Every so often, a film comes along with such a brilliant and simple premise that you wonder why it wasn’t done sooner. In this case, it’s clear why no-one has made a first-person action film before – because without high-def GoPro cameras, it just wasn’t possible.
Hardcore Henry centres on Henry, our eyes and ears, a man brought back to life with cybernetic implants after a mysterious accident. Moments after being woken up, his scientist wife is kidnapped by telekinetic villain Akan.
Henry’s mission to rescue his wife brings him in contact with Sharlto Copley’s mysterious English geezer Jimmy (or, rather, Jimmys – there are quite a few of them), and together they run headlong into utter, spectacular carnage.
The plot is thin on the ground, because the plot isn’t the point of Hardcore Henry. It’s all about mental balls-to-the-wall action, and it’s easily the most innovative – and fun – action film we’ve seen in a long while.
The film boasts a dizzying free-running sequence like nothing you’ve seen on screen and, like the videogames it emulates, features mini-missions across various terrains and vehicles – there’s a motorbike chase, a helicopter, forest fights, even a horse.
But where it really hits its mark is in the comedy moments. There are some great unexpected slapstick moments (that horse again), but the real comedy genius of the film is Sharlto Copley. This is the role(s) he was born to play – one moment he’s a coked-up nutjob in Y-fronts, the next he’s a mohawked punk. Who cares that his English accent is wobbly – that just seems to make his performance even better. By the time he’s breaking out the musical numbers you won’t have a clue what’s going on – but you’ll be loving it.
Of course, if you suffer from bad motion sickness you won’t love this film at all. It’s difficult to watch on a big screen, and at times moves just too quickly for your brain to process what’s happening. It’s often like watching a GoPro video of a bicycle crash, on a big screen, with a bitchin’ soundtrack.
But you won’t see another film like it all year.