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Review Hardcore Henry (2015): A film entirely in first person view should not have worked but it did and how!

genre: action, adventure, science fiction





When I saw the trailer I could appreciate the kinetic violence and energy that came at me in full force. But I was wondering how it would not exhaust me if I had to endure a full 95 minutes of that. And to my surprise it did not. In fact at the end of the ride I was completely enthralled and invigorated.

Because even if it is minimal there is some brilliance attached to this project. First and foremost is the action and the stunt work of course. Second and even more important is not forgetting how to make the action more exciting. Which is creating characters and story to give all of the events some meat. And that brings me to the last but not least part of what makes Hardcore Henry so wonderful. Sharlto Copley. I swear every project this man has been in has brought me something fresh and good. Can the man even do wrong? If he had not impressed you thus far (how can you not be BTW, the man is a tour du force) he sure will in this film. I am not going to reveal how since that will spoil the fun. But you will agree with me after you have seen it. (Please do leave comments!). In general though most of the acting is top notch.

Now I am not a big fan of first person view. Since it is very restricting and limiting. For action to be enjoyed properly you need to be able to see more than what the main character sees. The only time it is acceptable is in video games where you have control of the main character. Then can can feel like you in the middle of it all. Of course Hardcore Henry is not a game but manages to circumvent this by pausing the action just at the right moments to give a breather and at the same time give you something to chew on. Like who is this Jimmy fella (Sharlto Copley) who keeps popping up everywhere you go? Is all that is happening to Henry even real? Or is he stuck in a pod minutes away from being rescued by Neo? It is these moments that keep things interesting since otherwise the action alone could have been tedious. There is only so much action one can take. And I don't care how grand and epic it is. If there is no balance or context it will be boring. I only have to refer to Man of Steel to prove my point. In any case director/actor/ writer Ilya Naishuller (Henry) clearly knows what he is doing and can't wait to see what he will bring us next. One word of caution though. The action is exciting but also is very violent and gory. On top of that there is the shaky cam. Sometimes it is real hard to make out what is going on.

Overall Hardcore Henry is surprisingly good and very deserving of the praise it is getting.


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