Hardcore Henry – Movie Review
Hardcore Henry – R
Release Date: Fri 08 Apr 2016
The debut film for director Ilya Naishuller, Hardcore Henry is a sci-fi action movie that is completely shot from a first-person perspective. The audience experiences the world through the eyes of Henry, the silent protagonist, who has cyborg enhancements to make him a better fighter, more resilient and stronger than a normal man.
Fans of popular first-person shooters have a good idea of what they’re in for with Hardcore Henry. Exposition is largely a string of characters that talk to you in the brief respite between action set pieces. Sharlto Copley’s Jimmy plays with this idea of a constant companion. We see him seemingly die several times, only to reappear sometimes seconds later. The movie does eventually explain how that is possible. Before and after the explanation, Jimmy remains the funniest and most constant character. The villainous Akan (Danila Kozlovsky) has powers that are never quite explained. Haley Bennett plays Henry’s wife, Estelle, who reassembles him in cyborg form. Tim Roth has a cameo scene that is great but very brief.
While the theater had warnings posted warning about motion sickness, I felt fine and made sure to sit far enough back that I could see the stationary edges of the screen. Sitting too close might be a mistake, but if you’re prone to motion sickness watching other people play video games you should probably sit this one out. The violence is pretty brutal right from the jump with a credit sequence that shows slow-motion destruction including bullets puncturing skin.
Hardcore Henry is a worthy experience and a fun “ride” of a movie to see, provided you’re not squeamish or prone to motion sickness.
Aaron and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car: