Starring Sharlto Copley, Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett and Tim Roth. Written and directed by Ilya Naishuller. Budget $2 million. Running time 92 MINUTES.
I have seen the future and it's not POV action films.
From the moment the unbelievably violent, slow-motion opening-credits start you've given a clue as to what is to what you can expect, scene after scenes of graphic violence, from baseball bats to heads, broken bottles stabbed into torso, bullets slicing through crash helmets to knives, fists and boots slamming into flesh and bullet-laden magazines slapped into guns, this film is a glorious celebration of ultra-violence in all its myriad forms.
Staying utterly true to its central conceit, this is a first-person action video game presented as an action film, the first of its kind although it's not the first film to be a POV (point of view), indeed in 2012 we had the utterly vile Maniac, starring professional Hobbit Elijah Wood, but it's the certainly the first to be a balls-out, non-stop action film and believe me, it's exhilarating - of that there's no doubt. It's also nausea inducing, disorientating and bewildering (but in a good way).
The plot sees you, Henry, wake up mute in a lab after a flashback to your childhood when you were bullied and your father, Tim Roth gives you a pep talk, from then on you're being chased by a literal limit-less army of black-clad henchmen and a strange white-eyed albino, Akan (Danila Kozlovsky) with telekinetic powers as you try and piece together just what the blooming heck is going on. Luckily every other scene Sharlto pops up to propel the plot along by playing a smorgasbord of roles, from mohican punk rocker to British army officer to demented underpant wearing party animal and hippy psycho from then on your on your back. Oh and there's a beautiful female scientist, Estelle - your wife, whose abduction at the hands of Akan gives Henry the plot he needs. Accompanied by a relentless pounding soundtrack of Russian Death Metal music, this film rips along, from one breath-taking thumping action scene to the next and it's utterly exhilarating!
But that's all it is, there's no depth to the plot, no story arc, no redemption, nothing except the straight ahead charge, as Henry is shoved to the big boss fight at the end.
There's been a resurgence of late in action films, my particular favourite genre and there's also been a shift away from US based films to a more Euro-centric one and that gives these films a new dimension, new locations and a different feel.
Sadly, by the time you read this review this extraordinary film will have gone from our screens, lasting as it did for just one week. So now you'll have to catch it on your goggle boxes at home.