Hardcore Henry

Henry is part of a radical military experiment that merges cybernetic machinery with biological tissue to create the ultimate super soldier. When Henry wakes up in a high-tech laboratory missing two of his limbs, he is unable to speak. He also has no memory of who he was beforehand. A fetching lab technician attaches his new cybernetic limbs, and very shortly thereafter, the door to the lab explodes open and all hell breaks loose… and pretty much stays on the loose for the next 90 minutes.

317henry.box.jpgWhat makes Hardcore Henry so breathtakingly unique is that this film was shot completely in the first-person perspective; meaning the protagonist’s POV is all the audience ever sees. Paul Verhoeven explored this technique in his 1987 sci-fi classic, RoboCop, and Kathryn Bigelow deftly utilized it in the opening sequence of her dystopian masterpiece, Strange Days. But this is the first time that a feature-length movie has been presented entirely in the first-person perspective from start to finish, and it’s a groundbreaking revelation.

Hardcore Henry was shot almost entirely on a GoPro digital camera system: very revolutionary and very cleverly done, but not the greatest HD resolution. Rapid camera moves succumb to bad digital blurring, and darkened interior sequences suffer from low-grade pixilated grain. But thematically, this isn’t a problem since Henry’s cybernetic POV is constantly glitching and fracturing as he fights and kills to stay alive.

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is a little “low budget” by present standards, but again, it gels completely with the film’s theme. Gunshots, explosions, and other all-out chaos may lack the prestige and verve of other big-budget extravaganzas but service this particular vehicle quite well. The pulse-pounding techno-rock soundtrack is an ever-present force but nearly serves as a detriment to the story since it continually reminds us that we’re in a fabricated reality. But maybe that’s a good thing.

Bonus features include deleted scenes, a fan chat Q&A, and two separate audio commentaries. Digital Copy included.

If you have a weak stomach, this movie is definitely not for you. I cannot stress that enough. The violence is amped up to an overwhelming degree and is about as graphic as it gets. A VR version of this film would put viewers in the hospital with years of therapy to follow. It’s like a nightmare that you can’t wake up from, so be warned. But, if you’re into progressively innovative and truly cutting-edge filmmaking, Hardcore Henry is some seriously twisted, brilliant shit.

Studio: Universal, 2015
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio Format: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Length: 97 mins.
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Ilya Naishuller
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Haley Bennett, Danila Kozlovsky