Hardcore Henry

Hardcore Henry ★★★½

That this film has received a single negative review since it was released is a disgrace. It's a film that has Let Me Down Easy by The Stranglers playing over its opening titles. Therefore Hardcore Henry is great.

Now we've got that settled, and I've additionally pointed out that the opening titles to Hardcore Henry are absolutely superb as well, let me point out the other reasons why Hardcore Henry is also great. I understand that its appeal is going to be extremely limited if you're not a person who likes watching other people play video games but I do, so this was a film that was almost certainly aimed at people like me.

If you are of that particular demographic, there's loads to enjoy here. Deciding to take the same approach as the two Crank films (which it's not as good as - but then again, what is?) by rejecting logic and reason when it chose to see fit, it does have additional links to video games as well. Again, I can understand why that might alienate some but I'm all for it. If you are prepared to make an utterly ridiculous film that is completely aware of that fact, then chuck as much logic as you want out of the window and entertain me. I'm totally fine with that.

That's what Hardcore Henry does although I would have preferred it if:-

1) It wasn't Sharlto Copley being regenerated.

2) If he has to be, at least make him collect a 1UP beforehand or something.

Copley is technically as terrible as he always is. I'm utterly baffled as to how his film career has gone this far, really. But I found myself even warming to him as it went on, mainly when he assumes the persona of a British army general and harrumphs his way round for a few minutes in a surprisingly enjoyable way. Maybe he finally found his calling. He ends up being superb fun here.

To be quite frank, I really did not expect to like this at all and expected the style to have no chance of sustaining itself for feature length. Using it for 3 minute music videos was fine (and impressive) but I just didn't think it could work at this length. Its sheer force of will and a surprisingly regular injection of decent ideas, not to mention that the sheer unusual novelty of the perspective, means that it passed by with no real problem for me.

I also think praise needs to be given in spades to Ilya Naishuller for how coherent all the action scenes manage to be. I never had any issue following them, which contrasts starkly with regularly shot modern action films where I often can't tell what the hell is going on. It does have its downsides - the Haley Bennett twist was obvious from the outset, the Tim Roth cameo baffling and the guy playing the lead villain is pretty bad.

I honestly can't see this type of film becoming a big thing, so everyone can stop panicking. But I for one thought this was tremendous fun and will happily throw it on the 'Sequel this action banger' pile with haste.

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🇵🇱 Steve G liked these reviews