covertly hidden under a tailored suit jacket, either. Instead, he's dual-wielding old-school satin nickel 1911A1 pistols from Remington with plain black checkered grips, apparently going for a minimalist look. These 1911s are a good choice, in that the slide serrations are similar to the Hardballer and it has a spur hammer like the game's Silverballers, not a combat hammer as on the P18. You have to wonder why neither film has used AMT Hardballers. They aren't made any longer, but they're not exactly rare.

We'll see if this Agent 47 has a bit more staying power than the one from eight years ago. From the trailer, we see he at least retained the video-game ability to change clothes in just a couple seconds. Handy.

Remington satin nickel 1911A1s are used in the new "Hitman: Agent 47" movie.
Rupert Friend as Agent 47.