Title – Hardcore Henry (2015)
Director – Ilya Naishuller (feature debut)
Cast – Sharlto Copley, Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett, Tim Roth
Plot – Brought back from the brink of death, Henry (you!) sets out on a path of revenge to bring those that wronged him to justice, this path of vengeance taking place through your eyes as our near indestructible super-soldier wreaks havoc everywhere he goes.
“Like my father always said, a grenade a day keeps the enemy at bay”
Review by Eddie on 01/11/2016
While we’re all still eagerly awaiting that first great video game adaption (perhaps this year’s Assassin’s Creed will be the film we’ve been calling out for), Russian backed Hardcore Henry goes one step closer to that long fabled mark by not merely adapting or imitating what video games are, but in many ways becoming one.
For better or for what I’m sure many people think worse, Hardcore Henry is cinema’s very first video game come to life and while there’s been slight versions of this before in films like Scott Pilgrim vs The World and Sucker Punch, Ilya Naishuller’s film, which is shot in POV style like popular FPS shooters like Goldeneye and Call of Duty takes the viewer on one heck of a wild ride and encapsulates that feeling many gamers get from there hand held experiences.
Completely over the top, piled up to the hilt with a body count too high to count and more blood than a feeding frenzy with Jaws and led by a collection of missions and task givers that will be familiar to the gamer in all of us, Naishuller and his team that includes Night Watch and Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov as producer haven’t aimed for a cinematic masterclass but aimed to give their audience a first-hand point of view adrenaline rush that embraces its limitations and turns them into a tongue in cheek experience you can’t help but enjoy.
No better evidenced than District 9 breakout star Sharlto Copley’s bizarre and energetic performances as a range of colorful characters, Hardcore Henry makes little sense and doesn’t really try to and while it’s a shame it’s inventive and pulsating action set pieces (which are incredible in execution) aren’t matched by a decent story and script, action fans are going to be marking this experience down as one of their favorite fixes for the year.
Likely to offend those with too much taste and sensibilities and for those unfamiliar with the lures of gaming, Hardcore Henry won’t be a film discussed by scholars but in many ways this film marks a potentially groundbreaking launch pad for where action films will be heading in years to come and hopefully an example to filmmaker’s looking to turn video games into films as to just what can be done to capture the essence of gaming’s great appeal, the first person experience.
3 1/2 windscreen wipers out of 5