Sunday, May 29, 2016

Hardcore Henry Review

Have you ever seen a trailer to a film and thought, wow, I bet I am going to hate that, only to actually experience it and be proven totally, unequivocally wrong? Whether the marketing just simply didn't capture the magic of the entire picture or was completely altogether misleading, it's a terrific feeling to discover something wonderful from a work that inspired zero expectations from you initially.

That has happened to me numerous times.

Hardcore Henry was not one of them.

It's a difficult thing, for me to completely critique this film because a major factor towards my lack of enjoyment is based on personal appeal rather than an actual cinematic failure. The reason I was pessimistic way back with the first trailer was because the very brief look at the first-person shooter style already made me feel queasy, so how could it possibly play well over the course of 90 minutes? Answer: it couldn't. I lasted about 8 of those minutes before I had to look away from the screen and collect myself, because watching a man crashing into shit and flipping in different directions from his own perspective was more than I could handle.

The plot of the film revolves around a man named Henry who is brought back to life with no memory of how he got there, and it takes only minutes for shit to get fast, frenetic and furious as he is fleeing the scene with his wife, and after she is taking away from him his mission is to save her. That's pretty much all you need to know, that and the fact that he is befriended by a man named Jimmy (played by Sharlto Copley, who I have come to realize I can pretty much only enjoy/take seriously in District 9). The rest of the film is meant to replicate the experience of playing a video game and one thing is completely clear, Hardcore Henry isn't going to work for everyone. It didn't work for me.

It didn't really help that I found pretty much all the dialogue to be complete nonsense either. I am far more willing to buy into a gimmick if it can win me over in another fashion, but when the action is nauseating and the screenplay feels completely contrived, I really couldn't buy much of anything Hardcore Henry was selling. Perhaps I would be more compelled to praise the attempt at cinematic innovation, because trust me, I am a sucker for when a filmmaker wants to do something new and unique, had this been limited to a 30 minute short feature rather than a full length work, but even then I don't think I would be able to call myself a fan. It's impossible for me to label the entire film as a failure though, because a few set pieces were well constructed and exciting and the style allowed for some humorous perspective-related comedy, but overall my gut feeling from the beginning proved to be spot on.

Maybe next time I doubt a movie I will be proven wrong. Today is not that day.


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