Hardcore Henry Movie Review: A bizarre piece of enjoyment!
|FULL REVIEW OF 2016 RELEASED ‘HARDCORE HENRY’
Ok. Let me get one thing straight from the start. You haven’t watched anything like this before. Trust me! We all have played FPS games of different kinds and genres and have enjoyed it to the fullest, but shooting a whole movie in first-person perspective? That is wild! Hardcore Henry has been entirely shot with the help of GoPro camera putting the audience on the first gear with the lead character of Henry. It is a new technique of film-making and from the looks of it, it is exciting and here to stay.
Hardcore Henry starts with Henry being operated by his wife Estelle (Haley Bennett) who brings him back to life and makes him half-cyborg half-human, without his speech ability. The audiences are not allowed to catch their breath as Henry is thrown into a visceral ride of blood and mayhem. He is pitted against Akan (Danila Kozlovsky), who is a telekinetic psycho warlord and wants to rule the world with the help of his bio-engineered super-soldiers. He kidnaps Estelle and Henry is forced to go after Akan and his henchmen. He runs through the streets of Moscow fighting off Akan’s soldiers as well as trying to keep himself in a stable condition. He gets help from Jimmy (Sharlto Copley) who dies saving Henry (quite a few times actually).
The USP of Hardcore Henry is its stylized action, and the way it has been filmed. Henry makes use of bricks, grenades, knives and fists to fight the bad guys and it is quite awesome to view all this in first-person perspective. Amidst all this action, there are a few insane sequences which may be hard to digest for some. There is a chase sequence when Henry chases Akan’s guys on a bike with Machine-gun and blows the hell out of them. Another sequence in the forest where a tank shows up out of nowhere is pure adrenaline. As an action-junkie, I loved all this. But mind you, its not always smooth; the third act will start taking a toll on you as the action gets cluttered and repetitive. Then it is fun in bits and parts. The last sequence between Akan and Henry feels over the top and silly and at the same time, the fight with his bio-engineered soldiers is crazy and exhausting.
The one person who gets the limelight amidst all this insanity is Sharlto Copley as Jimmy. He gives a terrific performance and plays a role, understanding which will leave you scratching your head throughout the movie. Special mention will go to his junkie character running a brothel. Totally bonkers! His is a fascinating screen presence which uplifts the movie in many ways.
Shooting from a first-person perspective is a difficult job and the technical team have done a wonderful job at that. Ilya Naishuller, the director, has executed all this in a decent manner. The editing (Steve Mirkovich) is also very good as Henry jumps from one place to another without you realizing it. We are locked into that view for the whole 95 odd minutes and that is an achievement in itself. Hardcore Henry is not a movie for everyone. The insanity level mixed with the hyper violent tone may be an issue for some but again, the film-makers clearly know what they made and for whom, and there is no doubt that there is enjoyment in all this. One can’t deny the fact that Hardcore Henry is ambitious (and impressive) in nature. This type of film-making can actually see a lot more takers in the future and Hardcore Henry would be the pioneer for that.