You remember nothing. Mainly because you’ve just been brought back from the dead by your wife. She tells you that your name is Henry. Five minutes later, you are being shot at, your wife has been kidnapped, and you should probably go get her back. Who’s got her? His name’s Akan; he’s a powerful warlord with an army of mercenaries, and a plan for world domination. You’re also in an unfamiliar city of Moscow, and everyone wants you dead. Everyone except for a mysterious British fellow called Jimmy. He may be on your side, but you aren’t sure. If you can survive the insanity, and solve the mystery, you might just discover your purpose and the truth behind your identity. Good luck, Henry. You’re likely going to need it…
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett, Tim Roth, Andrey Dementyev, Dasha Charusha, Sveta Ustinova
Director: Ilya Naishuller
Writer: Ilya Naishuller
Thrill rides can be a wonderful experience provided they don’t spin around too much. Watching Hardcore Henry is akin to a thrill ride and boy does it spin!
From the start, it’s clear this isn’t your typical action flick. The POV is strictly first person which provides a unique opportunity to explore a different narrative style. While this vantage point is common in video games, with movies, we typically don’t see this. What director Ilya Naishuller has created with a GoPro and limited budget is pretty amazing.
The movie opens ups with Henry being resuscitated by a Doctor named Estelle (Haley Bennett). Apparently something awful had happened to Henry as his arm and leg are dismembered. Robotic parts are soon connected to Henry which of course turns him into a bionic super force. The events that follow serve only as a foundation to showcase Henry’s new powers. Along the way we’re introduced to a crazy dude named Akan (Danila Kozlovsky) and hilarious supporting antagonist named Jimmy (Sharlto Copley)
The storyline is forgettable and acting subpar but that really doesn’t matter. The real star is the first person POV and full ensemble of delicious action sequences. This perspective worked so well that future action films might have to take note. Of course, any gamer will appreciate Hardcore Henry’s sequences as they seem lifted from “Call of Duty” and “Halo”. Hell, there were ammo stashes, grenade chucking and even wall strafing. It’s as if every FPS cliche was married and brought to life in a visual smorgasbord of awesomeness and as a gamer I loved every minute it.
Perhaps Hardcore Henry may be over the top and somewhat gimmicky but boy was it fun!
Go see it and appreciate Naishuller’s Thrill Ride but be warned, there’s lots of spinning!