“The Killer,” David Fincher’s hitman thriller, stars Michael Fassbender as a nameless assassin who embarks on an international vendetta after a hit gone wrong puts his life in danger. Despite what some might derive from the title, “The Killer” is more interested in the planning, traveling and happenings in between killings. As the titular character states in one of his many voiceovers, “It’s the idle hours that most often lead a man to ruin.” The film is an exacting crime procedural, sometimes falling victim to its self-imposed approach.

In a lengthy introduction of sorts, the killer monologues about many things, but most thoughts end with him preaching about his fatalistic credo. He is also a man of many mannerisms with his “Work Mix” playlist and persistent usage of a heart rate monitor. To top it off, he’s as smart as a whip with a backlog of facts. If one were to read the film’s synopsis or this brief characterization, he might register as a familiar neurotic personality, a timeworn portrayal of a hired gun.

David Fincher and screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker, adapting the comic of the same name, know this, but their efforts to color this assassin are simply too sparse and starkly uninteresting. Sure, it’s amusing that the above-mentioned playlist only has music from the Smiths or that he eats McDonald’s between shifts like any other person, but all of this is superficial. Though the script’s no-frills approach is a part of the film’s DNA, it doesn’t help that the existing conversations are juttingly penned.

Something that differentiates this character is the film’s usage of large corporations in its framework, creating a modern, 21st century hitman. It’s surface level, but the sight of a killer picking up gear from an Amazon locker or complaining about why Airbnbs make for bad foxholes is admittedly humorous. The film also makes clear parallels between the killer’s criminal world and the corporate one and the impersonal goals of each one.

Even if these aspects waver, what remains certain is Michael Fassbender’s turn as the killer. Expectedly, he’s a man of little words, but with a wince here and a twitch of the eye there, these scintillas prove to be enough. Through his steely, unblinking expression, there is an understanding that his mind is doing mental gymnastics, always calculating and mulling.

Once the manhunt ensues, we see the killer going through the motions step by step: prepping for a hit, then executing it. Though it’s nothing new, Fincher’s signature sepia grading and airtight editing give the professionalism in action a dirty, exciting edge and a reminder of why these stories are so loved and emulated. When the spade work is finished, and zero-hour strikes, the rigidity of the killer’s beliefs and mental are put to the test — his actual workmanship wavering is never really in question, despite the hit gone wrong that puts everything in motion.

The structure of these confrontations varies in regards to narrative importance, but its resemblance to a pulp genre film is a welcome decision. Proof of concept is found in the name choices of supporting players such as the Expert (Tilda Swinton) and the Brute (Sala Baker) and have their roles be just that. However cliché and dimensional these characters were, their limited screen time was a virtue.

Verdict: Though it’s a serviceable thriller, “The Killer” lacks a bite with its interesting choices, feeling slight against a faint, predictable story.