SXSW Film review: ‘Hardcore Henry’

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Hardcore Henry is an unflinchingly original, first-person action film where YOU are the main character, Henry. Credit: STX Entertainment
Hardcore Henry is an unflinchingly original, first-person action film where YOU are the main character, Henry.  Credit: STX Entertainment

Hardcore Henry is an unflinchingly original, first-person action film where YOU are the main character, Henry. Credit: STX Entertainment

“Hardcore Henry” is a front-row type of film. It should be seen and experienced in a theater.

However, no matter where you sit or how you see it, you will still be Henry, or at least under the illusion that you’re him.

“Hardcore Henry” is the first-of-its-kind, a film completely shot with a Go-Pro (dozens of Go-Pros actually) making it 100 percent POV. So, if you would like to be dropped from a freeway overpass, want to know what it feels like to shoot at someone from the back of an incredibly fast-moving motorcycle or fall from a helicopter all while eating popcorn and sipping a beer, this is the film for you.

First-time full-length feature director/writer Ilya Naishuller makes the man-child id of senseless violence a pseudo reality, a kind of first person gaming-esque hyper-violent fantasy. But never fear, the film is not all smash-em-up testosterone, adrenaline and bloodshed. Its viscera is comic-like camp.

Naishuller has a sense of humor through the fisticuffs and doesn’t take himself too seriously. Henry is a superhero, whose voice activation has yet to be turned on. We become superheroes for around 90 minutes, and that is appealing.

Henry was once a man, who is now a souped-up hyper athletic killing machine who can execute the most dexterous of Parkour moves and kick everyone’s butt creatively. You, or Henry, awaken, with absolutely no authentic memory, to your wife screwing your robotic leg back on in some type of laboratory when security is breached and the evil radioactive villain with gravitational radiation powers, Akan, comes to capture you and your wife.

The chase is on, and it truly does not stop until the credits roll. Good luck. Unfortunately, you will be unable to catch “Hardcore Henry” at any more showings, but the film is set for wide release April 7th.

 


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