An invite to a 4.6 Century City screening of Hardcore Henry has arrived. I’ll attend, of course, but God help me. Anyone who’s watched either of the two trailers can tell you where it’s coming from, but I love Jacob Hall’s SXSW Slashfilm review, dated 3.14:
Excerpt: “Hardcore Henry is less of a movie and more of a 95-minute assault on good taste, a bloody theme park ride in filmic clothing, and/or the gruesome collision of the video gaming and cinematic languages. It’s a singular experience that’s truly unlike any other movie, and for some viewers, it will still be, understandably, one film of its kind too many. But Hardcore Henry isn’t lazy and it isn’t half-assed and it is in no way derivative — for better and worse, it is an ambitious undertaking that accomplishes exactly what it set out to accomplish and there’s something admirable about it.
“It’s impressively made, but entirely juvenile. Admittedly exciting, but casually cruel. Formally astonishing, but kind of skin-crawling on more than a few issues. Yeah, Hardcore Henry is going to elicit strong reactions and if you’ll allow me to break out the dreaded first person, I have no idea what to make of it.” Dreaded first-person?
“And perhaps going first-person with this review is appropriate. After all, the chief selling point of Hardcore Henry is that it’s an action movie told entirely through the first-person perspective. In fact, the making of the film sounds as thrilling any of the finished action scenes, as director Ilya Naishuller and his crew strapped cameras to a bunch of stuntmen who obviously didn’t fear the reaper and tossed them into chaotic car chases, death-defying leaps off of buildings, close-quarters combat with flamethrower-wielding henchmen, and even a musical number.
“You can say a lot of things about Hardcore Henry, but it’s certainly not lazy. In fact, it’s technically astonishing. If you buy the aesthetic — if watching a movie that literally looks like a first-person shooter video game come to life sounds the least bit interesting — this film will be worth seeking out.
“As someone who has been gunning down digital bad guys since GoldenEye on the N64, I understand Naishuller’s childlike glee in getting to stage a movie like this. First-person movies are not entirely new (Gaspar Noe’s Enter the Void also utilizes the perspective to jaw-dropping effect), but none of them have utilized video-game language quite like this before.”