This next part might hurt.
When buying the tickets for Hardcore Henry written and directed by Ilya Naishuller, there was a sign proclaiming that the experience of the film could be a problem for people with motion sickness. As it happens I am somewhat prone to motion sickness and I can tell you firsthand they weren’t kidding. I managed to stick it out for the entire 96 minute run time, only occasionally needing to cover my head, but I felt ill afterward and needed to lie down. It doesn’t help that Hardcore Henry is also exceedingly violent as in Tarentino levels of gore. So anyone for whom motion sickness is an issue or is upset by extreme carnage, please do yourselves a favor and stay away.
That being said, many people aren’t prone to motion sickness and are quite cheerful about watching blood and brains spatter on screen and these people will probably love Hardcore Henry. The premise of the film is that we are seeing the whole movie through the eyes of the titular hero. Like him, we wake up in a strange lab with no memory of how we got there only to meet Estelle (Haley Bennett of The Equalizer and The Haunting of Molly Hartley), Henry’s beautiful wife who has brought him back from the dead as a cybernetic killing machine. The lab is soon raided by evil albino, telekinetic, warlord Akan (Danila Kozlowsky from Vampire Academy). Estelle is captured and Henry is left on the run with his only help being the mysterious Jimmy(s) (Sharlto Copley of District 9 and Elysium). We are just as confused by all this as Henry is and we experience the same mad cap fighting sequences with him, bringing new life to the traditional action tropes of fist fights, rappelling down a building, and chase scenes. It’s a bit like a first person shooter video game only far more intense and one where you’re actually getting the hurt thrown on you quite a bit.
Naishuller brings a certain whimsy and humor as well; a sequence in a Russian brothel staffed entirely by platinum blonde Barbie look alikes has “My Girl” playing in the background, and Jimmy(s) get their own musical number that is quite simply magical. It may not be for everyone, but in Hardcore Henry, Naishuller has delivered us something utterly new and original to the movie going experience.
Photo courtesy of STX Entertainment