Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Hardcore Henry Review

'Hardcore Henry' has finally hit the big screen and is set to kick a lot of ass! The film is shot entirely through the protagonists view which is certainly a new and fresh take on the action genre. However will the new take on action films be a success or would 'Hardcore Henry' just be a nice gimmick for a short while?

'Hardcore Henry' is an action film that is shot entirely in first person as if in like a video game. A man - Henry- wakes up in Moscow after receiving terrible injuries. He has no memory of what has happened and doesn't even recognise that he is being taken care of by his wife Estelle (Haley Bennett). As he wakes up he goes through an operation to replace an arm and a leg that he lost. He also finds out that he had severe facial injuries and has been repaired mechanically so he is now half man, half robot. Before his wife can put his voice modular in, the laboratory they are in is attacked and they are forced to escape. In the process Henry is defeated by Akan (Danila Kozlovsky) and his large group of cronies and his wife is captured. With the help of Jimmy (Sharlto Copley), Henry will track down Akan and exact revenge on him whilst saving his wife and the world from Akan's plans.

The main talking point about this film really is about the first person aspect. The film is uniquely shot from the view of the antagonist throughout the whole film. A problem that could of been with this would be the irritation this could cause to peoples eyes and how it could even make you feel sick. I've seen several reviews saying that the felt this throughout the film. Personally my eyes didn't get too irritated but the people I was with did mention that it did start to hurt their eyes. I definitely feel that it could be a problem for people especially if your eyes are quite sensitive.

The aspect of been filmed in first person also does wear off after a while. It is pretty cool that they were able to film this in that specific way but it does lose its impressiveness after a while. However that being the case, the new look at how action is filmed is impressive and does work a lot of the time. The specific scene where Henry and Jimmy are accompanied by two females on a sort of motorway is very impressive in the way that it is filmed and also to how well the stunts were done. A lot of the action is very good and the way it is shot really doesn't take anything away from it. I was worried that maybe due to it being in first person that there would be a lot of things happening that we wouldn't see but the film did a good job of keeping an eye on what was happening.

The film most definitely feels like both a simulator and a video game. At first it could easily of fitted in at a ride in a theme park which wouldn't be a terrible idea I guess. That is entirely due to the first person aspect which again makes it good for a short while and then it starts to lose his ability after a while. The film then starts to seem a lot more like a video game due to the exposition. At many times, Jimmy will contact Henry on his phone telling him where he needs to be and what he needs to do. Very video game like in that aspect as he would pop up after he had accomplished something to tell him what was next. A Hardcore Henry video game also would not go a miss at all as it is really a story that would work on the platform just as well or even possibly better. 

The film does bring us a great performance though and that comes from Sharlto Copley. He is great as the character Jimmy and brings a lot of humour to the film which it does need at times. The character was also done very cleverly as he continues to reappear when it seems like he is down and out. The way that this eventually shown is very clever and added a lot of quality to the film. Seeing the crazy antics from Jimmy was always great as his brave and wild ways were highly entertaining throughout the whole film. The film needed a great, charismatic presence in the film due to Henry's inability to talk and they certainly got it from Sharlto Copley.
Sharlto Copley was great as Jimmy

One thing that puzzled me was to do with the main villain Akan. In a world where everybody else was human and they had this advanced technology, the villain strangely had powers as if he had the force from Star Wars. However there was no explanation or no hints to why he was able to move anyone or anything with his mind. An explanation I think was needed to why this was possible but we never got any. Due to this as well, the villain never ever seemed in trouble and was overpowered compared to Henry. Whenever they encountered it wasn't believable that Henry would be capable of doing anything against him as he was easily put aside every time. This is until the end where it is very baffling to see how the last encounter plays out when he had no struggle in any of the other confrontations.
The villain for this film, Akan

The film does deserve a lot of credit for the action in it. There are lot of scenes that are really insane which are done incredibly well. There are some very well choreographed scenes in this film which is clearly seen in the last scene. Also there is a very good chase scene in the film as Henry pursues a target throughout Moscow which is very exciting and done tremendously well. Hardcore Henry most definitely did bring us some brutal and crazy action that it promised.
A still from the great chase scene in the film

Final Verdict: Hardcore Henry = C
Some good action and Sharlto Copley is magnificent but the first person aspect does lose its magic after a while and people may find it irritant.

So have you seen Hardcore Henry? If so what did you think about it? If you haven't seen it, has it interested you enough to go and see it? Once again thank you for reading my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor