Told completely through the eyes of Henry, Hardcore Henry is a first person shooter video game, come to life. That maybe enough of a turnoff for some to skip this film but, to miss Hardcore Henry is to miss out on one of the truly unique experiences of the year (so far). Shot almost entirely with GoPro Hero 3 cameras, set on special rigging to be worn like a mask, Hardcore Henry is one of the most
nauseating immersive film I’ve seen in theater since ‘The Blair Witch Project’ (1999); of course excluding D-BOX and 4Dx theaters.
We first meet Henry as he wakes up in the final stages of his rehabilitation. Completely rebuilt with cybernetic technology, Henry is without memories or a voice. Before his speech module could be installed, mercenaries from AKAN, a shady multi-national corporation storm the hospital. The beautiful Estelle (Haley Bennett) who reveals that their married, helps Henry escape capture in a harrowing scene. Before the couple are in the clear, Akan (Danila Kozlovsky) the billionaire, philanthropist, megalomaniac with unexplained telekinetic abilities catches up with them. After abducting Estelle and knocking Henry for (several) loops off of a freeway to the parking lot below, Henry’s death seems imminent as Akan’s guard closes in; enter Jimmy (Sharlto Copley) who saves Henry and claims to be a friend and has a mutual interest in getting revenge on Akan. The only thing left to do is rescue the girl, kill the villain and anyone that stands in the duo’s way. Aside from the groundbreaking visuals, the real star of Hardcore Henry is Sharlto Copley as ‘Jimmy’. To explain would spoil the better aspects of the movie, I will say that Copley completely steals every scene he has. Buzzwords such as: groundbreaking, genre defying and white-knuckle could accurately describe Hardcore Henry, however none of these words would apply to the script. It’s linear story is wholly overshadowed by the visual spectacle, which is overshadowed by Copley.
The film is staged like a video game where Henry has is objectives and completes several ‘missions’, ultimately leading to its climatic battle with the end boss. In 96 minutes Hardcore Henry goes from point ‘A’ to ‘B’ with little deviation. Those looking for a bit of depth in the story, or characters that have been fleshed out, will leave with more questions than answers. For those seeking the ultimate experience, Hardcore Henry is playing in D-BOX motion enhanced cinemas.
Rated: R @ 96 minutes