In a world where there has been a billion game titled Call of Duty, here comes Hardcore Henry, with a similar visionary experience. But will this crazy, breakthrough technique, rise to the occasion? Or will this film explode into dust, leaving no reminisce of legacy behind?
Hardcore Henry takes us on an action-packed adventure throughout the backdrop of Russia. The film begins with Henry, waking up in a lab, with no memory of who he is, as a woman (Haley Bennett) reattaches his arm and leg. When the current scene leads to chaos, Henry finds out that he is a hardcore guy who can kick people’s ass! The premise of this film takes you on an adventure, through Henry’s eyes, as he seeks revenge on a company who put him in this situation.
Now, Hardcore Henry is without a doubt action-packed. The stunts throughout this film are simply amazing. It’s a constant go, go, go! However, as the viewer, you really don’t get much time to catch your breath, or to even focus on something that isn’t action. Should I have expected anything less from this film, when the trailer and poster completely show how crazy this movie will be? I say, no. I wanted this movie to be breathtaking, but for some reason Hardcore Henry is incomplete.
I’ll go into detail about what lacked, but I want to acknowledge the best character, Jimmy, played by the talented Sharlto Copley. Jimmy, is what often has you laughing throughout this film. His versatile character, along with his crazy antics, impressed me on so many levels. Props to Copley for doing an amazing job. But besides Copley, I wasn’t wowed with the film. See, let’s talk about the first person camera experience. I was excited for what was going to be the first major, first-person, movie experience. We’ve seen types of similar camera work in films such as Cloverfield or The Blair Witch Project. If you recall when Cloverfield was released, people were vomiting in theatres, having seizures, or plain out left because they couldn’t handle the constant camera movements. In Hardcore Henry, the film never pushed me into feeling nauseas, but it did become overwhelming at times. One seen in particular, we see Henry fighting several men at a time. For me, I couldn’t tell where to look. The camera kept turning before I got a chance to see what had just happened. Also, my personal experience watching this, I never felt like I was this character. I felt as though I was watching this man fight his way for revenge. The camera was chaotic at times, but what really rubbed me the wrong way was the lack of story. The overall plot of this film never lived up to what I personally think can make up a great action film. Here’s how the movie went: constant action, get a phone call, go to another location, constant action. It was unbelievably repetitive, which caused me to be a bit bored. And who gets bored in an action movie?
Here is what I’m going to suggest to movie fans. I suggest to you, go see it in theatres, because overall the film is a fun experience. But if you don’t care for those first person shots, I suggest to watch it when it comes out on video. With Hardcore Henry’s lack of plot and storyline, and chaotic cameras, it will leave you unsatisfied, while you leave the theatre with a headache.
Directed by: Ilya Naishuller
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Tim Roth, and Haley Bennett