It’s time we officially added Hardcore Henry (2015) to the list of Ultimate Action classics!
If you’re an action movie fan, you may have played a first-person shooter video game once or twice in your life. After all, what better way is there to experience the feeling of moving down enemies to the hundreds just like John Rambo or James Braddock did? The first-person perspective has not been utilized much in action movies, one example was a fun sequence from the otherwise lackluster Doom.
An Action Movie Video Game
Enter movie-maker and musician Ilya Naishuller. He created a short action movie using the first-person perspective that was actually a music video for his band. His creation deservedly made an impression, and Naishuller was offered the opportunity to make a full-length feature. After three years of hard work Hardcore Henry was released.
Just like with many video games, the movie’s plot can be summarized in two lines: Henry awakes in a secret lab, and realizes he is a cyborg. A mysterious super-villain tries to capture him, and a relentless hunt ensues. The film’s starting point is a similar to movies like Universal Soldier or Robocop, but almost every question that the viewer may have about the background story remains unanswered. This is far from being a problem, though. The movie’s premise is only a justification to ransack the archives of action movie history, and to put as much violent excesses on the screen as possible.
High-Octane Action and Ferocious Combat
If we would make a comparison to a video game again, Hardcore Henry looks like you’re watching a play-through of the most blood-soaked and difficult game ever created. Henry has superhuman strength and speed which gets him through many impossible situations. He is also a punching bag for his enemies that would likely earn him a nod from Evil Dead‘s Ash.
The density of high-octane action scenes is incredible, it’s showdown after showdown. Grenades and bullets are flying left and right, and hand-to-hand combat is ferocious. Every new confrontation is more violent and explosive, and the finale is an appropriate climax that cranks up the mayhem just when you thought it couldn’t get any more insane.
The camera is always on the move, as Henry is running, climbing and jumping with breakneck speed. The choreography of each action scene is superb, and the camera attached to Henry’s forehead creates some spectacular perspectives. The performance of the stunt team cannot be praised highly enough for pulling off some really crazy and dangerous scenes.
But, How Ultimate is it?
The movie is also incredibly violent and occasionally even gory. To its credit, it never gets truly disgusting, as the camera moves quickly from scene to scene. Despite all the mayhem, Hardcore Henry has a distinctly upbeat vibe which in large part is due to Sharlto Copley’s character. It’s always a delight to see him in any movie, but here he takes the cake with an incredibly funny performance.
Hardcore Henry has a bodycount that makes Stallone’s 2008 Rambo look like a PG-13 movie, and an energy that even leaves Jason Statham’s Crank in the dust. Ilya Naishuller created a movie that is a ton of fun to watch, and may leave you exhausted afterwards. It is one of the most spectacular films I’ve seen in my life, and is hereby added to the official list of ultimate action movie classics.