WTF: Hardcore Henry (2015)

Hardcore Henry 28 SC Show us what you're made of, Henry WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly

Hardcore Henry 01 poster WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly

Spoiler Alert:

I shall be passionately probing Hardcore Henry, stripping it bare and penetrating its depths to dictate if it’ll turn you on or turn you off. So read on only if you’ve already seen Hardcore Henry, or don’t plan to.


Hardcore Henry 02 WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Extreme hand-job



Tim Roth is your dad when you’re younger and being bullied by kids who are ugly enough to be victims themselves. The opening scene sets up the device of being filmed in the first person. The movie is made from your perspective, as if you are seeing everything. It’s like P.O.V. pornography with no less nudity.

0:01:48 The opening credits are well-shot, slow motion scenes of bodily destruction to the tune of The Stranglers singing ‘Let Me Down Easy’. #hardhitting

[N.B. I’ve included a playlist with the songs — including the songs not on the soundtrack — and music from the film at the end of this synopsis.]

0:04:36 You wake up in a vat of liquid in a laboratory, attached to wires and tubes, feeling like Wolverine or a lobster in a restaurant.

0:5:01 Wow, you’re buff! At least what’s left of you…

Hardcore Henry 04 GIF Twisted my ankle WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Surgery cost an arm and a leg

0:05:16 A blonde in a lab coat (Haley Bennett as Estelle) drains your tub as a machine descends from the ceiling and establishes a video link (your camera). She then informs you that you cannot speak. Evidently, the bath left you speechless.


Estelle: This next part might hurt. Maybe quite a lot.

You wonder why she didn’t let you sleep through the painful part.

0:07:32  Estelle attaches a foot and a forearm to replace the ones you’ve lost. She completes you.

Hardcore Henry 04 GIF Twisted my ankle WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Twisted my ankle

0:08:26 She tells you she’s your wife, then hands you a wedding ring for your fake hand and tells you she loves you. If I were you (and in this film, I am), I’d be worried the marriage was as genuine as my arm.


Hardcore Henry 05 SC Have you cracked your ankles WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Did you crack your knuckles?

0:10:02 Before lab techs can give you your voice, an albino and his crew shoot their way into the lab. He’s obviously the villain, because albinos always make the most colourful villains.


Hardcore Henry 06 WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Boy, is his face red!

0:11:36 Using telekinesis , Akan levitates a tech and cuts him to bits with a butterfly knife. Akan certainly knows how to keep people in stitches!

0:11:52 WTF!? Estelle turns up the computer and plays a guitar chord file so loudly that the speakers explode and knock three grown men over, allowing her and Henry to make their escape? Sounds a bit far-fetched.

0:12: Estelle and Henry run through a small morgue.

Hardcore Henry 07 WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
She’s so blonde, she thought this was a meet freezer

If Akan gets a hold of my work, men like these will be brought back from the dead to form his army.

The only practical use I can think of for an army of dead people is to drop their bodies from planes onto the enemies.

0:12:32 Your girlfriend shouts at you to go through a door marked ‘Emergency Exit’. When you do, you nearly fall out of a flying dirigeable. You almost fell out of love.

Hardcore Henry 08 GIF Mind the Gap WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Mind the Gap

0:13:52 Now your girlfriend forgets to tell you to open the chute of your escape pod and you crash land. You might be better off gay…

0:15:22 A group of Akan’s mercenaries arrives at the crash site (in Moscow). After saying you’re weak, the lead thug tases you. This is not the burst of energy you needed.

Hardcore Henry 09 WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Can you spot the alien? (Hint: He has antennae)

0:18:04 While you fight to escape the mercenaries who’ve followed you down the embankment from which you fell, you are saved by a man called Jimmy (Sharlto Copley), who’s disappointed you don’t have s voice box.

Three years I’ve been waiting for this fucking moment and I get Charlie-fucking-Chaplin.

Hardcore Henry 10 WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Teaching your friends to count to ten

0:18:27 [The song on the car radio is ‘You Make Me Feel Like Dancing’, by Leo Sayer. It’s not on the soundtrack but it is on my playlist. See link at the end of the synopsis.]


Jimmy (Sharlto Copley): The good news is, you’re going to live a while. The bad news is that, in this case, ‘a while’ means 20…30 minutes tops.

The man who rescued you has you connect yourself to an electronic meter to gauge your health. Which means you have connections!

Hardcore Henry 11 SC Henry's feeling a little low WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Henry’s feeling a little low

0:20:07 The police pull you and Jimmy over, but they’re in Akan’s pocket. While pulling away from the ambush, Jimmy is shot in the head and crashes the car. He needed that bullet like a hole in the head.

Hardcore Henry 12 GIF Getting a load off his mind WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Getting a load off his mind

0:22:09 You have to escape the corrupt coppers through underground tube tunnels. The parkour scenes work less well, as the movement is too fast to be captured on film. You could say the parkour scenes are a little…jumpy.

0:22:58 A homeless alky on the bus you sneaked onto turns out to be Jimmy, as in a different version of the Jimmy you just witnessed being shot in the head. This one may be a wretch, but compared with the dead Jimmy, he’s got his head together.

