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By Mark Bell | December 10, 2012

To those around him, he’s known only as the Mystery Man (Georgie Daburas). A new hitman on the scene, Mystery Man goes about his contracted killings with the enthusiasm of a novice but the poise of a true professional. As in any good story about a hitman, however, soon things become complicated as Mystery Man meets a love interest, Eva (Laura Adkin), finds himself mixed up in a contract with other professionals when a hit goes wrong and becomes the focus of two cops, Detectives Madsen (Tim Lyle) and Cole (Jackie Froese), who just refuse to stop investigating.

While I’m reviewing Scott Staven’s Hitman 101 as a singular feature film, the entire project was originally created as a webseries, and the “feature film” is actually all the segments connected into a “Watch As One” option. While this could’ve resulted in an episodic mess that doesn’t really flow all that well together, the actual result is that all of it comes together, and truly works, as well in a single-viewing form as it does as a webseries.

While the segments do have some episodic elements to them that cannot be avoided, the overall narrative is so tight that the shorter tales only serve to complement the main story arc, as it should be. And while that story may not generally be the most original (hitman tales are starting to become pretty rote nowadays), there are enough twists in this one to keep it interesting, and the audience engaged.

On top of the that, the visuals look great and the action sequences are rock solid; and its not all gun-play, either. Instances involving hand-to-hand combat are extremely well-choreographed. For an action series or film, it delivers the goods.

It also delivers on some unexpected laughs. There are moments, particularly one face-off between Mystery Man and a rival hitman, that wind up being really funny. It’s just another element that adds up to making Hitman 101 so much fun.

One of the great side effects of this being a webseries first is, if you’re unsure if it’s your speed, you can always just watch the first episode, and then go from there. If you do dig it, the episodes will fly by and next thing you know, you’ll have seen the same “feature film” that I have (or you could look at it like marathon-watching a season of your favorite television show). The website even has a few bonus episodes that add a bit more light to the series and where it could go next, if it continues.

Overall, Hitman 101 is great no matter how you watch it. Personally, I’m glad I saw it as a feature because I’d imagine it would be pretty torturous to follow the series as they are put up on the web, and then have to wait for the next episode (seriously, once you start watching, you want them to keep going). I had a blast with Hitman 101, and I can’t wait to see what the filmmakers come up with next.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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