Hardcore Henry (2016)

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Critic Consensus: Hardcore Henry seems poised to reinvent the action flick, but without a story or characters worth caring about, its first-person gimmick quickly loses its thrill.

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Strap in. Hardcore Henry is one of the most unflinchingly original wild-rides to hit the big screen in a long time: You remember nothing. Mainly because you've just been brought back from the dead by your wife (Haley Bennett). She 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. Who's got her? His name's Akan (Danila Kozlovsky); he's a powerful warlord with an army of mercenaries, and a plan for world domination. You're also in an unfamiliar city of Moscow, and everyone wants you dead. Everyone except for a mysterious British fellow called Jimmy (Sharlto Copley.) He may be on your side, but you aren't sure. If you can survive the insanity, and solve the mystery, you might just discover your purpose and the truth behind your identity. Good luck, Henry. You're likely going to need it...

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Cast

Tim Roth
as Henry's Father
Dasha Charusha
as Katya the Dominatrix
Cyrus Arnold
as Young Bully #2
Svetlana Ustinova
as Olga the Dominatrix
Andrei Dementiev
as Slick Dmitry
Jack Hahn
as Young Bully #1
Prokhor Zikora
as Police Officer #2
Sergei Chikrigin
as Parking Lot Security
Vladimir Lukianchikov
as Windshield Merc
Varvara Borodina
as Stoner's Girlfriend
Aleksey Alekseev
as Elevator Guard #1
Andrey Berezkin
as Police Officer #1
Olga Chubarova
as One Arm Dog-Walker
Liya Sitdikova
as Ella The Whore
Vasiliy Bobylev
as Book Reader
Polina Filonenko
as Rape Victim
Kirill Byrkin
as Rapist Cop #1
Ilya Kondratiev
as Headphones Guy
Mikhail Mikhitarov
as Waterbottle Kid
Evgeny Pilipenko
as Rapist Cop #2
Aleksandr Pal
as Mr. Fahrenheit
Regina Surmina
as Waterkid's Girlfriend
Roman Leshenko
as Thug In The Water #1
Mikhail Izotov
as Thug In The Water #2
Sergei Solomonov
as Park Thug #1
Alexander Kraevski
as Park Thug #2
Alexander Pchela
as Lighter Thief Mercenary
Lado Kvataniya
as Anti-Cat Guard
Alexey Alekseev
as Elevator Guard #1
Alexey Zamaraev
as Elevator Guard #2
Alexey Agafonov
as Elevator Guard #3
Victor Gorbachev
as Staircase Guard
Boris Barabanov
as Keycard Guard
Sergei Shnurov
as Security Guy Interacting With Pliers
Rostislav Kaptur
as Concerned Boy
Tatiana Paladiy
as Concerned Girl #1
Victoria Golubtsova
as Concerned Girl #2
Uliya Stetsenko
as Escalator Face Plant Girl
Olga Chudakova
as One Arm Dog-Walker
Aleksander Gordeev
as Brothel Bouncer #1
Oleg Ermolaev
as Brother Bouncer #2
Polina Zueva
as Brothel Madam
Bruce Chelemer
as Car Fetishist
Sergei Mezentsev
as Brothel Barman
Helga Lovekaty
as Angry prostitute
Bruce Grant
as Tray-In-The-Head John In Brothel
Aliya Lando
as Girl in Brothel
Elena Skvortsova
as Girl in Brothel
Anastasiya Akulina
as Girl in Brothel
Yuliya Amirova
as Girl in Brothel
Marina Vezhnavets
as Girl in Brothel
Mariya Vishnyakova
as Girl in Brothel
Dina Grebeneva
as Girl in Brothel
Diana Dzhemeleva
as Girl in Brothel
Anton Banin
as Dead Brothel Guy
Uliya Ivanova
as Higher-Self Merc
Ivan Kolomicev
as Truck Knife Merc
Aleksander Firsanov
as Knife-In-Eye Merc
Kirill Serebrennikov
as Tank Driver #!
Alexander Yatsenko
as Tank Driver #2
Sergey Valyaev
as Beaten Up Boyfriend
Vitaly Voskeresenski
as Rapist Cop #3
Alexander Podshibiakin
as Battery Cyborg
Evgeniy Bazhenov
as Electric Skeleton Cyborg
Andrey Rusanov
as Flying Cyborg
Boris Bolelov
as Rock-In-The-Head Cyborg
Feodor Elutine
as Uppercut Cyborg
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News & Interviews for Hardcore Henry

Critic Reviews for Hardcore Henry

All Critics (136) | Top Critics (30)

This first-person-shooter extravaganza has little purpose besides showing what happens when a GoPro is strapped to a series of stuntmen as they run through their repertoire of extraordinary action moves.

Apr 18, 2016 | Full Review…

Hardcore Henry is nauseating, twice over.

