Director: Ilya Naishuller
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett, Tim Roth, Russia/USA 1h 36m
It’s hard to know if we do actually need a first person shooter style movie considering the amount of computer games that are widely available on the market, but we definitely have one now, after the success of both Crank (2006/2009) movies, budding director Ilya Naishuller, took things one step further with his action packed Sci-Fi thriller Hardcore Henry which was promised to be a full of adrenaline rush for the whole 1 hour 36 minutes duration, and to be fair it achieve its’ goal but with a more detailed and complicated narrative than was expected.
You probably believe you’ve seen all that’s available in the trailers, and while there are some choice moments captured in these to entice cinema goers, there’s quite a compelling plot behind the fast paced action flick. Henry awakens in a lab that’s under attack, resurrected from death with little memory of this past, he’s thrust into a technologically advanced world, and quickly realises that he has to save the world and his wife from a telekinetic warlord with a plan to bioengineer soldiers much like Henry to take over the world. Luckily for Henry he is one of these bioengineered soldiers equipped with robotic limbs but unfortunately he’s on a low battery. After plummeting to Earth from a floating laboratory he soon encounters a mysterious man played by Sharlto Copley who seems to be sympathetic to his situation. He gives Henry’s low battery a bit of boost using a chargeable device and then is soon killed by the random bad guys who are hot on the heels, but soon Henry and counters the strange character again but this time is a hobo on the Metro, at first it seems a little suspect, almost dreamlike but much like the White Rabbit Alice in Wonderland Henry follows him down the rabbit hole.
Filmed entirely from the first-person perspective the film explores every gut wrenching angle it can, like watching the free climbing acrobatic stunts done on the side of extremely tall high rises on YouTube, there are many heart stopping moments. For the most part you are Henry, you see the world through his eye, and understand as much as he does. After having woken up with virtually no memory, apart from a few flashbacks of Tim Roth, who plays Henry’s father picking him up after he’s been bullied and telling him not to be a pussy anymore. You’re trying to make a plot out of the random actions in front of you as much as he is.
There is a mix of situations based purely on the unique angle that the movie take, a some more complicated seems just try and hold the plot together. Shartlo’s character keeps popping in to give various surreal steps to the plot, each time as a new character, a hobo, a hippy, a crazed business man, these characters get more outlandish as the film progresses, but things don’t really pull together until the second half of the movie, but for me it felt like it was way too long.
Sharlto’s various characters throughout the first half, just keep popping up in different disguises and are more of a deterrent while Henry just gets on with various death defying action scenes but then when the plot start to take over, Sharlto’s characters actually engage in the actions side of the story. In ways he’s the star of the film, in the sense that he is the character that you constantly see throughout, poor old Henry isn’t even seen in the odd reflection and remains anonymous.
The movie sets up to thrill people with it’s amazing action, and it does boil down to Henry running jumping climbing and doing the impossible, which he is allowed to do because he does have bionic parts, and if you are looking for the next step up from Crank, and to feel as if you’re in the driving seat them this film is perfect. On top of this it does actually offer quite a compelling story as well which is an added bonus. The plot does take forever to reveal itself, which is the little annoying. but the movie does achieve what it’s set out to do. While some see this as senseless video game violence, others what to see as a little bit of fun. you won’t walk away from this film confounded but you will be amazed and that’s got to be worth something… I wonder if this means there’s going to be sequel?
R: Doom (2005)
5s: Sharlto Copley