Movie, ‘Hardcore Henry’: first-person perspective is worth getting used to
Max Bickley – General Assignment Reporter
Within the past two generations, movies and video-games have had a clear line drawn between them. However, what happened last weekend with the release of “Hardcore Henry” was something which blurred the lines. “Hardcore Henry” is a first-person perspective movie which watches and feels like a first-person shooter video game.
It has to be said before anything else, in all honesty, the movie is very peculiar, and at first will not seem like it is worth the cost of a ticket. The movie was filmed with a Gopro Hero 3, and the alteration to a first person perspective takes getting used to, but once it does, there is no stopping the joy the movie brings.
“Hardcore Henry” follows a day in Moscow with Henry, a recent survivor of some unknown accident when he is awoken to being augmented with cybernetics by a woman filling in the gaps of Henry’s memory. Then all of a sudden an albino telekinetic man named Akan shows up trying to kidnap Henry’s wife and all manner of madness ensues. There’s a man named Jimmy, a flamethrower, a brothel, and enough guns and explosions to make “Call of Duty” quiver with envy.
When it comes down to the story, it seems at first that it is just a hokey, run of the mill, vanilla, shooter video-game story. However, what the movie does absolutely best is knowing what it is and making it beyond the best. The action does not stop, except for minor moments of interaction where the silent protagonist Henry shakes his head or listens to someone, there is a constant pace.
The action is very similar as well to the film “The Raid” in the way that it is fast, and brutal. The level of violence in the film is insane, but the thing is, it is so brilliantly executed that it’s hard to give it any gripe. Simply put, there is no level of understanding the joy felt watching an insane fight between 20 guys turn into a slaughter, all the while Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” is playing for the audience.
The acting as well is beyond phenomenal. In total there are five characters, four of whom you actually know the name of and care about. It is impossible to talk about Henry, solely for the reason that his actor is listed as the audience, it’s an honestly brilliant little piece to adopt that perspective of being the character literally in the film.
The two biggest characters though are Jimmy, played by Sharlto Copley, and the villain Akan, who is played by Danila Kozlovsky. Akan is the best kind of villain a movie can ask for; he is sadistic, a little insane, but at the same time just that right level of creepy to become enthralled and disturbed. Any time Akan was on screen something exciting was going to happen, and the audience knew it. The same can be said of Copley’s character Jimmy, who is one of the funniest characters in the movie, and is the force which points Henry where to go.
The movie is very aware of what it is doing, bringing the feel of an action video-game to cinema, and it pulls it off. Its jokes are on point, it’s action is incredible and absolutely horrifying at times, and it is a movie which people will be talking about for some time. Though the perspective may be tricky to get used to, and there are occasional blips of obvious CGI, the movie is worth every second.