Culture Magazine

Movie Review – Hardcore Henry (2016)

By Manofyesterday

Director: Ilya Naishuller

Stars: Sharlto Copley, Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett, Tim Roth

After waking up in a lab with his wife attaching cybernetic implants in him, Henry is then forced to go on the run from Akan (Kozlovsky), while trying to find a way to hunt him as he captured his wife. Along the way he finds help from Jimmy (Copley). Oh, and the whole thing is shot from a first-person perspective.

When I saw the trailer for this I was impressed yet remained skeptical for I wondered if, over 90 minutes, the visual style would get annoying. I am pleased to report that it does not. In fact, it is incredible and I can foresee a few more films following this trend. Henry doesn’t speak through the film and yet it’s testament to the script, the direction, and the way the actors react to Henry that we do want Henry to succeed and feel an attachment to him. The style is obviously a tribute to video games and I’m sure that there are many homages to various titles that I didn’t get because I’m not into that whole scene. I loved how different the film feels though. The stunts and camerawork is impressive and the sense of humor is prevalent through the film. If you want a gauge to see if you’d like this or not then think of Crank as it is very much in the same vein.

Copley is brilliant here, and in my opinion its his most enjoyable role since District 9. It’s clear quite early on that there’s something going on with his character, and all I say is that the colonel is my favorite.

The plot of the film is one thing I wondered about going in, because video games are mostly notorious for having thin stories. This one is better than I was expecting although there are still some shortfalls. For example, Akan has telekinetic powers but there’s no hint as to why, and I do wish more had been made of Henry’s past life. We get flashbacks to his father but there were a couple of opportunities to show some more of his past. However, those complaints are minor because the film is so much fun and there are so many little references to the genre it is paying tribute to that it just feels wonderful.

I highly recommend this. I had such a blast watching it and I hope that the good word of mouth spreads.


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