Hardcore Henry is one of the most unflinchingly original wild-rides to hit the big screen in a long time: You remember nothing. Mainly because you've just been brought back from the dead by your wife (Haley Bennett). She tells you that your name is Henry. Five minutes later, you are being shot at, your wife has been kidnapped, and you should probably go get her back. Who's got her? His name's Akan (Danila Kozlovsky); he's a powerful warlord with an army of mercenaries, and a plan for world domination. You're also in an unfamiliar city of Moscow, and everyone wants you dead. Everyone except for a mysterious British fellow called Jimmy (Sharlto Copley). He may be on your side, but you aren't sure. If you can survive the insanity, and solve the mystery, you might just discover your purpose and the truth behind your identity. Good luck, Henry. You're likely going to need it...
REVIEW: Told entirely in the first person point of view perspective, Hardcore Henry plays out like a found footage flick that actually legitimizes its reasons by emulating the gaming community’s “first-person-shooter,” viewpoint. Yes, the style of choice has the potential to isolate a certain segment of the movie-going demographic and I can list a full page of reasons here, starting with the shaky-camera technique that is literally known to induce that nauseating feeling. However, this flick makes a paradigm shift in the genre, in many respects and many notables in the industry will stand and take notice.
Still though, as one can imagine, it must be quite difficult to make an action flick stand out these days. This, especially, in a modern era where superhero flicks are all the rage and James Bond has become the standard to exceed. And differentiating a story from the multitudes that have come before it seems nearly impossible, especially when franchises with built-in fan bases have seemingly taken over Hollywood. This is witnessed even when efforts that are expected to do great can struggle to make an impact in said crowed arena. This made quite clear, with such examples as the recently released “Batman v Superman,” (which, some may argue, all but flopped in many respects). The greats, like Bruce Willis’ Die Hard, Sly Stallone’s First Blood and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator, have already conquered the familiar traits that make the genre so potent, such as hand-to-hand combat, one-liners, and deeper, more meaningful reasons for redemption.
So this begs the obvious – Where, then, does one head when attempting to throw his or her hat in the ring? How can a fresh new action movie from a relatively unknown filmmaker stand apart from the pack, while simultaneously creating material memorable enough to possibly spawn its very own series? These are some of the questions and potential show-stoppers (no pun intended) that could be faced. Well, I guess we have an answer from little known director Ilya Naishuller in this latest effort. What is being accomplished here is that we are seeing a film that appeals heavily to the gaming community and has the potential to be an instant cult classic. In addition, fans of Quentin Tarantino’s work, will find this game-changer style (once again, no pun intended) flick to be right in line with 1994’s Pulp Fiction, Natural Born Killers and the likeness.
Overall, this is not a movie for every action flick lover and if one is easily upset by shaky camera style, then I’d certainly stress caution on this one. The concept is very interesting and has potential, while the storyline is the basic good guy fights the evil genius. The film makes a huge splash when in terms of styling and first-person-shooter realism. I would even go as far as to suggest that if Quentin Tarantino’s name was tied to this project, it would have a mega-tsunami, size reception in theaters. However, as it stands, I believe four out of five stars is a good start here and should be viewed in theaters, when possible
By Movi-Man Stan
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