Saturday, April 16, 2016

Hardcore Henry - Review

Henry, a silent protagonist this side of a Call of Duty video game, wakes up in a lab with a bad case of amnesia and two new robotic limbs, given to him by his hot scientist wife (Haley Bennett). His new life as a cyborg quickly goes sour when albino telekinetic Akan (Danila Kozlovsky) invades the scientific sky fortress and eventually snatches up his woman Double Dragon-style. Henry seemingly must content with the entirety of mother Russia, as he violently battles and parkours his way to his girl, only aided by a succession of weird, cloned helpers (Sharlto Copley). HARDCORE HENRY is junky pleasure, a movie that pushes the needle with its gimmick of being a cinematic FPS. Trying to extract and combine the appeal of video games like COD, Mirror's Edge, and maybe even the obscure Xbox gem Breakdown, the film attempts to emulate the rush those games deliver with its full blown Go-Pro cinematography, multiple sets and shootouts, and a "having and eating your cake" direction by viral music video auteur Ilya Naishuller. As much as I wished to bump my grade of it a wee bit (maybe in the future) due to my adoration for gaming and the sheer boldness of gore and stunts, the movie is frankly hard to stomach; it's the equivalent of ingesting a fast food promotion, most notably my own time with the Arch Deluxe. The camera gets extremely shaky and blurry too many times, you often have a hard time figuring out what vicious thing just happened, and then there's the bad cases of multiple 360° turns around closed off spaces. Further hurting matters is the rancid story, filled to the brim with its boys-only humor, twists you can put a bullet through a mile away, and a pathetic endnote that might has well had "Press F" subtitled on the screen. I may slag this with good reasons for the normal viewer to avoid it completely but at least this gonzo picture is destined to be a true blue cult film, not a run of mill "intended to be bad" flick that sadly now spring up in droves. Naishuller and his crew put a lot of love into their insane vision, from the fantastically horrific opening credits to the Tommy Wiseau-talking villain to the booming score and eclectically diverse soundtrack. The experience will only be better if you're in the nerdy know, have a tall glass with friends, or venture out to the theater at midnight. Others need not apply.


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