Review – Hardcore Henry
Directed By: Ilya Naishuller
Written by: Ilya Naishuller
Release Date: April 8th 2016 (UK)
The original trailer for Hardcore Henry is one of the most intriguing trailer I have seen in the last 10 years. I was already excited to see this movie and then the reviews were released and they just made me want to see it even more. Revisiting the film, my hype levels weren’t quite as high, but Hardcore Henry still managed to exceed my expectations a second time around. I mean, this film was never going to win any Oscars, but if what you are looking for is a non-stop thrill ride full of over-the-top action, then wade right in.
There are no holds barred here, this is proper action done in a unique way. The method of shooting isn’t perfect as it uses a great deal of shaky cam. So much so that it ends up obscuring some of the fast paced fight scenes and stunt choreography, which is a shame as the stunts are really spectacular and they only ramp up as the movie progresses.
I loved Sharlto Copley in District 9, but he hasn’t wowed me too much since then, until I saw his performance in this movie. This performance really shows how diverse he is and there is a certain musical number involving him that is definitely one of the highlights of the movie, but I won’t spoil it here. In fact I can’t really say anything about his character without spoiling him other than his name is Jimmy and he is awesome.
The villain in this movie is ripped straight out of a cheesy video game, but he is kind of so bad that he’s good. He looks like the Targaryan brother from Game Of Thrones, he sounds like someone doing a bad John Malkovich impression and he has telekinesis powers to boot. His powers are never explained, but he is basically a jedi without a lightsabre from an 80’s electronic music video.
Actually, comparing this movie to a video game is probably the most accurate way to describe it. Think a modern sci fi game that plays like classic Doom and you aren’t far off, which in my opinion is one of the most epic concepts ever conceived. However the concept is only the starting blocks of a project like this one, the execution has to be great as well to stop the movie from only ever being remembered as a throwaway neat idea. Thankfully the execution is effective here both figuratively and literally.
This is one of they movies where you feel like a kid again while you watch it and it is glorious to experience from start to finish. The special effects are actually pretty good for what is presumably a pretty low budget film. They are over the top and fantastically ridiculous, but they add to the madness of the piece and they are a feast for the eyes. The soundtrack is pretty spot on too. It perfectly melds with the insane, fast paced, badass tone that the filmmakers were aiming for and helps to keep that high octane feel going for the duration of the flick.
Hardcore Henry is not a perfect movie by any stretch, but for what it is it delivers in a big way. It is highly entertaining and whether you enjoy this style of movie or not, it is hard to take your eyes off of the screen for the hour and a half that it is on for, this movie is going to grip you and take you for a high-stakes mental ride whether you like it or not. If you are into over the top action and ridiculous stunts and set pieces, then I could not recommend this movie more.
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