A man wakes up in a Moscow laboratory to learn that he’s been brought back from the dead as a half-human, half-robotic hybrid. With no memory of his former life, a woman who claims to be his wife tells him that his name is Henry. Before she can activate his voice, armed thugs storm in and kidnap her. As Henry starts to understand his new abilities, he embarks on a bloody rampage through the city to save his spouse from a psychopath (Danila Kozlovsky) who plans to destroy the world.
Hardcore Henry is told from a first person perspective using only Go Pro Hero 3 Black Edition cameras. The concept originated from a music video that director Ilya Naishuller did a few years back called Bad Motherf*cker. Naishuller returns for his feature film directorial debut, and delivers a solid hit.
My biggest concern going into this movie is whether or not I would be able to handle an entire movie of shaky camera/handheld type work. Let me tell you that for myself, I hardly felt any kind of motion sickness. Yes, a few scenes were tough to follow, but the director did an impressive job keeping the camera work as steady as possible. The end result was an experimental sci-fi/action that’s highly unique and entertaining.
Action sequences in modern blockbusters continue to raise the bar. For Hardcore Henry, we are given something that feels more like a video game, which for me was a great thing. Following the Henry character along as he ran, climbed buildings, got shot at and shot back was a thrilling ride. If you never experienced being in a fist fight or firefight, then Hardcore Henry gets you as close as possible to the real thing.
Its impossible to judge the kind of performance Henry gives, because we don’t really see his face. In fact, the character was played by several stuntmen and in certain scenes the director himself. The only and absolute stand out performance worth mentioning is from Sharlto Copley (Elysium). Its without a doubt his best performance since making his debut in District 9. I’m currently struggling to decide if his performance in this film tops his debut. Reason being is because Copley’s character takes on many personas, and each one is very convincing. Tim Roth also makes a glorified cameo, which was pretty cool to see.
Unfortunately, the story for Hardcore Henry suffers to which, at one point I stopped caring. The motive for Henry is crystal clear, and that’s to rescue his wife by beating the living sh*t out of everyone in his way. However, the main antagonist is weak and possesses these powers that are never really explained. His motives are paper thin, and lets just say the climatic battle between him and Henry is…just okay. Also, for a while some of the action just gets tiring, as Henry continues beating these nobodies. That being said, the experimental film clearly knows what its trying to be, and that’s a kick-ass action flick that just wants you to have fun, and from that perspective it succeeds.
Henry is awesome, his partner (Copley) is funny and entertaining, and the action is so much fun. This is a film where you leave your brain at the door, and go in for ride unlike any other. Although, I wouldn’t recommend eating right before you watch this.
Hardcore Henry gets a 6.75 out of 10