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

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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.

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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.

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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: Vampire Academy (2014)

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You ever wonder what would happen if movie writers had put Harry Potter and Twilight into the same movie? Yeah, neither have I, but they decided to cash in on the hype from both and do it anyway. This creates a movie like Vampire Academy.

Rose (Zoey Deutch) and Lissa (Lucy Fry) are best friends and also vampires. Rose is some kind of body guard vampire, while Lissa is a princess vampire. (No, I swear to god I am not making this up). They attend St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire bodyguards and princesses alike. There, they deal with mean girl shenanigans and convoluted plot twists.

To describe this movie in one word, I would have to say ‘weird’. But not weird in a good way like Existenz; weird in a bad way like the Alice in Wonderland remake. With such an original plot, you would think that there would be tons of things to do with it, but instead the producers fell back on contrived twists and canyon sized plot holes.

For a supernatural movie, there is a sparse amount of special effects. The ones that do show up are silly and ridiculous looking.

The main problem I’m seeing is that this movie comes from a series of 6 books. To me, it feels a bit like they tried to cram every single book into a 105 minute movie. You will need a series of graphs, timelines and charts in order to follow this movie.

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Zoey Deutch played Rose and she was one of the bright shining spots in this movie. Her flip delivery keeps the character engaging, despite what could be some pretty tired dialog. For example: “Trust me. You do NOT want to have to get a nose job in Montana”. Wow, way to insult every doctor in Montana for no good reason.

This movie might seem Harry Potter meets Twilight at first glance, but you also need to throw in a bit of Cruel Intentions because these are adults in teen bodies, getting it on at every opportunity. There are also some serious lesbian undertones between the two leads, so if you’re into that, this movie will be great for you.

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It’s a cute movie that could have done with a bit of better dialog, and at least some special effects. The ones in this film were cheesy and forced together. In addition, a convoluted plot and frequent info dumps by the characters make this movie hard to follow. They tried to shove too much into one screenplay.

I think half of what made Harry Potter and Twilight work as movies is that much of the screenplay for the movies followed the books. This resulted in people becoming interested who had never read the books. Fans of the Vampire Academy books might enjoy Vampire Academy, but it is doubtful it will pull in a new audience with this halfhearted effort.  Watch the trailer below.

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