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Review: Hardcore Henry

With the advancement in technology and filmmaking starting to blur together, some directors decide to push the limit of entertainment. Many directors are trying new and inventive ways to tell an immersive story for their audience members that push the boundaries of what can be possible. Director Ilya Naishuller’s Hardcore takes a huge leap forward in First Person filmmaking but is the idea of having every shot of the film through the eyes our hero something refreshing or just a passing gimmick? Let’s find out.

Player 1 has entered the game.

As you can see from the comment above, this film plays like a video game. Think of it like watching someone play a non-stop version of Call of Duty set in Russia and the character is a cyborg that can take a lot of punishment. From the beginning credits, this film knows what it is and plays to it. Within the first five minutes of the film you are strapped in and taken for a wild ride that has you follow Henry in his quest to save his wife, with the help of Jimmy (Copley), from the telepathic villain, Akan (Kozlovsky). That last part is about the gist of the story as it takes a backseat in this film with a few well place twists. The selling point is the action.

The action in this film starts on a slow pace and keeps going to break neck speed that can sometimes be a problem when you need breathing room. The camera gets shaky quite a bit to the point of nausea, so make sure to have a barf bag nearby. There are several action set pieces that go over the top and are absolutely amazing. The last one screams of final boss battle and is well deserved. Also, the violence is gory, I mean really gory. So people, who get all icky with the idea of blood, or buckets of it, might want to skip this one.

There is a bit of acting in this film but the two that stand out the most are Kozlovsky and Copley. Kozlovsky brings a lot of fun and playfulness with his character. He gets to chew up every scene he’s in and you eagerly wait for the final confrontation between him and Henry. Copley is extraordinary in this role. He must’ve had a ball with playing so many different characters that fitted well into the story. There’s one scene in particular that Copley’s acting hits all the right notes that added the silly manner of the movie. Really, Copley has talent and should definitely be recognize in this role.

Early on I said the shaky cam can be too much and that’s one of the big downfalls in the film. There were several instances where I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Some of it was called for and other times, it was really annoying.

This is a film that should be seen on the big screen for the experience alone. If you are a fan of ultra violence and first person shooters, then this is right up your alley. If you can get pass the motion sickness, then you’re ready for a lot of “off the fucking rails” moments that will live you fully entertained. Hardcore Henry is hardcore and that’s a nice shot of adrenaline that action movie goers wouldn’t mind taking.

Grade: B+

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