Movie: Hardcore Henry


Written/Directed by: Ilya Naishuller
Release Date: April 8, 2016

I’ve always been accused of liking every movie.  I won’t deny that I like most movies I see.  I can always find something positive to say about any movie. There is always something good to say…

Hardcore Henry, however, is the exception.  I hated this movie with every fiber of my being.  I left this movie theater seething because I was so mad by how much time I wasted sitting through this garbage.

If you listen to Flatscreen Flatmates, you would have heard me talking excitedly about seeing this movie.  It had to be interesting, if for only being filmed in a new exciting way. Most of it was filmed with a GoPro and how unique is that?  I looked at it as a way to push the boundaries on what cameras and technology were capable of.  The found footage genre was being taken a step further.  Hardcore Henry is a First Person Shooter style of movie.  Hey I like FPS games, surely this would be an experience at the very least. Right? Wrong.

Now, I didn’t have much expectations in way of the story and I thought that would be fine.  It turns out that even though I still set the bar so very low, writer/director Ilya Naishuller still managed to limbo beneath it.

This was a movie that progressively got worse the longer I sat imprisoned by the many movie watchers who sat on either side of me.  Within 15 minutes of the film, I was already motion sick.  I watched most, if not all, of the major actions scenes while keeping my eyes fixed on the head of the person in the seat in front of me. I found myself wishing I had sat in one of the aisle seats so I could have walked out (something I have never done in my life).  Actually, that part is a lie.  I found myself wishing I had just stayed home instead.


In the beginning of the film I thought it was kind of funny just how much like a video game it was.  I swear I could see the button commands on the bottom of the screen.   Hit X to pick up your weapon.  L2 to use the pliers.  R2 to fire your gun.  Hit the triangle button to grab the gun off of the guy you just shot.  However, the novelty of this quickly wore off.  The fun thing about video games is that you’re an actual participate in the story.  If you’re not actually hitting the QTE (quick time event) buttons, than it’s not as much fun watching your character scale a building and then hit his shin on a wooden crate because you didn’t hit square fast enough.

However, all of that is not even my main problem with this movie.

It wasn’t a good story.  Here’s this guy who just woke up a cyborg and his wife has been kidnapped.  Whatever, that still promises fun action.  Nope.  The entire plot was boring.  Every character was one dimensional, and I found myself wondering why I even cared. The movie could have ended at any point and I wouldn’t have minded because I didn’t care about anything that was happening.  What were the stakes again? Was this a side quest or was this part of the main story mission?

As an audience member I even felt like the writer himself grew bored with his own story by the 45 minute mark.  That’s when I started to realize all these random details that seemed to have been thrown in just to give any kind of interest to the story just to stop people from falling asleep during the movie. I mean… The villain has mystical powers, FOR NO REASON WHAT SO EVER.  There is a weird dance musical number somewhere in the middle FOR NO REASON WHAT SO EVER.   OH, BUT before we get the wrong idea, the character in question makes sure to tell everyone that he is in fact “straight as an arrow” and that we shouldn’t get any funny ideas just because he enjoys musicals. I do believe my eyes rolled so far back in my head I almost tipped out of my seat.

This entire movie felt like a bad attempt at writing a screenplay during Nanowrimo. The third week of Nano is when you hit the rough patch and you realize you don’t have any gas left in the tank and you’re out of inspiration.  That’s when you start resorting to the spaghetti method of writing.  You’ll just throw any kind of shit at it and hope that something sticks.  It may get you the word count you were hoping for, but it doesn’t usually contribute to any kind of decent bit of writing.  At that point, it’s best to take a page out of Coco Chanel’s handbook and remember to remove one story element before leaving the house.  You know, perhaps the unnecessary sexual assault in the middle? The completely unneeded twist at the end? These are just suggestions really. I have a few more if anyone is interested.

Speaking of… every single woman in this film was sexualized, victimized, beaten and killed.  EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. THEM.

These woman barely even had names or even a single line of dialogue for goodness sake. Forget the Bechdel Test, these woman didn’t even come close to passing the Sexy Lamp Test.  There wasn’t a single woman in this film that couldn’t have been be replaced with a lamp instead. I’m not even going to go into how sick to my stomach it made when the very last woman left in the film is killed and every single man in the audience cheered and hollered and one asshole even gave the movie a standing ovation.  The treatment of woman was disgusting and frankly made me extremely uncomfortable.  The problem being that I don’t even think it was purposefully misogynistic.  I think the writer/director just honestly has that low of a view of women.  Women in this film were nothing more than objects and they were treated as such and killed as such.

This film was douchebag-dudebro-I finally got into film school after my application was denied twice -trash.

I have absolutely nothing good to say about this movie.  If you love yourself, do not go see this movie.

I am not exaggerating when I say I was physically ill by the time the credits decided to roll. This movie was an hour and a half and yet it felt like I was in that theater for 10 years.  I could not get out of there fast enough.


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