Wednesday, April 13, 2016


When Hardcore Henry was announced for a release I was overly excited to check it out. I am all about pushing the boundaries of filmmaking and finding new and original ways to tell a story, so of course this fit perfectly for me. There is always something really exciting to me about seeing new ways in which filmmakers go crazy with imagination and find new places to put the camera or enhance the frame. Whilst Hardcore Henry can certainly boast a remarkable technical achievement, it doesn't end up being the quality film I wished for.

There is no question on the triumph of the first person shot on the practical side. It flows perfectly, it rarely ever gets bothering or sickening and even better, you can always tell what is going on for the most part. Thanks also to a brilliant sound design, which is just as vital as the camera work in making the ordeal successful, you definitely get to feel deeply immersed in some points of the film. Especially early on there is a sky sequence that was breathtaking, you really got a sense of vertigo there and the adrenaline that it induced was exhilarating. There are repeated sequences of this and they are all, for my money, the best part of the film. Making this look so good on such a tight budget must have been a real challenge and the filmmakers deserve praise for their technical abilities.

The action too is just as impressive. Its storytelling heft will be discussed later, but on a pure technical level it is balls to the wall, batsh*t crazy stuff that will most certainly shock even the toughest viewers. The stunt team does a magnificent job, there clearly isn't too much CGI involved and wherever it is, it is masked brilliantly; there were just a couple of explosions that felt like it, for the rest it was seamless. You felt every shot and punch as if you were there. As I said the violence might be a little too much for some people, it did not bother me and it was definitely an integral part of the distinctive tone and style of the film. That is something it nails through, without having any bothering shifts in it. Its classic violence + dark humor combination, brought to what might be a very extreme but coherent level.

Moreover, I have to say that I have not been a fan of Sharlto Copley's acting in the past, but I found nothing to lament here. On the contrary he ends up being the best part of the film. His character must have been a real challenge to pull off and Copley rises to it, brining to life a performance that is as funny as it is crazy.

Where this whole movie collapses is in its story and plot. It is really poor. The first person shot unfortunately becomes a gimmick after the first twenty minutes or so and you don't recover from that ever again. I was talking about storytelling and action before, what starts out as a film with integral and thrilling action slowly escalates to a style over substance extravaganza, that being clearly due to absolutely no story or connection picking up. Other than the fact that the plot is as unsubstantial as an action movie plot can get, the characters' motivations are incredibly under-looked and after a good opening you are just left with a less and less interesting movie.

I think the focus was just too much on the gimmick and the filmmakers lost the story on the way, ending up with a film that manages to impress for sure, but does not leave the viewer with any satisfaction. I am sure excited to see where Ilya Naishuller goes next, because he clearly has talent, but I don't think I'll ever check this one again.

James's Score: 5/10

Make sure to check us out and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for all of our reviews, news, trailers, and much, much more!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment