Movie Review: Hardcore Henry – Fun and Thrilling…..For a Few Minutes, Then I Had To Leave


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!

2 Stars

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Movie Review: Maleficent (2014)

maleficent 1A script not as good as the Special Effects


Angelina Jolie has always frightened me a bit. Her history of edgy, hard hitting characters has always intimidated me. Maleficent, while good, is no real exception.

Maleficent tells the story of one of the most iconic fairy tale villains, the evil Maleficent from sleeping beauty. Only this time, it gives a more sympatric look at the motivations behind the villain. Think of Wicked, only with a less-good story line.

The screenplay is a bit of a problem. The story is confusing and convoluted and starts off with a young Maleficent becoming embroiled in a fairy versus human war. A fairy gets betrayed, gets her wings ripped off, issues a curse on the infant Aurora…

And the movie turns into a silly slapstick mess/weird creepy stalking flick. I don’t know; I was pretty lost.

The actors in the film didn’t give it much juice. Elle Fanning is utterly forgettable and one dimensional as Aurora. It’s easy to see why she was picked to play sleeping beauty. She barely seemed awake. Also, I’m pretty sure this film was supposed to portray Maleficent in a sympathetic light, but the problem is Angelina Jolie isn’t likeable.


She doesn’t bring enough humanity to the role to make her character seem sympatric. In fact, she just kind of comes off as weird and creepy, kind of like she was in the 90s when she made out with her brother and carried a vial of Billy Bob Thornton’s blood around her neck.

Visually, the movie is absolute stunning. The special effects are perfectly done; the makeup gave Jolie an otherworldly feel. The action scenes are tense and emotional. Robert Stromberg is making his directorial debut in this one, and you can kind of tell that he mainly worked scenery and special effects before. He was the Art Director for Avatar and worked on Alice in Wonderland as well. The problem is that the script wasn’t as good as the effects.

Maleficent is complicated, but not unredeemable. It’s hard to understand her motivation and I wonder what would have happened if they’d put a more sympathetic actress in the roll. If anything, Jolie comes off as yet another special effect in a movie heavy on special effects.

maleficent 4


Also, if you can’t do an accent, don’t do an accent. One minute, Jolie sounded like a Cockney Newspaper Boy, the next she sounded like a Buckingham palace guard. Nothing would have been lost if she’d done no accent at all and it was incredibly distracting.

Maleficent isn’t for kids. It’s a bit hard to tell who this movie is targeting. It was an interesting concept, but poor scripts and poorly chosen leads really made it fall flat. It’s not entirely unwatchable though. It is visually stunning and exciting. There are quite a few good action scenes, and as a villain, even on with a dodgy accent, Jolie shines.

I’d say this movie comes in at an absolute average. It’s not particularly great, but it’s still watchable, even if for just admiring Jolie’s amazing cheekbones.  Watch the official trailer below.

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