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Hardcore Henry

April 14, 2016

DILLON NELSON

Staff Reporter| djn005@latech.edu

STX Entertainment

STX Entertainment

 

 

“Hardcore Henry,” the action movie, first-person shooter hybrid, is a great video game film, in the way it captures the look and feel it was going for.

 

 

However, as a standard film there is a lot be desired, despite some undeniably brilliant moments.

 

 

Video games are difficult to categorize as art and so is “Hardcore Henry.”

 

 

There isn’t much time in the movie for any real character development or time to think for that matter.

 

 

The film is about a ruined super soldier operation, and Henry has apparently been awakened to become part of that program.

 

 

The film attempts to establish an emotional center in the kidnapping of the his wife Estelle, played by Haley Bennett, who he barely remembers.

 

 

However, the journey to retrieve her is just one convoluted, breathless sprint wherein nothing ends up mattering.

 

 

A stereotypically nasty Russian psychopath, Akan, played by Danila Kozlovsky, is the final boss literally.

 

 

The former head of the whole super soldier operation, his telekinetic powers render him untouchable even as he touches whoever he wants.

 

 

He seems like a character designed to disgust and not much else, but I did appreciate his House of the Dead-boss fighting style.

 

 

Like a typical video game aimed at the teen demographic, “Hardcore Henry” is sometimes too immature for its own good.

 

 

The onslaught of sexual references wear thin rather than adding color, and the relentless gore only gives way to a handful of truly clever kills.

 

 

Much of the pleasure in watching “Hardcore Henry” comes from some more clever nods to other action movies and is similar to concepts found in popular video games.

 

 

Despite a slightly tone deaf musical number, these nods are memorable and seamless.

 

 

Such things like Henry’s attempt to mount a horse is a particularly fun sequence and a “Terminator” reference comes just at the right moment, adding to the film.

 

 

The best aspect of the film has to be Jimmy, played by Shartlo Copley, and his clones.

 

 

Akan’s spurned scientist in the super soldier program, he and his varying personas essentially amount to the main characters and the driving force of the narrative.

 

 

Because Henry is silent, like many other first-person shooter characters, Jimmy essentially talks him through his own mission and, in the process, gives details on himself.

 

 

The Jimmys end up having the clearest of arcs throughout, as we can feel for mostly just them by the time only confusing finale begins.

 

 

As a matter of fact, Jimmy is the source of the film’s only thematic thread, however muddled.

 

 

The idea of achieving a higher self is paid reasonable lip service by Jimmy, but with the character existing as the only fully realized character(s) in the film, there are no other perspectives to help this thread resonate.

 

 

However little I felt for the characters in the movie, the ending was undeniably satisfying, and the movie was thrilling for much of the runtime.

 

 

That is all this type of movie really needs to be.

 

 

However, I could see a more mature sequel easily surpassing this mixed bag of an experiment with a slower pace and a main character who can speak.

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