Once in a while I see a movie I wish I hadn't. When I saw the trailer for ‘Hardcore Henry,’ it crossed my mind that the movie would be pretty bad but I had no idea. Its shaky first-person-shooter format promises a fully immersive experience, as if you’re Hardcore Henry himself rampaging through 96 minutes of kick-ass action and sheer mayhem. But then I thought: "I don't recall walking out of ‘Doom,’ so how bad could it possibly be?" Sorry I asked.
Featuring ‘District 9’ star and perennial Neill Blomkamp fav Sharlto Copley, HH is a non-stop balls-to-the-wall action flick that would make even the most jaded Michael Bay aficionado’s head spin. The movie’s whirlwind and continuous action sequences are laid on so hot and heavy that the viewer can’t catch his breath and is constantly overwhelmed with sensory overload. The film’s flimsily thin and weak plot, something about a cybernetically enhanced super soldier’s search for “The Truth” and to rescue the one whom he believed to be his wife, only provides a piss poor excuse for all the senseless destruction and carnage throughout the movie.
By the mid-point of the movie, even this veteran of numerous John Woo actioners has been pummeled senseless by the veritable orgy of violence that is ‘Hardcore Henry.’ It’s as if you’re playing a gory FPS game but the AI is dragging you along for the ride kicking and screaming. HH is so big and dumb that it doesn’t even bother to ponder such basic questions as “Who is Hardcore Henry?” and “How did the movie's sadistic villain Akan (Danila Kozlovsky) get his telekinetic powers and what is he after?” Apparently such considerations are unimportant to the writers/producers and mindless action is all that matters. Sharlto Copley provided the only bright spot in the movie, taking on his various caricatured personas (including a WWII-era British officer) with gleeful abandon but, alas, it isn’t nearly enough to pull this bloody mess out of the bottomless pit of mind-numbing apathy.