Hardcore Henry is a movie advertised as the first of its kind; it’s shot entirely from a first-person perspective.With that adage, people may walk into the movie believing they will receive feelings of motion sickness. However, for many moviegoers, the prevailing feelings will be that of excitement, laughter, adrenaline and over-the-top machismo.
Hardcore Henry lives up to its name in sheer brutality. The film includes broken bones, bloody bodies and brutal death sequences. This sense of brutality is thankfully smothered in the film’s giddy personality. Hardcore Henry is filled to the absolute brim with personality, and as long as you can stomach the movie, it’s a joy to sit through.
At the start of Hardcore Henry, it seems that the movie may take itself too seriously, but that is quickly dismissed when the action begins. The movie’s frantic pace combined with the first-person view engages the viewer in a fascinating way. Admittedly, the film has little character development, and it is void of any form of deep story. Fortunately for Hardcore Henry, the movie has no want or need for such elements. The film springs from one action sequence to the next with only the silent Henry and the never-silent Jimmy (Sharlto Copley). Jimmy adds a great amount of fun to the action by being a character with a surprising amount of both humor and heart. Jimmy provides a sort of one-man show aspect that makes up for Henry’s silent state.
The movie’s villain is entertaining in an over-the-top popcorn flick way. He, again, is relatively empty when it comes to character development. The villain, Akan (Danila Kozlovsky), serves his purpose well enough, and his powers blend well with the protagonist’s other obstacles. Kozlovsky lends his all to the performance and eventually creates an air of arrogant intimidation. His strange demeanor and personality provide him with enough intrigue to be passable.
Hardcore Henry’s action is in the real spotlight, and it’s the element that is the supposed focus. Thankfully, the choreography and camera work rise to the occasion. The film shoots the viewer with bursts of adrenaline as Henry lobs grenades and Jimmy fires missiles at their assailants. Each kill is more brutal and unique than the previous one, and the first-person view provides the viewer with a powerfully grounded feel as the punches land. This action builds and builds as the film continues. Eventually, it delivers a climax that is both hilariously self-aware and savagely awesome.
Hardcore Henry lives up to its promise of being a truly unique action movie that produces loads of genuine personality. The movie is a fun experience for any fan of violently entertaining action. The characters are fun in their own right, but they are mostly there for plot progression. This does not stop the movie from being both action-packed and comically driven, and for someone as hardcore as Henry, that’s all he could truly ask for.
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