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Hardcore Henry

Year: 2016
Studio: Bazelevs Production
Director: Ilya Naishuller
Producer: Timur Bekmambetov
Writer: Ilya Naishuller/Will Stewart
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett, Tim Roth

The only surprising thing about Hardcore Henry is why it didn't happen sooner. Movies have been picking over the financial crumbs from the (much bigger) gaming industry for years now – if not making mostly terrible film adaptations of every popular game, then trying to emulate the gaming experience in a desperate attempt to get gamers into cinemas. The most obvious example of it was the first person shooter sequence in 2005's Doom, but that film was such a flop and so poorly received Hollywood's probably considered it a bad idea ever since.

In case you haven't heard or seen the trailer, Hardcore Henry is a violent, kinetic action film told entirely from the point of view of the lead character. Played in reality by 10 different stuntpeople (including director Ilya Naishuller) wearing GoPro cameras, it's the story of a guy who wakes up with no memory in a secret lab in the near future where a beautiful girl called Estelle (Haley Bennett) claims to be his wife as she fits him with prosthetic parts after some horrible injury.

Before she can tell Henry how he got there or give him his powers of speech back through the high tech digital means she's readying, the despotic white haired villain Akan (Danila Koslovsky) bursts in with his commando goons squad. Using his flashing pale eyes and apparent telekinesis, Akan means to take Estelle prisoner and kill Henry, apparently having failed to do so before.

Despite a valiant and thrilling escape attempt, Akan's thugs take Henry's wife and he only just escapes the hail of gunfire with his life. Staggering through urban Moscow, he's approached by a guy called Jimmy (Sharlto Copley) who claims they're on the same side and that he can help Henry.

The race is on as Henry and Jimmy (of which there are multiple versions) run, drive, fly, fight, climb, shoot and bleed their way from one scrape to another to find out who Akan is, get Estelle back and find out what's going on.

As you'd imagine from a guy wearing a camera on a helmet and running, sliding and punching his way into the action, there's rarely a moment of stillness. When the camera isn't trying to focus on something important to the plot it's all over the place like a socked jaw, and the effect on a 40-foot high movie screen will affect some members of the audience badly. If 3D gives you a headache, Hardcore Henry is enough to bring on epilepsy.

The story – though basic – makes enough sense (although Akan's telekinetic powers are never explained) to send you on a ball of fire from one action set piece to the next. In what's probably another attempt to impress gamers, the blood and violence is at hard R levels, just like we've seen from popular FPS games of the last decade or more, the bloodletting and bone crunching at times worse than any horror movie.

It should get a lot of traction and interest because of the premise, but critics (and your mum) will hate it because it will make them feel too sick.

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