There have been a few ‘shorts’ in the first person though no-one has tried to make something full length and with a story before. Well, all that has changed as Hardcore Henry comes smashing its way onto our screens in a sea of crimson.
Writer and director Ilya Naishuller expands on his previous short ‘Biting Elbows: Bad Motherfucker’ and turns it into a full length film. Actually in truth he takes the style of the short and makes a full length film but you get what I mean.
Hardcore Henry is filmed from a first person perspective, just like a computer game. The comparisons don’t end there either, the violence is quite computer game-ish, the bad guy, Akan, played by Danila Kozlovsky (Vampire Academy), is quite an ‘end of level bad guy’ type character with superhuman powers.
The story starts with you waking up in a hospital bed minus an arm below the elbow and a leg below the knee. A woman, who it later transpires is your wife, played by Haley Bennett (Marley & Me, The Equalizer), is putting you back together. You have a robotic arm and leg and a whole bunch of other ‘upgrades’ though, sadly, you’ve lost the power of speech.
You then witness your wife get kidnapped and so you set out to get her back and along the way meet Jimmy, played by the wonderful Sharlto Copley (District 9, Chappie). Jimmy is a tad eccentric but seems to know a lot about you and isn’t trying to kill you and so you go along with him.
All this is completely by-the-by, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that this is the first, first person perspective shot film. It’s graphically violent, bordering on silly, it’s full of fast paced music, quick camera cuts and some nauseating angles. It’s a bit like an extended music video at times, which is where Naishuller first cut his teeth.
Is it a good film? Not particularly. It’s not bad, I’ve certainly seen worse, it will resonate with young-gamers no doubt. It’s saved from being really rather atrocious by Copley who is allowed to, seemingly, do whatever the hell he wants as his character morphs into different people, Copley playing each one brilliantly. An eccentric, wheelchair-bound character? Check. An English war soldier? Check. A rampaging punk? Check. And on and on it goes, it’s fantastic to watch, funny, but played as straight as a die.
So there you have it. A first person action film. Something gamers have been wanting for ages. Now that they’ve had it. I’m not sure I want any more.