Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” is prominently featured in not only the trailer to Hardcore Henry but also is in one of the many action sequences in the movie. The opening lines of the song, “Tonight I’m gonna have myself a real good time. I feel alive and the world I’ll turn it inside out. And floating around in ecstasy. So don’t stop me now don’t stop me.’Cause I’m having a good time having a good time.” With those classic words from Freddie Mercury, I couldn’t think of a more fitting way to describe Hardcore Henry.
A big part of the appeal to Hardcore Henry is that the movie is shot like a First-Person-Shooter. We get that first person perspective from Henry and that’s not where the similarities end. Our protagonist has lost it, arms and legs both decapitated, eyes hangout out of his skull, and doesn’t have working vocal chords. He plays the role of the silent protagonist as most FPS games have and it actually works pretty well. Along with that, Henry is a cyborg, it makes sense because otherwise he would die pretty easily through all the stunts and torment that his body takes. Through minimal body language, we get some excellent ques from Henry making him a likable and very neutral protagonist. But we can’t have a movie revolve around a guy that can’t talk just killing things, that’s where Jimmy and Akan come in.
Sharlto Copley (District 9, Elysium) plays Jimmy, a man (men) who help Henry through his journey of being hunted by the very animated Akan. Akan is the villain of the film that hunts Henry and has some kinetic abilities akin to using the force. He can push back Henry, throw him against the wall, making for a powerful foe with some of the strangest dialogue I’ve ever heard. We don’t really know his motives other than wanting to weaponize Henry, the guy is insane, an extreme case of an animated villain that is actually pretty enjoyable to watch. He appears in the movie at the most opportune times, like the villains from many FPS games and just humorously taunts Henry. While Akan works as a villain, Jimmy is one of my favorite on-screen character I’ve seen in recent memory.
Sharlto Copley displays his range through numerous disguises and delivers some of the best one-liners I’ve ever heard. I want to see this movie again just to remember more of some of his fantastic dialogue. Whenever he is on-screen I’m having a blast watching him interact with Henry and any other characters he comes in contact with. I can’t properly define his role without spoiling some of the movie, which I’m not going to do, I will say that if you want a good laugh, you should watch Hardcore Henry just for his character.
As for being an action movie, Henry is pretty damn hardcore. We see some brutal kills, tons of blood-splatter, and a movie that isn’t afraid to get really dirty. I somewhat vie for these types of R-rated movies, and while I didn’t have an issue with the shaky camera, I know that many people will. As for the action itself, it’s filmed pretty well, there are times when I was really in suspense, I was laughing at ultraviolent deaths, and some creative kills. It was more violent than Deadpool but didn’t have the same great structure that Deadpool had.
Obviously this movie doesn’t take itself seriously. Part of the reason why it’s so funny is because much of the dialogue is just dumb and tries to be funny, which it succeeds at. However there’s only about two or three brief moments of real plot development in this 90 minute movie, and as long as you know what you’re going for a grind-house, foul-mouthed, testosterone-filled romp like the many FPS games that inspired it. If you go in knowing what the movie is then you’re gonna have a great time, I haven’t had this much fun with a movie since Mad Max: Fury Road. Purely for enjoyment, you’ll have a blast with this movie, if you try to analyze the components and logic, the fallacies will pour out faster than the over-saturation of FPS games in the gaming market. Case in point is that Hardcore Henry is a damn fun time, I enjoyed this movie more than most of the actual FPS games that I play, which is a sizable amount.
+ Visceral Action
+ Sharlto Copley’s Jimmy
+ Loads of Fun
+ Hilarious One-Liners
– Bare Bones Plot
– Questionably Obscure/Stupid Dialogue