Run time: 96 mins
When Henry first wakes up, he’s got a list of things he’s missing: An arm, a leg, his voice and his memories. He gets his limbs back – in the form of some robotic appendages – and the woman helping him claims to be his wife, but his voice is out of commission for the duration of the movie. Before his life can settle into some semblance of normal, however, a man known only as Akan arrives, declaring that Henry is the key to his plans of world domination. The rest of the film is a fast-paced struggle as Henry attempts to rescue his wife from her hostage situation.
The best thing that Hardcore Henry has to offer is its unique perspective. Imagine something like a James Bond film, but with more parkour, and with a GoPro strapped to the protagonists face. The movie was filmed entirely from the viewpoint of various stunt doubles, which made the fight-scenes all the more vivid and intense. This first-person point of view was refreshingly original, and only served to enhance the movie’s action.
Unfortunately, there were some downsides to this technique as well. For example, there are points were it looks too much like a video game. In a couple scenes, I noticed the special effects suddenly melted away, as though the producers had run out of money before they’d completed the movie and had to scrap together some final scenes. Additionally, the camera’s constant bobbing made the movie hard to follow at points, and my eyes felt like they had whiplash upon leaving the theater.
The worst thing about Hardcore Henry is easily the plot, which makes little to no sense. To add insult to injury, the storyline is about as overused as they come: Remarkable hero is forced to save a loved one from a nefarious villain with plans to take over the world. In fact, the villain is so ridiculous I almost thought he was meant to serve as satire for over-the-top antagonists. But no, Hardcore Henry seems to be taking itself pretty serious on this one. He’s crazy, he’s albino, and he’s got telekinesis. Why this man even needs a cyborg army is beyond me. Why he needs Henry is even further beyond my capabilities to fathom.
Without a leading actor, the film was mostly carried by Sharlto Copley, whose character served as Henry’s guide throughout the movie. His erratic role in the movie actually complimented the absurdity around him nicely, and I think the film would have really suffered without him. I was also pleasantly surprised by the appearance of Tim Roth, who appeared very briefly in the form of flashbacks.
Flaws aside, I actually kind of enjoyed Hardcore Henry. It certainly won’t be winning any Golden Globes, but then again, that’s not the type of movie I was expecting to see. Instead, I got nonstop action set to a techno beat, and I’m perfectly okay with that. If nothing else, it’s a mindless action flick to loosen up with.
Viewers be warned, this film is rated R for a reason; profanity, sexual content, cringe-inducing violence, the works. It’s definitely not for the squeamish or the faint of heart – the intro alone made me feel a little woozy. But if you’re into brain-numbing violence without a plot, look no further! Hardcore Henry is the film for you.