Monday, April 18, 2016
"Hardcore Henry" Review by Tim Hellman
'HARDCORE HENRY': Four Stars (Out of Five)
An experimental sci-fi action flick, shot entirely in the first-person format. The movie was directed and written by first time feature filmmaker Ilya Naishuller (with additional writing by Will Stewart). It was co-produced by Timur Bekmambetov (a popular Russian-Kazakh filmmaker) and executive produced by actor Sharlto Copley (who also stars in the movie, playing multiple roles). The film also costars Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett and Tim Roth. It tells the story of an amnesiac, resurrected as a cybernetic soldier, who must do battle with a telekinetic warlord, and his army of mercenaries, in order to rescue his wife and save the world. The movie is completely crazy, and like nothing you've ever seen before, but it still feels like a missed opportunity (in many ways).
Henry (played by many different cameramen, stuntmen, and the director himself) wakes up in a laboratory, on an airship, missing his left leg and left arm. His limbs are immediately replaced, with cybernetic ones, by the woman who brought him back from the dead; his wife Estelle (Bennett). Estelle quickly tries to bring Henry up to speed, on what's going on, but before he has any idea who he is, they're both attacked by a powerful warlord, named Akan (Kozlovsky), and his mercenaries. Henry manages to escape, but Estelle is kidnapped. He spends the rest of the film trying to survive many attackers, at every turn, regain his memory, and rescue Estelle. Henry finds aid, from a mysterious stranger named Jimmy (Copley); and others, who look just like him.
The film is brutally violent, and it has an extremely large body count as well; I think it's among the most violent movies I've ever seen (probably). The first-person perspective is interesting, and it provides a very unique filmgoing experience, but the movie's originality doesn't end there. The film is set in a very bizarre world, full of lots of crazy characters. It's definitely like no other movie that I've ever seen before (and I've seen a hell of a lot of movies). Still I wish the filmmakers would have done even more, with their awesome concept. It just didn't meet my very high expectations.