Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Film Review: Hardcore Henry (2015)

Hardcore Henry (Review)
United States/Russia/2015
Format Viewed for Review: Showtime
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"Despite its plentiful action, the film eventually becomes boring and repetitive."

Henry, resurrected with hi-tech cybernetics and no collection of the past, fights to save his wife from a psychokinetic man who plans on building an army of cyborg soldiers.

Hardcore Henry initially caught my interest. The plot follows the titular character, Henry, after he's resurrected by his scientist wife, Estelle. While working on returning Henry's voice, Akan, the psychokinetic antagonist, shows up and interrupts the procedure—leaving Henry mute but capable. Henry escapes with Estelle from the laboratory, which was located in an airship. Wild, right? It gave off Wolfenstein vibes. Anyway, Estelle is eventually captured and Henry has to fight his way to save her while finding his memories. That's it. That's the entire plot. Sure, there is a little more to it, but the plot never really builds on any of its ideas. It leads to a solid ending, though. By that, I mean: the last action sequence is great, but the story is still mediocre.

Hardcore Henry is a decent action movie and a mediocre film overall. The film is action-packed. I know that term is used a lot these days, but I mean it. This film is damn-near ninety minutes of pure action. It has chase scenes—in-car and on-foot—it has shootouts, it has close-quarter-combat, and it has plenty of explosions. It's all shot in first-person, too, which makes this film a bit more original than some of its peers. Unfortunately, the action quickly becomes repetitive and there are only two, maybe three truly memorable action sequences in the entire movie. The first-person perspective was interesting and original, but it gets old as well. It's definitely not going to be something people with sensitive eyes will easily enjoy. And, as I already stated, the story was disappointing. It starts off promising, but it never builds on its characters or world. It comes off cheesy for all of the wrong reasons. It tries to be funny, and it got me to chuckle a few times, but most of its humor falls flat.

The acting was okay. Sharlto Copley was a lot of fun at least. There's a very Pewdiepie-esque performance from Danila Kozlovsky, too—and I'm not saying that's good or bad. The camerawork may be an issue for people. This is the definition of shaky cam. If you struggle to watch found-footage movies, you'll struggle with this one. The music is hit-or-miss. The selection of tracks is decent, but it's often so heavy-handed that it feels like a music video instead of a movie. The film was written and directed by Ilya Naishuller. After looking him up, I can see why this film felt like a music video at times. Naishuller had an interesting concept in his hands, but he fumbled in both writing and direction. The story is painfully mediocre after the first ten minutes and the direction is obnoxiously hectic. I understand that it's supposed to be 'hardcore,' but it doesn't work.

Overall, Hardcore Henry is a mediocre movie. Despite its plentiful action, the film eventually becomes boring and repetitive. Its lack of character and actual story make this a forgettable experience, except for a few great action scenes. If you want a great action movie, watch the gold standard of action movies instead: John Woo's Hard Boiled.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

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