Ivica_Pusticki’s review published on Letterboxd:
I wouldn't call myself a gamer. I played a decent amount of video-games in my life, and I (still) love to play them, but I'm hardly a gamer. But nevertheless I am a big fan of FPS games (stuff like DOOM, HALF LIFE, CALL OF DUTY, and some other similar POV games), so I'm familiar with POV style.
I remember watching movie version of DOOM back in 2005., and I was kind of pissed because they didn't make the whole movie in POV style! Instead we just got cool short 4 minute POV sequence and a relatively bad movie. And then two years ago that famous POV music video for "Biting Elbows" was released, and that totally blown me away!! I loved it! That was exactly how I was imagine the movie version of DOOM, and I was hopping that somebody will make POV remake of that movie, or something like that.
Very soon after that, I find out that the same guy who did that music video, Ilya Naishuller, is making a POV feature film! Hey, it wasn't DOOM, but nevertheless I was unbelievably happy about that project! And another year later, here we are...watching HARDCORE HENRY!
Well...let me just first say this. HARDCORE HENRY is fun an entertaining movie (or as some will say, stunt reel), as I hoped it will be! But (yeah, there is but) I have to admit that music video was slightly better (made). Music video was less shaky cam, and it was easier to follow what's going on. Unfortunately HARDCORE HENRY has moments when is hard to see what's going on, chaotic moments with frenetic camera movements and hectic pacing. Therefore, I have to admit that I had problem with following all the action, and I had a small headache after this movie finished.
But still, like I said, HARDCORE HENRY was ridiculously entertaining, and I had so much fun watching this! I had that stupid grin on my face through the whole movie. This was so ridiculously violent and bloody, totally over the top, and ridiculously fun! Especially thanks to unbelievably energetic Sharlto Copley who totally nailed it here. He was on fire, and IMO he stole the show here! Totally loved him! And I also loved soundtrack!
But I knew I will (probably) like this from the moment when intro credit's sequence started. Bunch of violent slow motion shots of people getting stabbed, shoot at and beaten up, followed by some unknown but awesome 80's song...and as much as strange and sadistic this may sound, but that's my kind of fun lol!
HARDCORE HENRY definitely isn't just "another action movie". This is really unique and different movie experience, but its not for everybody. Its totally embracing aesthetic of FPS games, from visuals to storytelling. And speaking of storytelling...I've read some comments how this movie doesn't have a story, which is not true. Story is here, and is very simple and very easy to follow, and even offer's a surprise or two. But the thing is, story is just a playground for all kinds of crazy action sequences and ultra brutal violence. Dont be foolish, this ain't THE GODFATHER or some other story driven movie. This is more like POV version of JOHN WICK or CRANK with lots of fighting, shooting, stabbing and kicking ass.
Anyway, despite all the flaws and problems, and despite the headache I had after watching this, I enjoyed hell out of HARDCORE HENRY, and I'm planing to rewatch it when they release it on BD and DVD. If anything, I believe that this movie will work much better on the small screen then it did on the big screen, same as music video. It won't feel so frenetic. But will see, maybe I'm wrong.
I'm glad that this movie was made because it offered something new, but its not necessary that POV movies become the new thing in the near future.