With the wave of VR games making their way onto the mainstream just like nineties kids have been dreaming of, it could be argued that immersion with a piece of media is what truly makes something amazing. This being the case, then what better way to do this then by having your audience be put in the shoes of a badass main character as if they are the ones shooting bad guys. Hardcore Henry manages to do this by immersing you and deliver a unique experience to film.
The film centers on Henry, a man with cybernetic enhancements who has been tasked to save his wife while avoiding death and taking on dangerous obstacles like bodyguards, clones and a villain who can move objects with his mind. If there is anything to be said about this film, it’s that the action succeeds incredibly well in its task to thrill you. With the added aspect of putting you in the perspective of the main character you feel as if you are experiencing the moments that play out, whether it be hanging onto a rope via a helicopter or ducking into cover to dodge bullets. Each set piece is edited to simulate a long take experience much like a recent example The Revenent (2015) only with this film has the added element of first person and tries to make the film feel more like an experience. Hardcore Henry manages to get the balance between being an experience and being a well told film with its use of pacing.
The pacing of the film truly helps satisfy your need for action and story, just as you think that the story is getting a bit slow you’re then hit with an exciting set of stunts, gun play, and choreography which then brings you back to the narrative smoothly. All of which builds with even more elaborate and crazy moments until you finally reach the credits. However due to the cinematography using only a first person perspective this can lead to some moments when a lot of action is happening on screen and it can be hard to make out what is happening. Although this only happened a small amount of times throughout the film, the execution of these intense scenes is genuinely impressive.
The tone of the film is very enjoyable, it knows not to take itself seriously and doesn’t hold back on being eccentric. Some could see this as quite jarring but it blends so well with the over-the-top fighting and story that they both seem to go hand in hand with each other. Having this tone adds to the film with it’s own nature to constantly one-up itself to have another moment that’s exciting and exhilarating.
Overall Hardcore Henry is a film manages to be a enjoyable action film that revels in its own silliness and is a must see if you are looking for a unique twist for your adrenaline rush for an evening.
Dir: Ilya Naishuller
Scr: Ilya Naishuller, Will Stewart
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett, Tim Roth, Andrei Dementiev
Prd: Ilya Naishuller, Alexey Alekseev, Inga Vainshtein, Adam Sidman
DOP: Pasha Kapinos, Vsevolod Kaptur, Fedor Lyass
Music: Darya Charusha
Runtime: 96 mins
Hardcore Henry is now available on Blu-ray and DVD now.