I remember seeing the ads for Hardcore Henry. I was mixed about going to see the film. It was something unique, an entire movie shot in first person POV. But I was also concerned that seeing a film like that would be hard to watch, especially on the big screen. So I passed, figuring I'd catch it when it his home video. Then I got sent a copy of the blu-ray to review, so I sat down last night to watch it and now here are my thoughts.
No film is all good or all bad. You can find flaws in the best and find bright lights in the darkest. Sadly, Hardcore Henry left me looking for bright lights.
The unique style of shooting was a bit disconcerting. Like watching someone play a video game. The motions were fast, jerky, hard to follow and there were a lot of stray hands moving in and out of frame just to remind you that you were part of the film. This is something that will have to be refined as making films like this go along.
My problem is by doing a story like this, you are basically making it a first person narrative. Like a detective novel where the gumshoe is telling the tale. The only thing we get to know or see is what Henry sees. But we don't get to know what he knows because he has no memory and he has no voice. So the entire story is present through frantic action and short bits of dialogue that are thrown at you.
The bright light was Sharlto Copley (Powers), who played multiple versions of character with a lot of distinct personality traits. The film almost works as a casting reel so you can see his acting range. But where his performance is impressive from that perspective, it also makes the overall story harder to follow.
The film is overrun with action and gore to the point where you become bored with it. You never get a true sense of threat form anyone other than the main bad guy (Danila Kozlovsky) and he can do things that are not normal and never explained. There is no character development, no real story other than a characters frantic dash to do whatever strangers tell him to do in hopes that he's going to live.
So the bottom line, is the film worth watching? Yes… I think what the film lacks is not because of bad craftsmanship, I think its because it didn't fit in with what they were trying to accomplish, a first person shooter movie, and that is exactly what they made. So watch it with that in mind.
Hardcore Henry is available now On Demand or on Blu-ray / DVD.