Director: Ilya Naishuller
Writers: Will Stewart, Ilya Naishuller
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett, Andrei Dementiev, Tim Roth, Svetlana Ustinova, Darya Charusha, Oleg Poddubnyy, Will Stewart, Jack Hahn, Cyrus Arnold, Jake Karlen, Ilya Naishuller, Martin Cooke, Sergey Chekrygin
Synopsis: A first-person action film from the eyes of Henry, who's resurrected from death with no memory. He must discover his identity and save his wife from a warlord with a plan to bio-engineer soldiers.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for non-stop bloody brutal violence and mayhem, language throughout, sexual content/nudity and drug use
2 / 10
- Great concept in theory to have an entire film shot from a first person perspective.
- Action scenes were well directed
- Special effects were good.
- Acting was good; particularly Sharlto Copley.
- The story was non existent, as it's just a straight up action movie with lots of violence, and nudity.
- Shaky cam work tends to get annoying
- While the novelty of this film is great, it wears off after the first act.
- Very little character development.
Who needs a story when you have good old fashion blood and violence to keep you entertained.
While "Hardcore Henry" sounds like an interesting concept in principal, the reality is that it kind of sucks. If you haven't heard about this movie by now, it's essentially the first action film to be shot entirely from a first person perspective. Think "Doom" or "BioShock" if they were turned into movies. Granted, this isn't the first time we've seen "first person point of view" in film before, as "Brothers Grimsby" did that for some of it's action scenes earlier this year, and "Ernest Saves Christmas" even had a scene shot in first person perspective, so this is hardly a new concept.
The story follows a cyborg named Henry, who's essentially an avatar for the audience. He doesn't speak, nor do we ever know what he looks like.
And given the fact that he can't speak, it's safe to say there isn't a lot of down time in between action scenes, nor is there a lot of exposition either. Nope, all you get is a brief introductory, as Henry wakes up to see his beautiful wife, Estelle (Haley Bennett), who happens to be a scientist that helped revive him. He has no memory of her, or anything beyond what she tells him to believe. Some deranged psycho shows up named Akan (Danila Kozlovsky), and he steals Henry's girl. Sure, he tries to stop him, but the bastard has telekentic powers, so he's able to get away with her. Afterwards, Henry goes on an all out killing spree to try to get her back. Along the way, you're able to witness everything that Henry sees. All the blood gushing fun, and even some of the steamy moments at the brothel house.
Henry inevitably meets an ally by the name of Jimmy (Sharlto Copley). Although he's physically disabled, he's able to use various robotic avatars to aid Henry through part of his journey. Hell, he can even use them to get laid, and do a few dance numbers as well, but I digress.
To be honest, this film wasn't my cup of tea. While I'm sure die hard action gurus that just want to get their fix of seeing blood and guts being spilled everywhere will enjoy this movie; along with a steamy brothel scene with a harem of sexy girls. But if you're like me and you yearn for something with a bit more substance to go with the action, then chances are you're going to find yourself getting bored after the first act, as the novelty starts to wear off by that point.
As for the cinematography, I didn't care for it because of how shaky it was. Granted, I know there was going to be a lot of shaky cam action going into this film because of it's obvious setup. However, it tends to get annoying, and it makes it hard to follow what's going on half the time.
Overall, I can definitely see this film appealing to some audiences that just want to see people dying in the most violent and goriest ways imaginable, but if you ask me, it's not worth it. Watching "Hardcore Henry" is the equivalent of eating sugar straight up with a spoon. Sure you may get your sugar fix directly that way, but it'll never give you the pure satisfaction of tasting said sugar with something that would actually balance out that rich taste.
Like the sugar analogy, you'll definitely get your fix of action and gore, but it's too sweet without the substance of a well written story to balance it all out. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy this movie on a conceptual level, but it's not a great idea in practice. Unless you just want to see an action film where you can imagine yourself as the main protagonist, then I'd avoid this one at all costs.
The Music Video that inspired this film (Warning: This Youtube video has images of blood and violence)
Ced Yong from Asia on May 20, 2016:
I missed this, and was kicking myself for it. After reading your review, hmmmm. I hate shaky cam and FPS usually gives me a headache. Might give this a miss ultimately.