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Action movie Hardcore Henry filmed in Moscow

New Russian action film Hardcore Henry filmed in Moscow and was shot almost entirely as a first-person movie, with body-mounted cameras worn by the actors.

Hardcore Henry features Hollywood actors Sharlto Copley and Tim Roth. The film follows a robotic-limbed super-soldier who wakes in a lab with no memory and discovers he must rescue his wife from a supervillain who plans to take over the world. 

The film was written and directed by Ilya Naishuller of Russian rock band Biting Elbows. It’s in fact a feature-length version of the band’s five-minute music video Bad Motherf***er, which was shot in the same way and scored 32 million hits on YouTube.  

Wide-angle GoPro cameras, commonly used by sports fans and professionals to film their exploits, were used for the first-person style.

“The biggest challenge technically was figuring out how we were going to stabilise the picture without resorting to CG or computer-enhanced stabilisation because that would have eaten too much of our frame,” said Naishuller, in comments to the magazine Wired.

“So we built rigs from scratch that we would mount on the cameraman who was playing Henry's head. [They had] a magnetic stabilisation system in the front which took quite a few prototypes to correct. 

“We got the final prototype while we were two weeks into filming and that's when we got into our groove of how we would make it work.”

Naishuller is critical of the Russian film industry, which he describes as “not very good, to say the least," with low-quality productions focussed exclusively on box office.

Internationally, Russia is not known as a film-friendly location and parts of eastern Europe are usually doubled for Moscow for stories set in the capital.

Bruce Willis’ A Good Day to Die Hard features his iconic action character John McClane fighting for his life in Moscow, but the movie filmed largely on location in Budapest. 

For more on filming in Russia see our production guide.

Image: STX Entertainment