Saturday, January 19th, 2019

Hardcore Henry

Posted on April 19, 2016 in Arts & Culture
By USM Free Press

Online Content

By: John Rocker, Free Press Staff

Hardcore Henry is an action movie directed by Ilya Naishuller. The majority of the film takes place from perspective of a man named Henry, a man who is resurrected with cybernetic technology in a lab by his wife Estelle (Haley Bennett). Henry cannot remember how he ended up in the lab in the first place. Within minutes of waking up, a man named Akan (Danila Kozlovsky), who is also a telepath, breaks into the facility Henry’s in and kidnaps Estelle. Now Henry must search throughout Moscow and find Estelle while avoiding Akan’s men. Along the journey, Henry meets a mysterious man named Jimmy (Sharlto Copley) who is also after Akan, but for different reasons.

The story itself isn’t that deep, but it works. There is a twist here and there, but it’s nothing that is mind blowing. The structure of the movie is just one action sequence to another. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing though. The action sequences are a lot of fun to watch. Really, this whole film is interesting to watch because of how it is shot. As mentioned earlier, it’s shot mostly in first person. It kind has that GoPro feel with the way the frame bends, but it makes more believable that we are viewing this from a first person perspective. There are even moments where the same shot gets multiple angles because each eye ball is treated like its own camera, which I thought was really neat. If there’s one issue with the first person perspective is how much the camera shakes, because it shakes a lot. It makes sense in the film, but just trying to imagine this film in IMAX would certainly be head spinning. If you’re rather sensitive to motion, this film may not be for you.

Shakiness aside, the film is still a lot of fun to watch. The action sequences are filled with fast paced action and violence, and it escalates as the story progresses. The film has a video game feel to it and reminds me of games such as the Call of Duty series or Mirror’s Edge. There’s a lot of gunfire and parkour. The film also does a great job in having a variety of locations. From the streets of Moscow, to the woods outside the city, to a broken down hotel, there is enough variety to make every action sequence feel different and not repetitive. There’s also a great use of prosthetics, which make the world feel real. There is one moment that is a bit CGI heavy, and by that I mean it doesn’t feel real, but that’s pretty much it. The world feels consistent for the most part.

The performances for the most part work, but it’s Sharlto Copley’s Jimmy that shines in this film. There are a lot of aspects to this character, and it looks like Copley was having a lot of fun doing it. Jimmy is a funny character, but also a badass at the same time. Jimmy provides a lot of the humor for the film, but there’s also some great humor in the editing. The other performances were fine, but they weren’t gripping. This is mostly due to the fact that the other characters didn’t have much depth to them. You believe that Akan is evil and you believe that Estelle loves Henry, but that’s all they’ve got going for those characters. Even Henry doesn’t have that much of a character. He’s a silent protagonist, and it’s explained in the story why he can’t talk and it makes sense. That doesn’t excuse the fact that Henry doesn’t have too character to him besides trying to rescue Estelle, but that’s pretty much it.

Overall, Hardcore Henry is an entertaining action film that gives a unique concept and works for the most part. It’s not deep or thought provoking, it’s simply entertainment. If you like violent action films, you’ll like this one. Otherwise, I’d suggest waiting. Recommendation: Wait for DVD/Netflix


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