Apr 10, 2016 | Rating: C | Full Review…
MTV
Top Critic

It is pummeling. It is punishing. It is nauseating and headache-inducing.

Apr 9, 2016 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

If action movies are meant to be stunning, Hardcore Henry can proudly take its place among the giants. Even better, it lets you stand with them.

Apr 8, 2016 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

A great movie fools you into thinking it's really happening. By trying to make us a part of the film itself, Hardcore Henry just keeps reminding us it's not.

Apr 8, 2016 | Rating: D | Full Review…

Hardcore Henry doesn't just get under your skin, it gets behind your eyeballs and uses your head as its own cockpit. For hardcore thrills, Henry is your guy.

Apr 8, 2016 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Hardcore Henry

Here it finally is: First person shooter - the movie. That's infuriatingly shaky to the degree of making you sick, lacking any kind of coherent story or respect for human life (what a surprise). No charm, no (functioning) humor, just some pretty decent stunt work. That is not enough to make me sit through this. I quit halfway through.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

The found footage genre has become a gimmick and certain moviegoers are always looking for a new and inventive way to tell stories. Hardcore Henry explores a first person-style action flick, which has never been done on the big screen until now. I was very hesitant on watching this film, because I was afraid it was just going to come off as a cool concept and eventually taper off by the end of the film. After watching Hardcore Henry, I can confidently say that it did not have me surprised in any way. It really is just a neat concept that is executed with precision, but little to no story to truly care about. Here is why I believe Hardcore Henry is extremely cool, but only for about 20 minutes. From the opening shot, you know what the style of this film is going to be like. Having said that, it never really prepares you for all of the realistic violence throughout the film. The film chooses to slowly escalate and never really intends on stopping that escalation. This is both entertaining and jarring at the same time, but also ends up being the biggest flaw with the film. Although it is trying to go for the coolest sequences possible, it focusses more on topping the previous action scenes, rather than focussing on its story. For the first act of the film, I found myself entertained by the spectacle, but that wore off pretty fast, making this a very weak film in my opinion. Essentially, Hardcore Henry is about a man (Henry) who is resurrected from the dead as a robotic figure, told he has a past life and a wife, comes into contact with a man who is bio-engineering humans for combat and we pretty much are the embodiment of Henry as he travels from set piece to set piece. The story seems somewhat original, but you can't help but draw comparisons to better films that it seems to be borrowing from throughout its duration. Personally, I found myself comparing it to the film Crank. I became too distracted by how unoriginal the plot felt, that my mind eventually became numb to the action. As a whole, I would be lying if I said I enjoyed watching this film, but I would also be lying if I said I wasn't blown away by the filmmaking aspects. This is easily what makes this film watchable. It truly does feel like you are playing a realistic video game and the visuals are impeccably done, as far as the violence and action set pieces are played out. Also, I need to commend Sharlto Copley for delivering a very enjoyable performance in having to deliver multiple versions of himself. To me, that was the most enjoyable aspect about this film. Written and directed by Ilya Naishuller, Hardcore Henry definitely makes me want to see more from what this guy can do, but maybe just as a director. The story here is what bothered me, in that I truly didn't care about who lived or died, especially in the final act. The end of the film is far too abrupt, making it truly seem like it was just made for the camerawork. In the end, Hardcore Henry is incredible to look at for about 20 minutes, until you really see what the story is and that each scene is going to try and top the last, as far as entertainment levels go. This film wore me down pretty fast and I can't quite recommend this film, even though it is worth seeing for the visual style alone. Aside from that, it is a hollow film and the little substance that it does have, is left on the table when the film ends too abruptly. For video game fans or hopeful future filmmakers that want to see something intuitive, that is about the only demographic I can recommend this to. I can't see anyone loving this, but it will definitely earn some fans from those categories. Overall, Hardcore Henry is cool to experience for a while, but it just needed a much better premise.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

