“Hardcore Henry” Review


Genre: Action/Sci-Fi
Director: Ilya Naishuller
Writers: Ilya Naishuller and Will Stewart
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett and Tim Roth
Release Date: April 10, 2016
Runtime: 1 hour, 36 minutes
Rating: R for “non-stop bloody brutal violence and mayhem, language throughout, sexual content/nudity and drug use.”
Plot Summary: “After being resurrected from the dead and cybernetically altered, superhuman Henry embarks on a chaotic adventure to rescue his wife from a telekinetic warlord and stop his plan to take over the world.”

Ilya Naishuller’s “Hardcore Henry” is a brutal, gory and intense Russian-American sci-fi/action film that literally puts the audience into the first person perspective of dangerous superhuman Henry as he embarks on a crazy and chaotic vendetta. It was awesome! I’m not saying that just because it has plenty of fun action sequences in it; I’m saying that because the way this movie was filmed is revolutionary, different and exciting. Actually being put into the shoes, eyes and ears of Henry as he races around Russia’s streets and utilizes his superhuman skills was fantastic to watch and I enjoyed every single second of it.

As if the action in this film wasn’t already enough to make me love it, Sharlto Copley was beyond outstanding in this movie; I have so much respect for this man as an actor due to his masterful ability to lose himself in his characters, and he definitely does this in “Hardcore Henry”. If you’ve seen Copley in “Elysium” (2013), “Maleficent” (2014) or any of his other works, and enjoyed it, you’re going to love seeing him in this. If you’ve never heard of him or seen him before, you’re going to want to see everything he’s ever touched after seeing him play Jimmy in “Hardcore Henry”.

Some critics and audience members have bashed this movie due to its “lack of substance” and nonstop violence. This would be legitimate criticism if the marketing team of “Hardcore Henry” advertised it as a deep, thought-provoking film, but they did not do that, so I don’t have that criticism about this movie whatsoever. I didn’t care that this movie was nonstop bloody and gory action because that’s exactly what the trailers of this film make it out to be. If you’re looking for a smart and profound action/drama story, I can tell you right now you are going to be incredibly disappointed with this movie because it rarely ever lets up from its action and is constantly on its feet. To summarize: don’t go into this movie expecting something like “The Dark Knight” and you’ll have a good time with it.

The only problems I had with “Hardcore Henry” are that, without spoiling anything, Tim Roth’s appearance in this movie is very bleak; the lack of Tim Roth really disappointed me because I’m a huge fan of him and I wanted to see so much more from him. Second, “Hardcore Henry” is not a film I would recommend if you don’t like blood or gore in films, or if you have motion sickness. This film’s camerawork and balance can be so chaotic and incohesive at times that I started to feel sick to my stomach. Add in the fact that “Hardcore Henry” has some of the most intense violence I have ever seen and that definitely does not help ease the nausea at all. I didn’t hate or despise this movie for these two criticisms, however, because the marketing team of this film never said Tim Roth had a big role in this film and they let audiences know immediately that the camerawork does move in slightly incoherent and chaotic motions.

I’m going to give Ilya Naishuller’s “Hardcore Henry” an “A+” because I haven’t seen this good of an action film released in theaters since “Mad Max: Fury Road”. I recommend it to action and sci-fi fans as well as anyone who enjoys first person, shoot-em-up video games or films. I strongly urge audiences to please take it for what it is and make sure you don’t go into it with a full stomach.

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