Ever wanted to watch Call of Duty: The game: The movie? Well in that case, Hardcore Henry says hello – assuming you replace the word hello with a bunch of fireworks of course.
Hardcore Henry is the story of some guy called Henry – coincidence? I think not! – who wakes up without a voice box to his wife Estelle (Haley Bennet) attaching bionic arms and legs to him. Moments later a powerful warlord named Akan (Danila Kozlovsky) breaks in to the lab and kidnaps his wife for her knowledge in cybernetics.
What follows is an action film shot entirely in first person. In premise it’s a thrilling concept and one that should assault your eyeballs more than rinsing them out with lemon juice and popping candy.
In a way the film succeeds in this regards. There is no doubt that there are some incredible stunts in Hardcore Henry and seeing them in first person is like nothing you have seen before.
The problem with this first person view is that it feels like it’s filmed on a Go-Pro so the normal slick motion of servo assisted steady cams is but a distant memory.
The action is also repetitive and relentless, never giving you the opportunity to stop vomiting before dragging your brain through another spin cycle.
It’s also incredibly badly acted, not that really matters because you didn’t come here for a window into your own soul, but when Sharlto Copley turns up as tough guy Jimmy I could only cringe.
Within moments it’s revealed that the tough guy act was just one of many personas. The more Jimmy appears on screen the more I loved his character. It’s as bizarre as his role in District 12 or Chappie so if you like Copley in these then you are in safe hands.
Similarly, if you like fragging or no-scoping bitches in online games then again you’ll feel at home because the comparison to video games are a dime a dozen. Kill wave of bad guys, set piece, kill next wave, boss fight, repeat.
Hardcore Henry is the most like a video game out of any film I’ve seen but it’s also too flawed to become a cult classic, mainly because motion blur and shakiness makes it feel like a sudden bout of Parkinsons during a roller-coaster ride.
Underneath it all is a brilliant concept. I would hate to see this as the start and end of first person movies because with a little more care, attention and budget we might see something truly spectacular but for now we have to make do with a happy cluster fuck of madness.
The Good, The Bad and The Outcome:
+ Great Concept
+ Some great stunts
+ Sharlto Copley
– Motion sickness
– Some bad acting