Review: Hardcore Henry (Ilya Naishuller, 2015)

Comparing films to video games doesn’t necessarily carry the stigma it once did, mainly due to the steady infiltration of game textures and language into genre cinema – Tom Cruise vehicle Edge of Tomorrow, for one, fully embraced the game logic of resets and trial-and-error puzzles.

In the case of Hardcore Henry, an action movie told entirely through first-person visuals, the intent seems to be to mimic the video game aesthetic more than any film before, specifically the first-person shooter genre. In form and content, it’s all there: a mute protagonist that’s effectively the viewer, racing to various checkpoints, constant instructions from supporting characters, shaky-cam spasms as Henry gets hit, and numerous weapons to collect along a killing rampage to save a damsel in distress.

Except, the whole putting the audience in Henry’s shoes thing doesn’t work, because the major downside of Ilya Naishuller’s debut feature is that while it looks like a video game, it also apes the worst qualities of the gaming experience…

Full review for Little White Lies

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