Movies have always been a breeding ground for truly creative innovation, and it looks like the next step is about to explode into theaters with the chaotic, first-person action adventure ‘Hardcore Henry’, taking the term ‘immersive’ and smacking it square in the face with eye-popping, visuals and storytelling like none of us have ever seen before.
In an age where first-person video games have become the mainstay in most of the biggest selling titles on the planet, where directors and movie auteurs have grown up behind the eyes of a game’s protagonist, it only makes sense that the film industry would find a way to do the same. Some experiments in the past have had some degree of success (or failure, depending on your tastes) with 2005’s Doom the most notable, employing a brief first-person actions sequence where the audience saw precisely what the hero saw. Now it’s time to go full-length, and with a big budget. The difference here though is that from the start to the end, we are the hero. The entire movie is played out from the view of Henry, so we experience what Henry does.
So who is Henry? That is something we learn as we go, as screenwriter and director Ilya Naishuller adopts one of the most common tropes in video games, giving the antagonist no memory. Henry (us) wakes up from near death, having been turning into a cybernetic super-soldier by our wife, who, moments after we open our eyes, is kidnapped in a hail of gunfire. Time for a rescue. Turns out the guy who has her is Akan (Danila Kozlovsky) a powerful villain with plans for world domination, because of course. In Moscow, where everyone seems to want to kill Henry, his only friend is a mysterious man named Jimmy (Sharlto Copley), who keeps popping up with all kinds of blow-uppy things. The question is, can you trust him?
Showcasing some very impressive stunt work that is doubley so due to the point of view, the film might suffer from Bourne-itis, where the camera shakes are sure to have some dreadful effects on those not prepared. Still, it’s hard to pull your eyes away while watching this second clip, as the ‘what are they going to do next’ factor is ramped up pretty high, this is most especially so during the car convoy sequence at the end of the extended trailer. Let’s hope the film in its entirity can sustain sustain that momentum and deliver on what these clips have promised.