See the wonders that can be made with GoPro, like this fast-paced, heart-pounding and even hilarious "video game movie" that puts us in the shoes of its protagonist in the middle of a cat-and-mouse hunt and never ceases to surprise us with spectacular stunts that are worthy of every award imaginable.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Wow so this is kinda unique isn't it! An action movie with a twist, that twist being some actual originality!! Well colour me surprised. So this action flick was basically filmed in a first-person perspective (FPS) which as I'm sure many of you out there will know, is a widely used term in the videogaming world. This essentially means we the viewers are watching all the action from the protagonists perspective, virtually through his eyes, making everything feel much more realistic. I do believe this is the first movie to ever do this for its entire runtime, hence its uniqueness. Unfortunately it also means the movie simply cannot escape being compared to a simple videogame and little more. I really do hate it when I have to compare a sequence in a movie, or some effects, to a videogame because it just comes across as cliche. Well imagine my horror when faced with the scenario of comparing an entire movie to a simple videogame! Aaand this is the problem...its just like watching a bloody videogame!! Aarrgghh!! You just can't not say it! Whilst I completely appreciate the fresh approach and originality on display here, which is indeed a big deal these days, I just can't get around the fact this movie basically feels like a collection of videogame, in-game sequences cobbled together to make a full length movie. Its almost as if they're just gotten a hold of some popular FPS game, taken out all the cut scenes, stuck them together and voila! here's your movie. You could literally do that with any major videogame right now...like [i]Halo[/i]. I've haven't felt so divided for some time, I like what they have done, I like the daring approach, it does feel new...but at the same time it doesn't, heck it could come across like cheating to a degree, like its not a proper movie. Everything about this movie screams a videogame, nothing vastly different from any other silly action fest of course but this movie is in FPS. Lets look at the plot briefly, some dude (Henry) wakes up after an accident in a not too distant future. He has been badly injured and has had his arm and leg replaced with cybernetic limbs which will obviously give him greater strength and skills. All of a sudden the facility is attacked by a powerful albino chap with telekinetic powers and a bunch of tooled up henchmen. Henry is forced to rescue the scientist working on him (his wife) and escape, alas he is not yet on the ball with his special abilities so he does this in a clumsy fashion. Long story short, Henry loses his wife to the bad guy and must utilise the help of a cloned man to help him locate a source to re-energise his cybernetic limbs, then find his wife. To say the plot is weak and formulaic would be an understatement, to say the plot is cliched, unoriginal, predictable and errmm...videogame-esque, would also be another huge understatement. I mean come on, the movie plays literally level by level, one set piece to another with very little in between. Henry makes his way to a location, meets up with one cloned version of the mysterious Jimmy, Jimmy helps Henry a bit, then gets killed off, Henry fights a load of goons, wins, moves on to next location for next fight (a rails shooter type scenario). Every now and then Henry even gets a small boss character to battle such as a goon with a flamethrower, or a tank. Sometimes Henry comes across a stash of weapons to power-up or gain ammo or health even. At one point Henry even acquires a pair of female dominatrix sidekicks that are able to kickass with their own unique weapons and abilities. Not really sure where they popped up from or why they even help Henry but there you go. Along every step of the way Henry meets up with a new clone of Jimmy in a new guise, be it a pothead, a punk, a British soldier from WWII, a sniper etc...Almost every time the clone version of Jimmy is able to help Henry in that particular situation, think of Jimmy like the Cortana of the movie if you will, the game guide. Everything trundles along merrily until Henry reaches the climatic end game battle against the main baddie, and some 'Matrix' rip-off sequence where he must fight a horde of clones...but in a less shitty CGI fashion. Speaking of the main bad guy, he totally looks like a videogame character, very much like the lead character from [i]Devil May Cry[/i] actually. No idea why he's a super powered telekinetic, unless I missed something? no clue, just the way it is in this future I guess. As for his motivation, well lets just say it involves that age old plot device of cyborg super soldiers and taking over the world, nuff said. Anywho the action in this flick is satisfying for sure, this ain't no kiddie flick folks, plenty of blood spurting all over the show with limbs flying, necks snapping and bullet holes aplenty. But funnily enough its not the violence that hooked me as we've seen this many times before, its the FPS angle that grabbed me. The simple reason being, and this is just me here, watching this film made me wanna go play FPS videogames, I actually wanted to switch off and go play a game. In fact, the more violent and intense the film became, the more it made me wanna play a game and do the same thing...but with me in control. Now is that a compliment for the movie? well kinda, I guess, but you could also say its not because it made me wanna switch off. Overall I'm saying the FPS angle did engage me for the most part which is positive, but it doesn't last. The jarring visual feast laid out before you does indeed become very jarring at times, almost unwatchable as our protagonist leaps about (if you get motion sickness this might not be for you). And if you probably haven't guessed already (which you no doubt have), the movie does become more and more videogame-esque as you head towards the finale, the sense you are heading towards the big boss fight. As I was watching the final battle I got the feeling I should of been hammering a pad button furiously, button mashing the fuck outta the end of level villain. So when it all boils down to it, the FPS angle does engage you but it also grows tiresome when you actually wanna see what's happening in frantic sequences. Ingenious as it was to shoot the movie with these little GoPro, head-mounted cams, the obvious issues with rapid head movement in fast paced action sequences makes it hard to watch at various points, although admittedly a bit more thrilling at others. I liked how we didn't really find too much out about Henry, the fact we don't see him apart from a brief glimpse at the end (almost like other famous FPS game characters like Master Chief or Doomguy), although its a shame that all the other characters are completely throwaway. There is an eye rolling plot twist in the end involving the so called super soldiers (they aren't too super in the film) and the villains, I didn't see it but I should have, its all very cliched. So bottom line, it feels like the action genre is being reinvented before your very eyes...but really it isn't. The movie feels like a bit of a gimmick, a bit of a guilty pleasure that does work...for a while.

Phil Hubbs
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

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