Director: Ilya Naishuller
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
You remember nothing. Mainly because you’ve just been brought back from the dead by your wife who tells you that your name is Henry. Five minutes later, you are being shot at, your wife has been kidnapped, and you should probably go get her back. You’re also in an unfamiliar city of Moscow, and everyone wants you dead. If you can survive the insanity and solve the mystery, you might just discover your purpose and the truth behind your identity.
Get ready to step into the driver’s seat of the action like never before with the groundbreaking first-person movie experience that is ‘Hardcore Henry’. After awaking without his memories or any clue as to how he arrived, Henry is greeted by a woman who informs him that she is his wife. Moments later the location where he awoke is under attack and Henry’s wife is taken. Barely escaping and without any idea where to go or how to find his lost wife, Henry randomly crosses paths with a man named Jimmy (Copley) who obviously knows him and after rescuing him from his attackers and taking him under his wing, convinces Henry that they both want the same thing. Now, realizing that he’s been retrofitted with deadly technological upgrades, Henry decides to take the fight to his wife’s captor and as the bullets keep flying, Henry will stop at nothing until his task is done, regardless how many bodies he has to leave in his wake.
Written and directed by Ilya Naishuller (apparently with some additional writing contributed by Will Stewart), Naishuller does a truly impressive job at the helm of ‘Hardcore Henry’ guiding his own script and delivering a brilliant and memorable directorial debut; capturing the first-person perspective of the action with a ferocious vigor that results in quite the wild ride. The film also owes its share of credit to some of the cast, primarily the talented Sharlto Copley (District 9, Elysium) who steals the show with his outrageously spot on portrayal of Henry’s ally Jimmy.
‘Hardcore Henry’ is a wildly entertaining, action packed adrenaline rush soaked in blood that most fans of the action genre should have a surprising amount of fun with. Breaking new ground in the world of action filmmaking, ‘Hardcore Henry’ not only manages to construct and deliver a capable first-person perspective action film (something I would have previously believed unlikely), but simply a remarkable and mesmerizing action film overall. Fueled by a crazed energy that rarely lets up and as our bloody journey to the enemy via Henry’s eyes progresses, the viewer becomes one with our (anti)hero which only increases the enjoyment level; likely to leave you with a grin plastered on your face for a large chunk of the movie. Any fan of well done and wildly exciting action films won’t dare miss out on the amazing experience that is ‘Hardcore Henry. It’s not often that a unique action film such as this comes along and I would highly recommend getting your hands on a copy as soon as you can find the opportunity to do so, chances are you won’t regret it.
Overall, ‘Hardcore Henry’ is a wonderfully rambunctious and carnage fueled action film amped up to overload, and the end result is an insanely entertaining and grin inducing ride that no action fan will want to miss out on. Guided beautifully by first time filmmaker Ilya Naishuller, I can’t recommend ‘Hardcore Henry’ highly enough, especially to the fellow action fans out there; this is one unique treat for the genre that truly delivers.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Hardcore Henry’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks outstanding, especially considering the first person perspective of the film results in constant movement from beginning to end, yet this video presentation holds up impressively and never results in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a phenomenal high definition video presentation that should largely please even the pickiest of individuals.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a consistently crisp, clean and insanely aggressive audio presentation. Constantly utilizing all five available channels in order to send what seems like nearly every audio effect imaginable throughout the various speakers, including a constant barrage of bullets, explosive debris and more, while never allowing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted, let alone rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a phenomenal 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that contributes immensely to the overall enjoyment of the film.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Hardcore Henry’ includes a few solid extras. Included on the release are two ‘Audio Commentary’ tracks; the first with writer/director Ilya Naishuller, and the second with writer/director Ilya Naishuller and star/executive producer Sharlto Copley. We are also treated to a few ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film (running approximately 8 minutes in length altogether), and a ‘Hardcore Henry Fan Chat’ with Naishuller and Copley (running approximately 12 minutes).