Have you ever played a First Person Shooter video game, and been like “shit, this would be a lot of fun to watch on a big screen? Do you like action movies? Do you like original films? well Hardcore Henry is for you!
I remember my brother showing me and my best friend the trailer a couple of months before it came out, and I remember being like “YUP THIS IS WHAT I WANT AND NEED SIGN ME UP, WHEN DOES IT COME OUT!?” the nice thing is, the release date for Hardcore Henry was 2 days after I finished my 2 exams for university, so this was a little gift to myself after being done, and boy what a gift it was.
Hardcore Henry takes the action movie, twists it on its head, and then adds its own unique and original elements to it…and holy crap is it ever fun.
Hardcore Henry is about a man named Henry (did you expect him to be named something else?) who is resurrected from death with no memory and no voice, and he must save his wife from a telekinetic warlord with a plan to bio-engineer soldiers.
The film is written and directed by Ilya Naishuller and additional writing was done by Will Stewart. This was actually Ilya Naishuller’s first film, his only other credits was a short film called “Biting Elbows: Bad Motherfucker” (2013) and he also wrote a character for Overkill’s game Payday 2 (2013). I honestly think Naishuller played all these games, and was like, we should adapt a completely first person character to the big screen. We’ll take the controller from the player, and put it in the hands of the director and the character and just make a fun action movie. The originality comes in how the movie is filmed, everything is shot using GoPros, so its all from a first person perspective, and everything is from Henry’s point of view for an hour and 40 minutes. That may turn a lot of people off, being in first person, but it definitely works for the movie, its like you’re playing a video game. But I will say that I got a little nauseated the first time I watched this movie in theatres, as there was instances of shaky cam, especially in chase scenes on foot where Henry is moving his head back and forth, and if you’re not used to that, it can get a little nauseating.
There are only 2 well known actors in this movie, one of them is the always brilliant Sharlto Copley, I’ve liked all the films I have seen him in. His filmography consists of District 9 (2009), The A-Team (2010), Elysium (2013), Maleficent (2014), Chappie (2015), The Hollars (2016), and he has a new film called Free Fire thats due out in 2017. He’s always made really interesting choices in the roles he’s taken, most of them being roles for director Neill Bloomkamp, but he is always fun to watch. I really liked his character(s) in Hardcore Henry, I won’t spoil it, but its a cool little thing that he’s a part of in this movie. I thought he was the best character in the movie, he was just fun to watch and you never quite knew where he was going to pop up.
The other well known actor in this movie is Tim Roth, who is more of a cameo than anything else, he plays Henry’s Father. His other roles consist of Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Funny Games (2007), Arbitrage (2012), Selma (2014), The Hateful Eight (2015), and Mr. Right (2015). I also have always liked his acting, and for the short period he was in the movie, it was passable, It would have been nice to have a little more Tim Roth in it, but then the movie wouldn’t just be constant action.
I really thought that the antagonist, the telekinesis warlord, was my favorite character. As any great action movie villain, he was ridiculously over the top, in the look and in his mannerisms. The actor who plays him is named Danila Kozlovsky. Definitely a highlight of his movie was his character.
I think its good and bad that they didn’t dwell on backstory, we knew the essentials for the plot. But I don’t think we knew enough, as there were some questions left unanswered. There were some plot holes, there were also a lot of bullet holes in dudes, I guess it evened out. They didn’t set out making this movie, they set out to make a great, fun and dumb action movie, and thats what in my eyes they accomplished.
Seeing everything from a first person perspective, you’re right in the action. You feel like you’re playing a game, and I think it was interesting that they left Henry voiceless. As it leaves it up to the audience to use their imagination to answer people or to talk for Henry. It also added some fun parts where Henry would use his hands to talk or to express himself.
There was also some really fun comedy in this movie, like this movie was over the top in the best way. If you went into this movie thinking it was going to be tame, you may want to find something else. There were some over the top lines, but the action and the violence are over the top as well. Probably should’ve mentioned that, if you can’t handle violence, steer clear of this one, as its an hour and a half of gun fights, knife stabs and explosions.
The story was there as a foundation to build the action scenes on. The action scenes were just a lot of fun to watch, and to see. The chase scenes were cool, but very nauseating, but thats too be expected from a first person film.
Like any good action movie though, the story isn’t great, but the action is. I would consider this a B-movie action movie, if you go in expecting that, you’ll have a lot of fun. If you go in expecting this amazing action movie that defies the action genre, you may want to look elsewhere. This does a lot of new and fun things, but I don’t think many of them will catch on. The first person stuff is too jarring for hollywood action movies, and i’m quite okay with it. Keep pushing the genre, but don’t forget some really cool movies that came out that dared to do things differently, like this one.
As you can tell my negatives are the story and plot holes, but that is all made up for, by being a really fun, highly entertaining and adrenaline fuelled thrill ride. If you can turn off your brain, and just enjoy a fun action movie, then this is for you. If you can’t turn off your brain and over analyze everything in movies and can’t get around that feeling, then stay clear, this movie isn’t for you.
This movie is ridiculous, this movie is dumb, this movie is fun, this movie is entertaining in the best possible way.
I give Hardcore Henry a 3.5/5.
Thanks to my old friend Danielle for the recommendation of reviewing this film, because after a consensus between the two of us, we thought not enough people have seen this film and she recommended that I review it!
Until Next Time!
**Note – Inspirational Movie Monday is a go, please check out the previous couple if you need some inspiration, anytime and any day of the week. Each monday there will be a new post to add to the inspiration, so stay tuned!**
**Note 2 – I will be seeing Deepwater Horizon tomorrow night, so stay tuned tomorrow or early Thursday morning for my review of the new Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg film!**