Review: Have you ever been fond of term ‘First-Person Shooter’ a.k.a FPS? If your answer is ‘yes’, then Hardcore Henry is definitely your movie. Well, if your answer is ‘no’, then this is a whole new cinematic experience for you.
Ilya Naishuller’s Hardcore Henry is your ultra-violent FPS dream comes into screen. It’s an ambitious 90-minute roller-coaster of hyper-energized actions presented from first-person point of view like you’ve never seen before. It’s campy, it’s over-the-top, and it’s gory at its finest.
Henry, whose eyes you’re borrowing, wakes up finding himself brought back to life as a cybernetic super soldier. No memories and no voice, Henry meets beautiful Estelle (Haley Bennett) who claims to be his former wife. The reunion won’t last 10 minutes when a telekinetic mad villain, Akan (Danila Kozlovsky), enters, kidnaps Estelle and attacks Henry.
Akan’s detaining Estelle and is trying to manufacture dozens of cybernetic super soldiers just like Henry to rule the world. Those are enough reasons for Henry to rampage around Moscow with occasional helps from Jimmy (Sharlto Copley) – a direct-from-video-game guide which is constantly killed off and respawning in different forms.
Hardcore Henry is highly stylized and beautifully choreographed. All the movements, although sometimes becomes too excessive and dazing, look very spontaneous but neatly rehearsed at once; kudos to the advanced technology that supports the cinematography and editing.
The first-person perspective is all that matters. It gives new insight to all the most brutal B-movie action sequences from a whole new POV. The jumps, the kicks, the rush, the shots, the blood, the fire and everything action aficionados crave to see from our hero’s perspective might jump-top your expectation.
There’s a moment when the action sequences grow tiring, over an hour full of non-stop adrenaline rush, but then there’s where Sharlto Copley’s Jimmy comes in handy. The nature of his character is better kept unraveled until you figure out yourself. Jimmy comes giving balance among the snafus Hardcore Henry has presented mercilessly.
The major twist during the third-act is surprisingly predictable as it poses as a continuity issue to the straightforward plot. However, the best way to enjoy Hardcore Henry is neglecting its lack of ‘real’ plot and characterizations. Imagine you’re playing a video game which has gone on auto-pilot mode, then you know what the ‘Hardcore’ title really means.
Hardcore Henry (2016)