When I say a movie is stunning, I’m usually talking about how the special effects, scenery, or a combination thereof, leave you speechless with their beauty. In the case of Hardcore Henry, the stunning I’m talking about is a bit more like being stung by a jellyfish. You’re numb and disoriented for hours afterwards.
The film begins with Henry waking up in a lab with no memory of who he is or how he got there. A beautiful, blonde scientist, Estelle (Haley Bennett), is attaching high-tech prosthetic limbs to his battered, tatted body — and she says she’s his wife. But he quickly realizes he’s in danger and must go on the run throughout Moscow from the various bad guys who are after him, including a diabolical albino with telekinetic powers (Danila Kozlovsky) and his army of cyborg henchmen. Luckily for Henry, though, he’s a killing machine — part man, part science experiment — which makes the vast majority of Hardcore Henry a non-stop bloodbath.
Ok, so the movie’s direction is strange. Let’s start with that. It’s filmed by (not making this up) slapping a bunch of Go Pro cameras onto stunt men. The goal is to make the viewer feel like they’re doing everything Henry is, using a unique first person perspective. Honestly, it’s a bit like watching someone play a first person shooter video game.
Which is why after about 20 minutes, it becomes too jarring to continue watching. I can’t tell you if Henry ever gets to save his wife and stop the bad guys, because I had to leave the theater to puke due to motion sickness.
That’s probably the first thing you should know. If you’re one of those people who gets nauseous on long car trips, this is not the place you want to be unless you have bulimia. Don’t get me wrong. It’s fun and thrilling for a few minutes, but once the nausea sets in, it’s there for good.
Also, its incredibly violent. This is a rated R movie that I’m surprised didn’t earn itself and NC-17. I mean, Henry’s pretty much a half cyborg killing machine and you spend the movie in his body, watching his every move. What do you think happens?
The storyline is kind of cyberpunk, in that it’s got a Mad Max oddness to it. It’s strange looking, and made all the more strange by seeing it first person. I can’t say much as to the acting of the lead, because I never met the guy.
The movie relies on its gimmick to carry it, and I can see where it might be popular among those who enjoy video games of the first person shooter variety, but it just wasn’t me. The jarring camera action, and heavy bloodshed made it something I didn’t really want to see from first person. I can’t say it’s worth the watch, because I couldn’t even finish it but I can see its appeal for some audiences. Mainly, I think this was just really good marketing for Go Pro.
WE GAVE IT: 2 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!