Review: Hardcore Henry

By Christian DiMartino

Hardcore Henry is dazzling and maddening in equal measure.

Here is a beautiful mess. A film I found easier to admire than enjoy. It’s not exactly a film I enjoyed, but yet there were quite a few things I enjoyed. Does that make sense? Hopefully.

But it shouldn’t matter if that makes sense, because honestly, to me, Hardcore Henry  didn’t make any sense. It’s a non-stop thrill ride, but I didn’t know why we were taking the ride. I tried people, believe me.

I will attempt to tell you the plot, but I cannot really, because I’m not sure what it is. As you might know, the film is filmed as if its a video game. The hero of the story, Henry, never speaks, and in fact, I’m not even sure if we even see his face.

Henry is brought back to life, and given a robot arm. What happened to him beforehand? No clue. I’m assuming that it’s the events that happen in the opening credits, but who did this to him? And why? Anyways, he wakes to see a doctor (Haley Bennett), who tells him that she is his wife. Next thing you know, some blonde weirdo shows up (he has the force… or something), and next you know, Henry and his wife are dropped from the sky. As soon as they land, he fights some people, and she is kidnapped.

The rest of the movie? He fights people, and he runs. Then, he fights some more, blows some stuff up, runs some more, fights some more. You get the point. All in an attempt to rescue his wife. But why did they attack him in the first place? Still pondering that one. Sharlto Copley shows up as Jimmy, who (confusingly, as first) shows up in multiple forms. We also get a pointless cameo from Tim Roth as Henry’s father, who serves no purpose.

So, you can see my frustration with Hardcore Henry. It’s such a bold vision. A visual stunner. But yet it’s also kind of like watching someone play a video game, which, judging from past experience, sucks. But yet the action sequences are a knockout.

The film has a great, weird energy to it. I also liked the performance by Copley. But yet ultimately Hardcore Henry is just a tad exhausting. There’s moments of pure awesome, and then moments that simply drag. It’s such a shame.

Hardcore Henry swings and misses, but yet it misses with gusto. Perhaps if I actually knew what the hell it was about, I might be a little kinder. Still though, it’s quite a ride. I’m really divided. I’m not telling you not to see it, but yet I’m telling you not to see it. Alright, that didn’t make any sense. I’m going to bed.

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