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“Hardcore Henry” Movie Review

If you’re thinking about seeing the new movie, “Hardcore Henry,” let me help you make your decision by answering a few questions you may have about it.

Will you get sick watching a movie that was filmed in first-person POV (like many “shooter” video games)? I didn’t get sick, and I didn’t see a large number of people running away from their seats and not returning. However, of the two people I was with, one of them had to leave the movie about half-way through because the POV made the person feel a little sick and like a migraine was impending. I’ve had problems in the past with vertigo in certain situations, but for some reason, this movie didn’t affect me physically. Make your own judgement on this one. Or take some dramamine before show time.

hardcore henry
Will you get tired of watching a first-person POV movie? I can only say that the novelty of this movie wore pretty thin for me around the same time my friend left for the lobby. I think the answer is, “yeah, probably.”

Is it ultra-violent? Compared to much of the television that is on nowadays, I would say that this isn’t any more violent. I certainly wouldn’t call it “hardcore.” I believe that adjective was chosen to help sell the movie and because it shared the same initial consonant as “Henry.”

Is the song, “Don’t Stop Me Now,” by Queen actually used in the movie? Yes. Not much of it, but it’s in there.

Will this be the future of action movies? No.

Why?

I’ll tell you later,  but first, the positives about this flick.

It was different. I rarely play video games and seeing a movie shot with this kind of POV was fun at first and unique, as far as I know as far as full-length features go. By the way, the movie was supposedly inspired by this music video from a band called Biting Elbows. It is easy to see the similarities between the two.

Other positives…it was pretty action packed (more on that later), and the acting was okay (more on that later as well). Finally, the ending had a nice twist–one of those wrap-ups that makes people almost stand up and cheer. Almost.

And now for the negatives.

I already alluded to the fact that watching the same POV became boring and monotonous half-way through the movie for me. But here’s the real problem I had with this film.

Despite the fact that, in theory, you might feel closer to the character because of being able to see the world through his eyes, I would argue that exactly the opposite was the case. Bear with me. First problem. Henry can’t speak. So there’s a main character who doesn’t say a single word throughout the entire movie. Second problem. I believe that viewers get to know characters by watching how they react to situations and other characters. We watch the facial expressions and the movements of great actors and actresses. We are amazed at their timing. The way they deliver their lines. But in “Hardcore Henry,” there was none of that. Yes, other characters spoke to him, but at best, the only reaction we saw was our world view nodding up and down or shaking from left to right. Every once in a while, the movie would spice things up with a shrug or a raised hand, and believe it or not, that was pretty darn exciting to me while watching this film.

Suffice to say, I’ve rarely felt as removed from a character on the silver screen. The only time I felt connected to him was during the ending (you’ll have to watch the movie to find out why), which was, as I’ve said, not so bad.

The choice of POV caused other ramifications as well. In short, the supporting characters didn’t have a main character with whom they could interact. There were a few nice moments of passable acting from the cast, but they couldn’t do much with a leading man who could only nod, shake his head, or shrug.

Well, there were a few more things Henry could do.

What’s really left for a voiceless, first-person POV character to do? He could and did run and leap and punch and shoot and slice and kill and…you get the point. Because of the limitations put on the character, the movie ended up being a bunch of loosely tied together action scenes. Was “Hardcore Henry” action packed? Yep, because that’s the only choice it had.

Oh, and there was also a bad guy with some unexplained mutant power that made him pretty invincible. His powers were never explained, and as bad guys go, he was just meh (that’s why I almost forgot to mention him in this review). And Henry’s wife. She was pretty. Okay acting. No real bond with her either.

Would I recommend watching this movie in theaters? If you want to see it, that’s the only way I’d advise seeing it. But be prepared to watch it for the novelty of it, and not much else. Do it soon, though. I don’t predict Henry will be hanging around theaters for very long.

 

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