Hardcore Henry, a 90 Minute Let’s Play Video

To be fair, the trailer makes no pretense that the movie is anything more than watching someone else play a first-person shooter for an hour and a half. That’s the gimmick. Still, I went in hoping that there was more to it than just that one gimmick. Sadly, there wasn’t. After a title sequence consisting of brutal violence in extreme close-up, the movie opens much like a standard shooter would. The titular character wakes up, is given a briefing, and has various body parts activated.


Courtesy of STX Entertainment

From there, it’s an almost relentless assault of nonstop action, most of it graphic and fairly ridiculous, much like the video game genre it mimics. Unfortunately, the story is almost nonexistent. In fact, most actual first-person shooters have more story to them than this movie. Video games at least attempt to give you some reason to care about the character you’re controlling and the mission that needs to be accomplished. This movie not only fails to do both, it barely even tries.

With no story or empathy for the characters to rely on, the movie attempts to keep the audience engaged by continuously ramping up the WTF factor. I gave up any hope of coherence when the sword wielding dominatrices randomly appeared in the middle of a gun battle rampaging through a brothel. And things managed to get even weirder after that.

Courtesy of STX Entertainment

Courtesy of STX Entertainment

This is not to say that the movie is totally devoid of entertainment value. The aforementioned WTF moments provide periodic injections of bizarre humor. One sequence in particular was so randomly nonsensical that I thought I might be watching a Monty Python sketch, complete with a British army officer, and I couldn’t help giggling throughout.

Sharlto Copley stars in HARDCORE HENRY Courtesy of STX Entertainment

Sharlto Copley stars in HARDCORE HENRY
Courtesy of STX Entertainment

In another brief scene with three people arguing and talking over each other in Russian, the subtitles are unreadably piled on top of one another to mimic the incomprehensible verbal torrent. I thought that was kind of clever. And, as in many video games, there is scantily clad eye candy to be had. Did I mention sword wielding dominatrices in a brothel?

In the end, though, the first-person gimmick gets old pretty fast, and the humor isn’t funny enough or often enough to carry the load. It would have been a great 10 to 15 minute short, but there just isn’t enough there for a feature length film.

I wouldn’t recommend paying the money to see this in a theater. However, fortified with your favorite refreshing beverage and with a group of friends over to give it the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment, it might make for a fun evening at home when the DVD comes out.

Overall rating: 5/10. Add a point or two if you see it at home with rowdy friends.

One thought on “Hardcore Henry, a 90 Minute Let’s Play Video

  1. John Bates

    I haven’t seen it yet (I didn’t even realize it was in theaters yet), but I think you may have given a movie a higher rating than I, for the first time ever. I don’t think I’ll make it all the way through.


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