Hardcore Henry (2016)*

 

The Quick and Dirty ~(Hints for the unspoiled)

For those who don’t want spoilers (yet), here’s a quick rundown that might help end the indecision on whether you should throw down cash to see this movie.

Genre – Action and gore filled. To the max.

Is it really like a 1st person video game?

Yes, you will be constantly reminded of this. Hint, be prepared for numerous floor/ground/staring down shots.

Is there substantial plot?

No, this is purely an action film. See Genre for plot details –Hint, very thin plot, with a watery, washed out “twist” that’s almost laughable in its existence.

Will watching this make me a better person?

Probably not.It did feed my sarcastic side with its infrequent spots of black humor, but there is no room for naievity here. It is bloody, it is gory, and it is morbidly sadistic at times.

Should my children watch this?

Only if they’ve grown used to playing Call of Duty/any shooter game with real blood. Side Effect: this film will further enhance their delusions regarding main character’s invincibility.

Second side effect – You will be a cool, but messed up parent. Never tell anyone you’ve taken your <18 yr old children to this film, child services will break down your door and cart them away if they ever got wind.

What are some “similar” films that can help give frame of reference?

The Bourne series comes to mind.

Enough hinting? Alright, let’s get on with the real spoilers of this film.

*Possible Spoilers Below

Focuses

True to form, I’ll be focusing on the Plot, the Characters, and… things that bugged me.

 

Plot

From the film commercials themselves, I had the expectation that this would be a slim cut above playing campaign style on any Battlefield game I’ve played (PS2-4 if interested). In a sense, the plot is very dependent on you focusing on the action and not asking too many questions.

The action is pretty good. There is no shying away from blood, gory slayings, gunshot wounds, stabbing, or even disembowelment. In fact, from the first 5 seconds of the film, you are shown previews of almost every possible way someone will die in this movie. Soft tissue damage, cranial trauma,  stab wounds, nicked arteries, you-name-it-we-showed-it.

If that didn’t put you off your feed, you were all set to watch the rest. For there was more- much more- to come.

Rather than a plot, you are sent on back-to-back missions that are supposed to link together in a cohesive fashion, despite the complete lack of any such…cohesion. Henry is given a map, vague instructions and is sent on his way. Fortunately, his cyborg body is very resilient and survives practically everything that comes his way.

 

Characters

Henry never talks. Ever. Which is fine since every other character in this film never shuts up anyway.

Henry is introduced as a silent yet deadly weapon with singular purpose, a purpose that comes off a bit robotic in that there is no “independent thinking” when interacting with environments or people. He lacks that core curiosity concept and thus comes off a bit flat.

Not to worry, because everyone else is ridiculously over-the-top in execution.

Jimmy

Fun-time Jimmy is always ready to spring the humor factor that the director thinks the viewer needs but doesn’t deserve.

Reminded me of an overactive frat boy. Too loud, too funny, too overachieving. It plays off well considering the other half of the conversation is silent. Jimmy keeps things interesting, and practically carries the part of narrator, expositionist, guide, explainer, CO and weapons supplier.

Regular jack of all trades. Just don’t ask for any level of conversational depth.

Akan

Yay, a Russian villain. Haven’t had one of those for a while -oh wait…

I have to say that the character tends to try way too hard to be a convincing villain. With all that effort to emanate an evil persona, I found myself shaking my head and whispering “stop forcing it, bro”.

But that’s just me. And again, don’t focus on that, it isn’t supposed to be a substantiated film.

All the Single Ladies

Were much appreciated. I thank them and their lingerie for the sacrifices they made to further promote, enhance, or distract from the plot.

And before you ask, I have nothing to say regarding Henry’s wife.

 

Soundtrack

So I like music. This film had some great tracks that complimented the scenes and gave voice to the mute. It had it’s shining moments, but sometimes the songs distracted a bit from who was kicking who’s butt at the time.Either way, great addition.

Cheers.

 

Things that Bugged Me

The Villain

Frankly, the first thing that came to mind was…is that Magneto? If so, wtf?

Akan appears to have the power of telekinesis and by doing so, manages to toss everything and everyone around like sacks of wheat. While the concept is unoriginal, it is the taunting that doesn’t make sense. Yes, he can harp that “I have your wife” over and over, but the whole thing is treated so cavalierly, that even I as the viewer was wondering if he were laying it on a bit too thick.

No, you’re right, forget about plot, let’s focus on action.

The Viewer Experience

There is plenty here that amuses and impresses but what is so disappointing is that the viewer is stuck with staring down at the ground or other unimportant aspects of the scene for a real chunk of the film. Frankly, even when I play video games, I learn to stop staring up and down so much, because the ground and sky are useless for assessing next steps.

If this were not bad enough, the viewer is treated to so much shaky-camera syndrome that even your eyeballs will get dizzy. I mean, yes this is supposed to be action-y 1st person POV but even video games have mastered smoother movement when the character is in motion. And enough with staring at every vaulted bush, every stretch of ground, every patch of grass- shall I go on?

The Fight Scenes

Fine. The film excelled in combat modes when Henry versed small groups of enemies in a kick-ass fashion. Near the end, the fighting becomes more about fighting off waves of opponents, capture-the-flag style which, while containing interesting moments, becomes a tad stale by the repetitiveness. And, come on, even I wasn’t convinced that Henry “might” lose; hence the level of excitement from watching equaled that of viewing a youtube clip of a random gamer playing Crysis.

The Ending

Hah! Nice try, you’ll just have to see it to believe it.

 

Conclusions

Is it worth watching?

Maybe, if lack of a plot doesn’t bother you, go for it.

Did you regret watching it?

Nah, I knew what I was getting into and I didn’t regret putting the money down for it.

Will it blow my mind?

I doubt it.

What did you think of the film?

It was different in the aspect that the 1st person POV allows the viewer to “be” Henry in a film, almost like gaming on a ginormous screen (if you see in theaters). It did lack that core of being more “independent” and beyond the camera POV, there is barely no originality.

 

Ranking: C+

Based purely on the action. And it’s too early to even think about a trilogy, so don’t even- !

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Published by

opalflame

I am artist, analyst, author, poet, composer, musician to name a few aspects of myself. A bit of a jack of trades, I dabble into many fields that encourage the blossom of imagination and allow me to channel my creativity. I dream vividly and view the world through the lens of optimism and opportunity while acknowledging the ink and shadows.

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