Barmy, ballsy, and utterly insane- Hardcore Henry is an original movie that deserves to be seen purely for the novelyy factor it brings to cinema. Shaky-cam nay-sayers should stay away, but if you’re an adrenaline junkie who enjoys high octane action, necessary genre thrills and a movie that does something a little different, you’ll have a great time. Those of a more ‘serious’ mindset need not venture to the movie theatre- there’s nothing for you here.
Described by critics as “Call of Duty meets Die Hard”, Hardcore Henry promises a bag full of high octane thrills whilst offering the unique visual gimmick of being filmed in the first person. If you’re the kind of person who hated Cloverfield, you’ll hate this. If you’re the kind of person that loves a slightly insane, off the wall crazy action movie, you’ll have nothing but love for this.
The entire movie reminds me very much of the First Person Shooter scene from the Doom movie. Whilst that movie was largely a stinker, it at least had some pretty amazing scenes, and apparently the first person scene- which was created to emulate the video games the movie was based on- took months of preparation to film. Some sourced state that the one scene, which clocks in at less than seven minutes, took longer to create then the rest of the movie. When you take that into consideration, though, you gain a new kind of appreciation for Hardcore Henry. There’s a reason this movie took such a long time to become a reality.
The storyline is simple, and in fact it can pretty much be explained just from the trailer. Henry- who might as well be played by you, audience member due to the fact you never see his face and everything is portrayed as if through his eyes- wakes up to find out that his scientist wife has turned him into a super-skilled fighter with bionic limbs. He and she then have to escape the facility, and then she is captured by a gang of men led by a chap who looks a little like a cross between an albino Bob Marley and the guitarist from HIM. The rest of the story revolves around a mission to save her. It isn’t deep storytelling, but then again, if you go to a movie like this expecting something akin to War And Peace, you’re sadly going to be disappointed. This movie has wonderfully crafted moments of action and a lunatic plot that never lets up on the pace, and quite frankly that’s fine. Sometimes its acceptable to go to the cinema with the intention of shutting one’s brain down for a few hours. There are a few twists in the plot, which revolves around nefarious schemes to build a cyborg army of mindless super soldiers, but in all honesty the selling points are the action scenes. They’re so pumped full of adrenaline that you can practically see it oozing from the screen.
As for the cast…they’re brilliant. Sharlto Copley has had an interesting trajectory since his debut in District 9, and he seems to be having an awful lot of fun with this movie- he plays a whole host of variations of the same character (this is a lot easier to understand of you watch the movie). His performance is bombastic and energetic and, let’s be fair, anything less than that level would seem out of place in a movie packed full of bloody death scenes and comic book violence. There is a LOT of blood in this movie- but it is rated R (18 over here for UK audiences) for a reason. I am reluctant to disclose too much because, honestly, it needs to be seen to be believed.
This movie is insane. At one point, Henry sticks two needles of adrenaline into his legs and Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen starts playing in the background. That’s the sort of level of fun this movie gives you- its silly, but it is an awful lot of fun. You’ll leave the movie feeling breathless, but you’ll absolutely have something to talk about. If you can handle the viewpoint without vomiting everywhere, I would urge you to watch the movie. It is an experience that I don’t think conventional cinema will see again for quite a while. Do yourself a favour and go and watch it!
Over the top. Action packed. Totally Hardcore.