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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The intersection of Bizzell Street and College Avenue on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024.
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Texas A&M LB Taurean York (21) speaks during the 2024 SEC Media Day at the Omni Hotel in Dallas, Texas on Thursday July 18, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Bob Rogers, holding a special edition of The Battalion.
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Writer Braxton Dore with the six Mochinut donuts he sampled from the restaurant. The writing on the box lid reads, More than just a donut, always near you.
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Bullet holes and plot holes

Photo by By Jacob Martindale

With a budget of $10 million, “Hardcore Henry” only grossed $7 million this opening weekend, according to BoxOfficeMojo.

“Hardcore Henry” doesn’t want to waste your time with the details, so why should I? Here’s the skinny: “Henry” is a B-movie. It’s Vimeo and YouTube fare masquerading as a worthy theatrical release. It’s a one-note gimmick played out over 96 minutes that — no matter your preference for bloody ultra-violence — eventually grows stale.
“Hardcore Henry” is an action thriller filmed entirely in the first-person perspective from director Ilya Naishuller, who got his start making music videos for his own band, “Biting Elbows.” For a taste of how “Henry” plays out, check out the band’s video for “The Stampede” — which is also filmed in first person and is hyper violent. 
In terms of story, “Henry” is all bullet holes and plot holes. After cybernetically-enhanced Henry wakes up from a coma, his wife Estelle — played by Haley Bennett — is kidnapped by telepath Akan — played by Danila Kozlovsky — and it’s up to him to get her back. 
To do that, Henry has to kill just about everyone in sight. Assisting him is Jimmy — played by “District Nine” alum Sharlto Copley — a mysterious and identity-swapping individual who can’t seem to stop dying. If all of this seems a bit much to take in, don’t worry. None of it really matters.
“Hardcore Henry” isn’t trying to tell a nuanced story. It’s trying to shoot some bad guys, do some cool parkour and rip some people’s heads off. It’s basically 2006’s “Crank” with a forced perspective and less nuance. It even borrows some of its plot points — Henry’s first task is to retrieve a new battery before he runs out of power. Where does he get that battery? Out of someone’s heart, of course. The film is obsessed with blood and gore to the point of being gross. One scene has Henry using his own optic nerve to decapitate someone from the mouth up. While it’s completely absurd and momentarily fun, it’s never enough to make the film worthwhile.
A big problem is the film’s script and characters. Simply put, they’re awful. The villain, Akan, is cringe-worthy nearly every time he’s on-screen in both performance and writing, Henry himself doesn’t have any lines and Estelle is nothing more than the damsel-in-distress plot motivation. The film’s saving grace is Jimmy, whose oddball appearances and dialogue inject the barest sense of personality into the film. Beyond him, the film lacks someone to root for.
“Hardcore Henry” wants to be a video game. Its forced perspective is entirely reminiscent of shooters, but it doesn’t make up for the film’s bad writing and characters. It’s obvious the film was built around its camera style, making the whole thing a gimmick that lasts too long. “Hardcore Henry” comes off much like its titular character — an experiment with nothing to say — which ultimately makes it pointless.

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