Hardcore Henry

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Hardcore Henry Movie Poster Image
Extremely violent movie filmed like a first-person shooter.
  • R
  • 2016
  • 96 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 15 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie has virtually nothing to say other than run fast, shoot lots of bad guys, and be cool.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No real characters to speak of, let alone models.

Violence

Extreme, constant violence of the first-person-shooter video game variety. Hundreds of dead bodies, and gallons of blood. Exploding, dismembered limbs. Blades, shrapnel, objects protruding from flesh/heads. Gory scenes of bodies being ripped open to pull out cyborg equipment. Frequent guns/shooting, grenades, explosions. High-tech weapons, bazookas, etc. Frequent stabbing, slicing (one stabbing in eye) with knives, blades, swords. Frequent fighting, punching, slamming. A man's private parts are crushed. Car crashes. Flamethrower, bodies on fire. Innocent bystanders are hit. Pliers to the nose. Baseball bat as a weapon. Other disturbing imagery.

Sex

Sequence set in a "gentleman's club" shows many topless women, full-frontal female nudity, several suggested sex acts, and some innuendo. Poster of a topless woman. Visual gag about a door "knocker" shaped like a breast. Women in dominatrix gear. Sex toys shown. A man mimes masturbating with a baseball bat. Kissing.

Language

Strong but not constant language includes "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," "c--k," "c--t," and "d--k."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Supporting characters snort cocaine, smoke pot, and are shown with a bottle of vodka -- all played for humor.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hardcore Henry is an action film that plays out like a first-person-shooter video game. Filmed entirely from a first-person perspective, it's kinetic, stylish, dizzying, and extremely violent. There are hundreds of dead bodies, gallons of blood, shooting, stabbing, fighting, impaled bodies, severed body parts, explosions, people on fire, and much more. Plus, there's very mature sexual content in a scene that takes place in a gentleman's club; viewers will see topless women (and one full-frontal) and suggested sex acts. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," and "c--k." Supporting characters smoke pot, snort cocaine, and drink vodka, mainly for comic effect. Because of the graphic violence and sex, the movie isn't really appropriate for anyone under 18.

User Reviews

Adult Written byaustinacl02 April 18, 2016

AMAZING, but...

So just a quick intro, i do not think this movie is for 18 and up, but ITS NOT AT ALL for kids. This is the most violent movie I have ever seen. It has Blood, G... Continue reading
Adult Written byStevie111 April 8, 2016

Hardcore Henry is entertaining and has funny parts, but is horrifically violent and should've been NC-17

This film has relentless gruesome violence and mayhem. I have no idea why this wasn't NC-17. There is gore with every death. There is also quite graphic se... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byNickbrick03 April 9, 2016

stunningly fun, just like playing a video game without dying

A first-person action film from the eyes of Henry, who's resurrected from death with no memory. He must discover his identity and save his wife from a warl... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byJNfilmcritic April 16, 2016

Fun for High school seniors and up

Non stop adrenaline fueled action packed fun from beginning to end - for high school seniors and up. Near constant bloody violence and strong language and a sce... Continue reading

What's the story?

Henry wakes up in a lab, with no memory. A woman named Estelle (Haley Bennett) tells him that she's his wife and proceeds to attach a robotic arm and leg to his body. The evil Akan (Danila Kozlovsky), who seems to have telekinetic abilities, interrupts, and Henry and Estelle escape. After a crash and a shoot-out, Henry meets Jimmy (Sharlto Copley), who wants to help. He informs Henry that, now that he's a cyborg, he'll soon need a battery change. Jimmy is shot, and Henry finds himself on the run again. Miraculously, Jimmy turns up, in disguise, and points Henry in the right direction: to find and take down Akan before he has a chance to unleash more robotic super-soldiers.

Is it any good?

Shot entirely from a first-person point of view and staged like a video game, this action extravaganza doesn't care about characters, but as an experimental exercise in pure style, it's pretty cool. Director Ilya Naishuller, of the Russian indie rock band Biting Elbows, is known for making similar first-person music videos on YouTube. It's trickier to sustain that kind of energy for 90 minutes, but he pulls it off in HARDCORE HENRY, borrowing ideas from first-person-shooter games -- i.e. the hero wakes up with amnesia and can't speak, other characters tell him what his tasks are, etc.

The camerawork is fluid and kinetic but still rapid-fire; it can be dizzying (there have been reports of viewers getting motion sick during screenings). Copley gets a chance to shine (or show off), playing several characters with different personas and accents. Kozlovsky's Akan is a rather dull villain, but Bennett is an appealing femme fatale. One scene even references Robert Montgomery's Lady in the Lake, which used the first-person perspective technique all the way back in 1947.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Hardcore Henry's extreme violence. How does this it make you feel? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?

  • The gentleman's club scene includes lots of nudity and implied sex. Does this add anything to the movie? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • Three characters are seen drinking and taking drugs. How are those behaviors portrayed? What affect do they have? Does the movie glorify them?

  • How does the first-person perspective work? What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks? How does it compare to other action movies?

Movie details

For kids who love action

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