By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Extremely violent movie filmed like a first-person shooter.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie has virtually nothing to say other than run fast, shoot lots of bad guys, and be cool.
Positive Role Models
No real characters to speak of, let alone models.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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Strong but not constant language includes "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," "c--k," "c--t," and "d--k."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Supporting characters snort cocaine, smoke pot, and are shown with a bottle of vodka -- all played for humor.
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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.
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Based on 10 parent reviews
Hardcore Henry Review
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Hardcore Henry is hardcore
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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?
- In theaters: April 8, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: July 26, 2016
- Cast: Sharlto Copley, Haley Bennett, Danila Kozlovsky
- Director: Ilya Naishuller
- Studio: STX Entertainment
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: non-stop bloody brutal violence and mayhem, language throughout, sexual content/nudity and drug use
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
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