Like my father always said, a grenade a day keeps the enemy at bay
The point-of-view shot is well established. Plenty of genre films make use of it, but seldom is it completely relied on. Unless, of course, you are watching Channel 4’s Peep Show. Feature films, on the other hand, only use it sparingly to add dramatic tension or to place the audience in the centre of the action (think of a certain scene in 2005’s Doom). Doom, the video game, pioneered the first-person shooter that is such a success in the gaming industry and Hardcore Henry has a great deal in common with FPS games. It is told through the eyes, and actions, of a mute cyborg trying to discover his past all the while frantically battling a corrupt corporation and endless shoot-outs, punch-ups and daring escapes.
And that, pretty much sums up the plot, unknown protagonist battles his way through to a climactic showdown with a telekinetic megalomaniac; just like a video game. Nuggets of information are fed throughout the battles to get to the next set piece; just like a video game. And the final revelation is a twist on the central character; just like a video game. This film then, looks, acts, feels and plays like a video game in which you have no control over the player. It is frantic, face paced, shaky-cam throughout, bloody, manic, wild, over-the-top insanity. (Ever wanted to know what it would be like to see the Burley Brawl from Matrix Reloaded from Neo’s point of view – want no more, the conclusion of this film is it). By placing the audience as the protagonist you are right in the action if you can stand the shaky-cam frantic all over the place camerawork. No quite the unique film the makers claim it to be, but certainly something very, very different.
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