The cool thing about having smaller studios out here in Hollywood today is that people with fresh ideas have a chance to get their work out into the open. It doesn’t always work out that well, but the opportunities are created that offer audiences something different from the usual. With STX Entertainment’s Hardcore Henry, we have a movie that fits the mold of being new in some ways. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s crossing completely unfamiliar territory.
The movie starts off with us getting acquainted to both the characters and our only perspective throughout its duration. The first person we see during this portion is a doctor (Haley Bennet) of some sort. She’s tells Henry that she is his wife and lets him in on some of the details that both he and the audience need to know. Not too long after that, we’re introduced to Akan (Danila Kozlovsky), an incredibly powerful warlord with his sights on ruling the world.
I guy like Henry could get in the way of his plans to do that, so stopping him is a must. With that being the case, it’s important for Henry to survive, but all he does is run into trouble at every turn. He also meets Jimmy (Sharlto Copley), a mysterious man who may or may not be the one person Henry can actually trust. With his helps, Henry may be able to survive long enough to figure out just what is happening and actually stop the vicious warlord. Or the enigmatic Jimmy could be leading him down a path that may only prove to benefit him.
Hardcore Henry doesn’t start off as well as I would have liked thanks primarily to the use of the shaky cam effect in the early going. At this point, what’s taking place is hard to even watch because you can’t really see anything. Since this is supposed to be viewed from a person’s actual perspective, I understand the why making things shaky was deemed necessary. However, that doesn’t take away from this being difficult to follow.
After a while, things do improve when the shaky cam isn’t all we see. This happens when the film starts introducing guns to the mix of violence, blood and mayhem. There’s no need for this gimmick as much when Henry is also shooting at targets rather than just fighting them, so it’s actually easier to see everything that needs to be seen. Even when there are running scenes or more hand to hand combat, it’s easier to get a grasp of what’s happening. This in turn allows Hardcore Henry to be a more enjoyable action movie.
The most interesting part of Hardcore Henry is the level of violence that’s being displayed. I found myself a bit taken aback by the fact that the opening credits is most certainly the part of the picture with the most gore. You would expect them to go all out after that, but it’s far more tame than you might think it would be. Yes, there’s a ton of violence and an uncountable number of dead bodies spread across the movie’s violent landscape, but it’s rarely anything that you could consider to be too extreme.
In reality, there isn’t much to offer in Hardcore Henry outside of the action from a perspective that’s usually only seen in some video games. There’s a story included that does bring just about everything together nicely toward the end, but I’d imagine that not too many people checking this out is really going in order to follow that. If you’re okay with not much else aside from action, then you might want to give this a chance once you move passed some of the hard to see action in the early going.
Director: Ilya Naishuller
Film Length: 90 minutes
Release Date: April 8, 2016
Distributor: STX Entertainment