I always say I’m looking for something new to come to the theaters, something to spice up the pot when Hollywood cooks with mediocre materials. Today I got a chance to see that spice in the movie titled HARDCORE HENRY, a movie that looks to be an amped up action thriller for the modern times. But when testing new waters, one never knows what they will get in the movie. Hi Robbie K coming at you with another review and hopefully giving some insight into the film. Let’s get started.
For those who haven’t seen the trailer, the entire movie takes place in the first person perspective. Now this concept isn’t that new to gamers who play FPS titles (Halo, Doom, Call of Duty), but for those who don’t visit that land, the movie is indeed a new experience. Nearly the entire 96 minutes is high adrenaline action that takes place on multiple fronts and brings you face to face with the army of nameless extras. Parts of the film were really good to have in this perspectives, but other times…well the camera work got a little too chaotic for me. Seeing the camera go into convulsions and spins got annoying at times especially when it transitioned into bouts of dizzying spins and twists. Those who get motion sickness or dizzy from erratic camera work are going to want to stay away from this one (in case you haven’t guessed). Despite these dizzying moments though, the camera still gives you all the glorious detail of the action in this movie. Speaking of which…
Hardcore Henry is another one of those high octane, special effect heavy thrillers that throws in every punch it can. Guns, punches, grenades, even swords are all in this movie as Henry crosses all avenues of Russia to accomplish his vague goals. Many of the scenes are, as I stated earlier, homage to FPS video games including some of the more convenient aspects of video games like finding a random gun on the street or firing a ridiculously powerful weapon. Other times the action feels like one of those 3-D motion theme park rides where Henry is running or riding through some fast paced chase. Even the fist fights brought some thrills to the screen, though these moments sometimes got a bit too intense at times to really enjoy. While the visuals certainly brought the excitement, it was the incredible soundtrack that brought the edge it needed. All types of musical genres made their mark, each one fitting the adventure perfectly to mirror the emotions of the moment (and yes much of it was metal rock to go with anger).
But with action there often comes violence and Hardcore Henry does not shy away from that aspect one bit. This movie is certainly deserving of the R rating, the opening credits along paying homage to graphic kills and torture you are about to see. You should expect lots of artificial blood to paint the screen as heads explode, knives penetrate, and characters erupt in geysers of red. Those who love that stuff will worship this movie, but for me the excessiveness got stale after a while. I can’t give you too many details without providing spoilers, but those who can’t stand dismemberment need to think this one through before paying the hefty ticket price. Outside of gore and violence, Henry’s adventure also has strong language, a sea of female genitalia references, and plenty of nudity to go around.
Now if you haven’t guessed yet from this review, Hardcore Henry is indeed a ridiculous movie (which you hopefully picked up from the trailer). So I can’t necessarily dock points off its score for that. However, I can still pick at some things of that ridiculousness that I didn’t enjoy. For one thing the story was very simple and quite stupid at times. It took me a while to understand what the whole purpose of the fighting was and just what Henry’s role in all of this was. In addition the main bad guy Akan (Danila Kozlovsky) was left unexplained and was more annoying than respectful. Some parts of Henry’s quest were from left field, with only a small, small line of relevance to tether it to the story. Some of these parts, while certainly thrilling, could have been edited out because there was little points to them other than let’s just bring more action.
Fortunately, the ridiculous did bring lots of humor to the movie and had me laughing or chuckling at times with some of the crazy stuff Jimmy (Sharlto Copley) did. In addition they added some clever moments to the film that poked fun at Hollywood that brought extra laughs and relieved the intensity. Henry’s own ridiculous moves earned a chuckle or too from me, especially when they jabbed at how ridiculous games can be sometimes.
To sum it all up, Hardcore Henry is indeed a movie that represents its name. It is a sheer adrenaline rush that action junkies will drink up and find very little fault in. This film certainly is one of the more exciting pieces I’ve seen, with over the top stunts, fantastic special effects, and a killer soundtrack that is used well. However, the over the top violence, bathing the screen in gore, and the stupid vague plot are aspects I just didn’t get. Once again the camera work was decent , but certainly expect some erratic moments to occur that could spur up some nausea. Fans of Crank, the Expendables, or Death Race are target audiences for this movie, and aside from the special effects I can’t recommend this one for a theater visit for most.
Movie Overall: 7.0
Will this be a new movie genre? Will this first person perspective take off and get people hooked into a new movie? I can only hope for limited films to not ruin the uniqueness it brings. But if it is anything like Star Wars or the Marvel Movies, you can expect this type of movie to be abused out the wazoo (and no I’m not saying it is as good or as revolutionary as those).