Hardcore Henry is one of the most unique and wild theater experiences of the year with the story being told through the first person perspective of our main hero; Henry. Henry is a super soldier being hunted by Akin, an extremely powerful megalomaniac with a desire for world domination. In a world where everyone wants you dead, who can you trust?
I mentioned up top that Hardcore Henry is a very unique theater experience, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's very good. The entire story is visualized through Henry, which makes for some very impressive action scenes packed with wild stunts and a crazy amount of violence and gore, but also makes the entire film feel like a video game, a video game with very little story or character.
Henry doesn't talk due to his voice processor not being installed, a way for the filmmakers to make us, the audience, feel like we are indeed Henry on this violent adventure. This is a trope that works within the video game world because we have a controller and are able to make our own decisions in game. But in a film, this didn't work at all because there's no character for us to get behind and root for. It also doesn't help that the story is paper thin as is the antagonist who was hard to watch due to the performance and script.
Sharlto Copley (District 9) is our only recognizable name from the cast, well, along with a strange and out of place cameo by Tim Roth (The Hateful Eight). Copley plays Jimmy, a man with many personalities who helps Henry in taking down Akin. Copley essentially has to play around 5 different characters, all of them more annoying then the last. Copley as an actor is very hit or miss, when he works, he works, but when his performance isn't up to par, it's noticeable.
It may seem like I'm really beating down on Hardcore Henry, but lets be honest, this is not a film concerned with story and character. It's an exhibit to showcase new and inventive filmmaking by using POV cameras to tell the story. I have to applaud director Ilya Naishuller for doing this, as it's something that we've seen in snippets but never really as a full fledged feature. Unfortunately this way of filmmaking does come off as extremely gimmicky and loses the visual appeal about 15 minutes in. You'll remember that Sacha Baron Cohen's latest comedy, Grimsby, used POV cameras in just one action scene and I must say, it was much more effective in that film due to it only being one scene as oppose to a full 90 minutes.
Hardcore Henry sets out to reinvigorate the action genre by using new and inventive ways of telling a story. Unfortunately the story it's telling isn't interesting in the slightest and neither are the characters within it. Hardcore Henry gets a 4/10.
What did you think of Hardcore Henry? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @JamesPorter97