The “found footage” genre is one that is constantly evolving. At times, it can be a great movie experience. However it can also become repetitive and boring. Remember, for every Chronicle and REC, there are a dozen films that are frustratingly bad. The genre can soon enough be one that fans stop going to the theaters to see. In an industry where you have to continue to improve and evolve a genre of film, Hardcore Henry aims to do just that.
This is the first “first person” film of its kind. If this film is successful, rest assured it will be endlessly copied. I had the chance to see the film at a screening recently and was pleasantly surprised. The film follows the title character Henry, who is resurrected as a cyborg super soldier as he tries to save his wife while remembering his past. The star billing goes to District 9’s Sharlto Copley, who serves as Henry’s sidekick.
The title says it all. This film is very hardcore. Expect The Raid like violence and core. There were so many moments where the audience literally had to groan due to a death that Henry performed on an unsuspecting henchman. There is also a decent amount of NC-17 scenes when Henry enters a strip club, and since it’s from a first person perspective, it’s very unique.
There was the concern that the film would be disorienting. During many found footage films the shaking camera can get nauseating, especially during a scene were the camera/audience is running. Thankfully that is not the case for this film. There are a few moments that it takes a quick second to get your bearings together, but for the most part it’s very easy to follow what is happening. The action is filmed very well and watching either the gun fights, or the fist fights allows you to appreciate how much of a technical marvel they are. There is a twist towards the end of the film that actually serves the story. It’s fairly easy to figure out, but it serves the story nonetheless.
If there is anything to complain about, it’s the cookie cutter villain of the film. He’s introduced as a cartoon character, and continues that way throughout the film. But let’s face it, this is a movie you see for the action, not any complex characters or villains. Henry also does not talk throughout the film, so whenever he reacts to someone else talking to him, it’s a simple nod of the head. Hopefully as this genre develops, the ability for the audience character to interact with other characters will have a better way to be presented.
If Hardcore Henry is successful, expect many more first person films. Afterall, there are countless video games that could finally be adapted the proper way. There already is a direct to video film soon to be released titled Pandemic that takes on the zombie genre from a first person perspective.
With Hardcore Henry and Pandemic, there will soon be more first person, found footage style films in the near future.