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'Hardcore' is the first-person feature-length followup to 'Bad Motherfucker'

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Director Ilya Naishuller needs your money for this love letter to bro culture

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Most filmmakers rely on careful cinematography, emotive writing, and nuanced performances to make the audience empathize with their main characters. Director Ilya Naishuller has another method. In Naishuller's Hardcore, a sci-fi action movie currently seeking funding on Indiegogo, he puts the audience behind the eyes of the main character, giving them a first-person perspective on a feature-film length trail of destruction and dead bodies.

Naishuller has used this trick before. Last year he directed the music video for Russian band Biting Elbows' "Bad Motherfucker," strapping a camera to the face of an unnamed protagonist and filming his progress as in a video game first-person shooter. The result is a fast-paced, murder-heavy 5-minute short that tracks our hero as he escapes his imminent execution, using parkour moves and a bucketload of guns to carve a bloody streak through offices and across rooftops. Hardcore looks to share the same exploitative tone as "Bad Motherfucker" before it. Both music video and new trailer feature regular spurts of blood and viscera as human beings are shot, punched, and blown up, and both feature egregious shots of bikini-clad female torsos on their video thumbnails, even though the women appear for scant seconds in the music video, and not at all in the Hardcore trailer.

The trailer makes a play for fans of video games such as Call of Duty with its first-person viewpoint — the mustachioed British soldier is the double of that series' Captain Price — but it could become tiring when used for the length of an entire feature film. Other films have toyed with the method, including horror flick Maniac, shot from the killer's perspective, and 2005's Doom movie, which featured a five-minute homage to the video game that spawned it, but none have tried to sustain the breakneck pace Naishuller has shown so far.

The director was able to record the action by shooting on GoPro cameras slotted into a custom rig that sat over on the protagonist's face, a method that apparently resulted in an "intensely personal experience." People that hand $300 over Hardcore's Indiegogo campaign will be sent one of the cameras smashed during filming; part with $2,500 and you'll get a "adventure mask" face rig like the ones used in the movie.

hardcore-camera

'Hardcore' features regular spurts of blood and viscera

Naishuller himself says he turned down the initial offer to helm the film from Timur Bekmambetov, the director of Wanted and Russia's Night Watch series, "believing that it was a gimmicky idea that couldn't possibly work on the big screen." But he was eventually tempted into the job, and the movie's set to see release — it's already been shot, and it's using Indiegogo's flexible funding method, meaning pledges go into a virtual donation box regardless of the fundraising campaign's success.