Film review – Hardcore Henry

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HARDCORE HENRY

Ultra-violent, all-action roustabout sci-fi romp, filmed from a first-person viewpoint using Go-Pro HD minicams, starring a load of Russians you’ve never heard of and that South African bloke from District 9.

Every once in a while you make a connection with a movie that goes beyond the norm.
You might see the trailer and be blown away, or a trusted friend could have a quiet word in your shell-like and drag you along to a film he knows you’re gonna love.
Did I just say “he” ?
Oh yes.
I think I did.

Hardcore Henry is big, brash, bonkers and completely and utterly brilliant.
It’s a Ronseal movie – just watch the trailer and if you don’t like it, don’t see it. Period.

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For anyone brought up on FPS games (that’s first person shooters for the uninitiated) Henry is the film you’ve always dreamed of .. the film that the actually-not-bad Doom or the really-pretty-good Hitman (the first one) could have been, had the producers really had the balls to .. well, hang their balls out for the world to kick.
This is gung-ho with the emphasis firmly on the gun.
This is COD-tastic.
This is Duke Nukem funny.
This is GTA crazy.
This is a riot .. as in riot shield.

The references run through the very DNA of the picture, and you’ll nudge your mate saying “Call of Duty 3” and “Vice City” every two minutes.
The weapons are all recognisable, from small sidearms, through machine pistols, sub-machine guns, assault rifles, various grenades and launchers, heavy machine guns and of course – this being a very Russian movie at heart – the ubiquitous AK-47 in all its highly effective variants.

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There’s the scene from COD where you’re following a ghillie-suited sniper through an abandoned estate, jumping from balcony to balcony across a series of apartment buildings.
There’s the close-quarter combat with only a riot shield for protection, allowing you to see exactly how many people are trying to kill you.
The main supporting character is a comedy mash-up between GTA’s Kent Paul and Captain Price of the original COD stories.
There’s a glorious – and acutely funny – scene with a guy wielding a flame thrower.
After the initial hit, you’re struggling to your feet as you hear him stomping round the corner, menacing but slowed by his cumbersome protective suit and you know you’ve got to get moving before he can fire again ..
At this point, you’re running .. there’s a lot of running. And jumping. And parcour in general.
And driving.
And punching.
And shooting.
It’s every teenage boy’s fantasy, including a scene in a strip-joint.
It’s insanely funny.
It’s highly original – why hasn’t anyone thought to do this before ?
It’s extremely well executed – pun intended.
It’s the most fun I’ve had in a cinema in a long time and so long as you love video games, cartoon violence, cheesy one-liners and fast, furious, frenetic action and chases – car and foot – then you will absolutely love, love, love Hardcore Henry.

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If you liked the trailer but wondered “yeah, it’s clever but can they really fill a movie with this stuff ?” the answer is yes.
Oh, you wanted to know about the plot ?
Well actually it’s better than you could imagine. You wake up in some kind of cryogenic tank with your left leg and arm half missing. A beautiful blonde doctor is attending to your every need, claiming she’s your wife, telling you your name is Henry and that you were a soldier and she’s been nursing you back to life.
You can’t speak because your voice module hasn’t yet been activated and ..
***BOOM***
It begins …
I am loathe to say anything more for fear of spoilers, but there really is a proper story involving a clone army and lots of techno mumbo jumbo and a good healthy dose of futurism, while it remains very much on earth in the not too distant future.
Oh, and there’s an airship. It’s been ages since we had a good airship in a movie.

There.
That’s it.
I’m done.
I fucking loved it and I’m going again.

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