Hardcore Henry









Released by STX Entertainment

Release Date: April 8th, 2016

Starring: Sharlto Copley, Tim Roth, Haley Bennett

Written by Ilya Naishuller

Directed by Ilya Naishuller

Rated R (non-stop bloody brutal violence and mayhem, language throughout, sexual                                    content/nudity and drug use)


The biggest selling video games on the planet are First Person Shooters (FPS). These are games like the Call of Duty series where you take control of a character from their point of view. The player does not see their onscreen character unless they look in a mirror or some other reflective surface. These games are big sellers because players like to imagine themselves in the game.

This is the same concept for Hardcore Henry, a film that is really a one-note film but is almost saved with a bat shit crazy performance from Sharlto Copely.


The film’s plot synopsis reads like an instruction manual for a video game (how fitting):
Hardcore Henry is an action film told from a first person perspective: You remember nothing. Mainly because you've just been brought back from the dead by your wife (Haley Bennett). She tells you that your name is Henry. Five minutes later, you are being shot at, your wife has been kidnapped, and you should probably go get her back. Who's got her? His name's Akan; he's a powerful warlord with an army of mercenaries, and a plan for world domination. You're also in an unfamiliar city of Moscow, and everyone wants you dead. Everyone except for a mysterious British fellow called Jimmy. He may be on your side, but you aren't sure. If you can survive the insanity, and solve the mystery, you might just discover your purpose and the truth behind your identity. Good luck, Henry. You're likely going to need it...

Reading this, I can see why someone would get pumped to see this film. It didn’t do a lot of magic because the film flopped in theaters, but I am sure that the film will do well on dvd and blu-ray.


Anyways, the film takes the first person aspect very seriously and the filmmakers should be commended for their efforts. The film is very well made. I know that this took a long time to film and one can gather that from watching the way that the action scenes are put together. The entire time I was watching the film I was wondering how the filmmakers accomplished it all. The fact that this film is always moving is a testament to the craftsmanship of the technical aspects.

The film, however, is not that good. The filmmakers focused so much on the technical aspects that they forgot to write a decent story. I think that they think that just putting the film through one action scene after another is going to make people happy, but they would be wrong. Sure, we all love our action films, but we also like to have a main character that we can relate to, but by making us the main character, the filmmakers have given us nothing to root for. We go to the movies to get away from the bullshit in our lives, not to be thrust into a film and have a ton more shit put on us.


Since the film is always moving and the character does the same, which means that the camera is always moving. This can get really bad during the action scenes as the camera is whipping around, trying to catch everything that is going on. There are a lot of people out there that won’t be able to stomach the film, not for the gore on display, and there is a ton of it, but the film will give people motion sickness.

There is one thing that stood out from the film and that is Sharlto Copley. You will know Copley from District 9 as well as the Playstation Network show Powers. Here he is given free rein to ham it up and he takes this very seriously. Copley is the audience, basically. Anything that we think of is answered by the end of the film. (well, not everything, but you get my drift.) The filmmakers were wise in casting Copley as he is a pro at playing crazy. He turns up in many different roles and is killed off many times throughout the film. This was distracting at first, but by the time he showed up for the fourth or fifth time, I just decided to go with it. There is a reason for his many appearances, but I will leave that up for you to discover. I will say, however, that the scene where the reappearance of Copley is explained is the sanest scene in the film, and that is saying a lot.


Hardcore Henry is not a total failure. The camerawork is amazing and, just on a technical level, is worth a watch. We do have a hard time identifying with the main character, but the action moves so fast that we don’t realize it until the end. The saving grace is Copley, who shows up in every scene and makes the most of it. He is the only reason that the film is as good as it is, but don’t go off buying the film because of him. Give it a rental and he will make you smile. You will still have to sit through a pretty bland action film, but you will have a smile on your face the entire time.