A wonderfully executed first person adventure that keep you on the edge of your seat.
All I knew about this film before seeing it was that it was a first person action movie where a modified human is woken up by his wife with no memory of who he is or how he got there. This concept is incredible and the execution is great.
Henry, the cyborg whose perspective we are seeing, is struggling with his lack of memory and trying to figure out who to trust and who his enemy is. Since the creators of Hardcore Henry wanted to fully immerse the viewer into the story, as if they are Henry, the creators made Henry a mute. I really admired their decision to do everything they could to keep the viewer as immersed as possible. Due to the lack of verbal communication from Henry he has to communicate with the nodding of his head and the occasional hand signals.
Akan (Danila Kozljdovsky), header of Akan Inc, is trying to amass a memory-less army of cybernetically enhanced soldiers. He is a telekinetic, but it isn't explained how or why he has powers, since he seems to be the only one in the Hardcore Henry universe that has powers. Kozljdovsky performs admirably with his extremely manipulative take on the mysterious villain.
Sharito Copley plays Jimmy, or rather a bunch of iterations of Jimmy. Jimmy is a disgraced former Akan Inc scientist that was one of the original scientists behind the cybernetically enhanced soldiers. Copley is able to show off his acting chops since he plays about five or six different characters all with different personalities, some of them even a musical number.
I appreciated the clever edits to speed up the action and hide the takes. Since this is all shot from the first person perspective creative team came up with some very unique ways to hide cuts between takes. The sound design and foley work in this movie were also outstanding. One thing that makes or breaks an action movie is the sound design. In Hardcore Henry every punch, every gunshot, and every step that Henry can hear is solid and true to what it should sound like.
One thing that bothered me about this movie was that there was no time to calm down. There is a psychological principle in DJ-ing where every few songs you play a low energy song for people to calm down. This principle also translates to movie fight sequences. The movie was an hour and thirty-six minutes and of those approximately an hour and twenty were high stress high energy sequences. At certain points I found myself being taken out of the action because I needed a break from the constant bombardment of intense action.
Another thing that bothered me about this film is that some of the background characters and extras weren't interacting with the environment and each other like they should. On one street scene in particular many of the extras had very delayed reactions.
The last thing that bothered me was that the subplots weren't very well developed. Going into a purely action movie I didn't expect much out of it, but it did still leave more to be desired from the side stories.
All in all this was a good movie that has more than its share of action and was a very well executed concept. On a one to ten scale I would give Hardcore Henry a six and a half.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
If you're still on the fence after reading this Hardcore Henry review then check out the trailer and my video review below.