When it comes to action films, one usually thinks of big explosions and lots of violent content in the United States of America. But not from Russia, where one would believe that a violent action movie can take place. Enter “Hardcore Henry”, a Russian production with an interesting twist: the whole thing is shot like a video game. More specifically, from a first person view. While the story, as well as some characters tend to fall off the radar, the action is definitely there. “Hardcore Henry” may be stupid as well as a big gimmick with its concept, but one cannot deny that one will definitely have fun while watching the flick.
The story has a man waking up in a lab, and learning that he has been genetically modified to become a cyborg. This man is named Henry, and he has no clue as to what’s going on. Before Henry can get his voice recognized, the bad guys come in; Henry escapes and is on the run in Moscow. Henry then meets up with Jimmy (Sharlto Copley) who tells Henry that if he wants to get rid of the bad guy, Henry must trust Jimmy. Can Henry find out just what the hell is going on, or will he find out something that he shouldn’t have?
“Hardcore Henry” is an interesting action movie. For starters, having the entire production be told in a first person perspective is an intriguing concept. We, as the audience, get to witness what the character of Henry is going through, and all the trouble he is therefore causing. On top of this, the performance by Copley as Jimmy is both fun and over the top, and one will get a giddy sensation while watching him act. The editing and pacing make the running time of almost 90 minutes excusable, as the action happens at a fast rate, and there is a lot going on. And speaking of this, the action is presented in an over the top fashion, that any fan of the genre will more than likely get a kick out of it. Plus, while the first person perspective can be gimmicky, it does work to the the film’s advantage. It definitely plays out like a video game, but I think that’s what the intention was going for. And finally, since this is a Russian production, the cinematography of several Russian cities looks and sounds fascinating to our American ears and eyes. “Hardcore Henry” is an interesting action movie that will deliver a lot of un for some viewers.
However, the movie is kind of stupid. But it’s a fun kind of stupid. It’s stupid and yet it’s fun at the same time. This is is one of those movies where one needs to check their brain before entering the theatre. But with that said, some of the characters, most notably the villain, are kind of weak as we are given very little to understand their motivations. Our villain has telepathy; where did he git it? Not explained. And that’s the biggest problem with “Hardcore Henry”: the main story is confusing to understand, and repeated viewings will be need to see what’s going on.
In conclusion, “Hardcore Henry” may not be the best action movie out there right now, but it uses the genre and its gimmick very well. Good job Russia, you’ve made something that’s entertaining for once.