Sunday, July 24, 2016

In short: Hardcore Henry (2015)

There’s really no need for even the tiniest plot synopsis here, for there is so little plot here, and what there is such a bunch of vacuous crap, it might as well not exist at all.

Who’d have thought that having as a film’s only feature the gimmick of it being shot exclusively in a First Person Shooter style POV vision created by strapping a cheap digital camera to a stunt man’s head is not enough to make a movie that’s actually interesting for more than the fifteen minutes or so it takes to gawk at said gimmick? Even king of the gimmick William Castle added an actual movie to his gimmicks! Unfortunately, director/”writer” Ilya Naishuller is no William Castle (shit, he isn’t even Neveldine-Taylor), so all we get here is a series of action set pieces that might have been interesting to look at if they weren’t exclusively shot through a jittery camera that has little to do with the far more stable view of one of the actual FPSs the movie pretends to be inspired by, and even less with the way the actual human eye presents the world. Unless, that is, everyone but me sees the world through a shaking fish eye that is screwed onto their heads.

Not surprisingly, the novelty of seeing action scenes in this way decreases quickly, leading first to annoyance at the awkward and un-cinematic manner the film presents what might be rather great stunt work, then to boredom caused by the visual sameness of it all, and then, worst of all, moments when you can’t help but start thinking about the film’s plot. Or rather, how stupid and irrelevant the plot is, and how its presentation is even worse than in the video games it is badly attempting to copy. This thing makes the yearly Call of Duty look like a narrative masterpiece, and Far Cry: Blood Dragon like clever satire – let’s not even speak about those shooters that actually have a few brain cells to rub together, or actual movies. Even Steven Seagal movies have better writing.

To add insult to injury, this is also one of those films that pretend the lazy, disinterested nonsense they call their writing is ironically bad, and therefore good, quite ignoring the fact that not giving a shit isn’t made any better by winking at the audience about one’s failure. Just watch Sharlto Copley in the most annoying “funny” multi-character role this side of Peter Sellers and still try to tell yourself that anything has ever been improved by being bad on purpose.

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