Sunday, 4 September 2016

Review: Hardcore Henry

2016, Tim Roth, Sharlto Copley, Haley Bennett

A man called Henry awakes with no memory only to find he is half machine, his girlfriend/scientist is kidnapped and he use his special set of abilities to track down those responsible. While that may seen like a fairly tried and tested plot, the less is more approach isn't always the best.

Hardcore Henry is a simple film and it openly revels in this fact. The entire thing is filmed in a first person perspective as if we are looking through Henry's eyes. This makes way for plenty of up close and personal shootings, stabbings, beatings and any other for of violence you can inflict on another human being. This may sound like a an action lover's dream but the frequently in which these occur make each kill feel meaningless. The character of Henry is so well matched against hordes and hordes of useless opponents you can never really feel he is ever in any danger. Did a tank full of bad guys just appear out of nowhere? (this actually happens in the film) no problem, I'm sure he'll escape somehow. *yawns*

There is a small cast of characters, we spend most of the time in henry's shoes and his unlikely side kick Jimmy. Without hinting at spoilers Jimmy appears throughout the film in many different 'forms. One scene he is a lunatic punk rock, next minute he is a rough riding motorcyclist but his shining moment comes in the end sequence of the film where he takes on a Dad's Army officer type of role. Sharlto Copley is the star of the show and absolutely nails every one of these little performances. The Villain of the story Akan, leaves little to be desired. He is about as one dimensional as villains get, he has telekinetic powers (with no explanation as to why at all) and has a plot to build a robot army. I Felt this character was totally out of place and would have better suited an early 90's episode of Power Rangers.

Soundtrack is one area where everything comes together, a nice mix of electro with some rock and roll classics thrown in for good measure accompany nearly all the violence. I may have been desensitised to the killing and even a little bored by the first 30 minutes, but watching Henry dispatch goons whilst high on adrenaline to the sound of Queens's Don't Stop Me Now, is enough to put a smile on any sicko's face.

The Verdict

Hardcore Henry is an ambitious film and leaves you little time to get your breathe. It is accompanied by a good soundtrack and a hilarious sidekick. It's relentless pace and ridiculous body count will please action fans at first, but ultimately feels tired and stale by the time the credits roll.


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