The above poster for ‘Hardcore Henry’ is ace in my opinion. It very much intrigued me and it doesn’t really give too much away. For several weeks this poster was the entirety of my knowledge regarding the film. It wasn’t until a few days ago when I saw some clips from the film that I worked out that it’s shot entirely from a first person perspective, explaining the image on the poster. Could this interesting decision really work for an entire film though?
Well initially I found the first person view to be a little frustrating. I really wanted to see what was going on around the title character and especially when action started I wanted to see it from the usual perspective we have as a cinema audience. I found it hard to settle into the film because of this and I worried about how I would cope with this for the whole running time of the film. However, after about ten or fifteen minutes I’d say that I actually became quite used to this view and started to quite enjoy the film from this perspective. It actually works rather well for certain sequences, at times you felt very much as if you were in a video game. In other parts of the film it had the effect of watching a YouTube video of a free runner. This first person view ended up having quite a varied effect on the film. Of course some sequences are better than others and which you enjoy most will come down to personal preference. I personally enjoyed the sequences which were fast-paced and accompanied by music. There are two or three really fun chase/fight scenes featured here and a load of others that will keep your attention. It does have to be said though that a couple of the scenes do become a little monotonous with the punches never ending.
There isn’t really a lot too the performances here considering the vast amount of action. ‘Henry’ himself is played by around ten different stunt and camera men including the director Ilya Naishuller. Sharlto Copley, of ‘District 9’, ‘Elysium’ & ‘Chappie’ fame, is probably the main performer here in what ends up being quite a varied role, he’s a good man for the job showcasing his abilities well throughout. The villain of the film, ‘Akan’ is played by Danila Kozlovsky and he actually does a great job. I thought him and his whole team of Russian thugs were really intimidating and you felt real threat from them. The feeling you usually have regarding villains in big blockbuster movies, being that their quite formidable but they’ll ultimately lose wasn’t felt here – the result of who will end up victorious is constantly in question. The story that accompanies the non stop action is a fairly simple one but it holds enough mystery for the right amount of time to keep the audience intrigued. At times it felt quite similar to the likes of Jason Statham’s ‘Crank’ but I was just glad to see another fun ninety minute action flick in the cinemas as it’s been some time since we had one as good.
All in all ‘Hardcore Henry’ really hinges on how you feel about the first person view, personally it took a bit of getting used to for me but once I’d adjusted to it I really got into things. The action is relentless, it rarely lets up and there are some very fun sequences included. The action does vary in terms of quality and excitement but the first person view at times really enhances this especially when heights are involved. A bit more originality narratively and in terms of music choice at times could have really elevated ‘Hardcore Henry’ into something fantastic but it still ends up being good and a lot of fun, for a ninety minute action flick it’s probably one of the better ones we’ve had in recent years!
Rating – 8/10
Question: What’s your favourite ninety minute action flick?
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