Length: 96 minutes / 1.60 hours
When the trailer for this movie came out, I had high hopes for this “conceptual” idea. With the increased popularity and proliferation of Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, I could see a film like this doing well in an immersive environment like VR. After all, the whole film is from the first-person Point of View (POV), so anyone wearing the VR headset would feel almost as if they were experiencing the movie from the main character’s perspective. Granted, this film was not created for VR headsets, and after seeing it, I’m kind of glad that it wasn’t. Hopefully, future filmmakers can take the lessons from this film and create better movies that could use the format to its best advantage.
Up until now, the only time you’d see something in a first-person POV is in a video game. In fact, most “first-person shooters” (FPS) are “filmed” in this fashion to immerse the player in the game from their avatar’s perspective. Of course, in a video game, the player has control over the character, which makes the sudden movements a little less nauseating. In Hardcore Henry (2015), though, there is no control. The camera shakes so much; I worry that the titular character is a bobblehead. While it follows the conventions of FPS games, the movie is almost too unsteady to watch.
Of course, the Cloverfield (2008)-esque camerawork wasn’t the only nauseating aspect of the film. The violence was quite graphic and explicit, almost to the point of ridiculousness. I’ve never seen people be killed in so many different ways or in quite as large numbers as Hardcore Henry managed to accomplish. Still, its intentional video-game styling made this film difficult to take seriously. The antagonists had almost unbelievable motivations or at least motivations that were slightly less believable than the eponymous main character’s.
A neat idea that assaults the visual senses of its audience, I give Hardcore Henry 2.0 stars out of 5.