Hardcore Henry 13 WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Putting the ‘Public’ in ‘Public Toilet’

0:23:56 Jimmy instructs you to go to Akan’s right-hand man (Slick Dmitry), open up his chest cavity, remove an electronic pump from beneath his heart and take said pump to Jimmy, who will install it in you to save your life. Hardcore transplant…


Jimmy [speaking about some bloke walking in the street]: That has got to be the gayest jackets I’ve ever seen.

Turns out to be a fireproofed coat that protects the wearer when he unleashes hell through his flamethrower.


I’ll be in touch.

Alky Jimmy’s dying words

0:27:01 Using parkour, you climb into Dmitry’s building through a second floor window. You can’t use the door because there are more guards than vodka bottles in the Kremlin.

Hardcore Henry 14 WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Henry’s going out on a ledge here

0:30:21 After shooting a slew of his henchmen, you discover Dmitry (Andrei Dementiev, who also plays Henry — most of the time) playing dead in a room full of monitors. He escapes through a window after he tricks you. You may have a high tech body but your intelligence is definitely low end.

0:32:04 It’s a fairly average chase scene until they run along the support beams atop a blooming bridge!

Hardcore Henry 15 SC Walk on the wild side WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Walk on the wild side


Wait, wait! I can tell you something very important about the man who sent you here.

Slick Dmitry just before his head is shot off

Um no, you can’t. You can’t tell us anything.

Hardcore Henry 16 GIF Dmitry lost his head WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Dmitry lost his head


Hardcore Henry 17 GIF That dog has a pet arm WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Look, that dog has a pet arm!

0:34:02 After you take the electronic pump from Slick Dmitry’s chest, Jimmy calls you on a mobile he gave you and tells you to meet him at a high class establishment. I predict it’ll be more ‘high’ than ‘class’.

0:34:38 It didn’t take me long to be right. To the sounds of ‘My Girl’, by the Temptations, you enter a strip club.

0:35:26 You find the next Jimmy high on cocaine and sexing 4 prostitutes in a private room. Your battery is draining. Jimmy’s is, too, only it’s not his battery.

0:36:14 Jimmy is too heavily medicated to perform the surgery.

Hardcore Henry 20 SC Putting their heads together WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Putting their heads together

0:37:02 As your energy depletes to nothing, you see your sex life pass before your eyes.

Hardcore Henry 21 SC Checks to make sure the thumb is real WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Estelle makes sure it’s a real thumb

0:37:54 Another Jimmy, Straight-laced Jimmy, enters and he installs the power unit that saves you. Good thing, as apparently you have less battery life than an Apple Watch.

0:39:36 You and Cocaine Jimmy have to hold off an onslaught of Akan’s men in the whore-house. Thinking of your grandmother in her knickers might help you last longer. [The song is The Sonics’ ‘Strychnine’]

Hardcore Henry 22 WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
‘This is fuckin’ war, baby!’

0:40:40 Trying to escape the whore-house, you find Akan torturing a patron. Some patrons pay good money for that.

Hardcore Henry 22 GIF His head on a platter WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
His head on a platter


Hardcore Henry 23 GIF Girls throw themselves at you WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Girls throw themselves at you

0:41:32 Akan tosses you and Cocaine Jimmy’s corpse down a garbage chute, proving Akan is a tosser.

0:42:48 A new Jimmy, Hippy Jimmy, interrogates one of Akan’s men in the garage to determine where he’s taking Estelle. When the man refuses, Hippy Jimmy shoots him in the knees and asks,

What do you want, higher self [shows him a marijuana joint], or ego [showing him the gun]? Higher self…or ego?

0:43:08 At that moment, the two young female owners of the brothel (Svetlana Ustinova and Darya Charusha as Olga the Dominatrix and Katya the Dominatrix, respectively) arrive in black leather with sabres and pistols. Jimmy lets them follow him to Akan’s base. You climb in a motorcycle sidecar, but you’re not riding shotgun, you’re riding machine gun. [The song is ‘My Woman’, by Biting Elbows]

Hardcore Henry 54 Wtfdts Speaking over each other WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Speaking over each other

[N.B. Biting Elbows is the musical group fronted by Ilya Naishuller, the director of Hardcore Henry. He also directed the band’s videos for ‘Stampede‘ and ‘Bad Motherfucker‘, which he filmed in the first person. This style caught the attention of director Timur Bekmambetov, who encouraged Naishuller to make a feature length film.]

[N.B. Darya Charusha (i.e. Olga the Dominatrix) is also the film’s composer.]

0:44:10 Bloody brilliant chase scene. I’m not sure if it’s more bloody or brilliant.

Hardcore Henry 24 GIF Uber Violent WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Uber Violent

0:47:02 You rescue Estelle from the trailer of a moving semi, but Akan arrives and controls you with his telekinesis and his baseball bat.

Hardcore Henry 51 Wtfdts Baseball bats WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly

[N.B. FWIW, a cursory search online tends to support this statistic.]

0:48:56 The song playing as Hippy Jimmy and Olga the Dominatrix rescue you while you’re being dragged through the forest is ‘Für Hildegard von Bingen’, by Devendra Banhart.

0:51:18 Hippy Jimmy and Olga are killed by heavy artillery, so you attack the tank that shot them. They need to install reversing lights on tanks just for you.


Hardcore Henry 25 GIF It's a toss up WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
It’s a toss up

0:54:07 After you fall from the helicopter you’re attacking, and then a horse who doesn’t like you getting on his back, you finally arrive at Jimmy’s lair, escorted by Commando Jimmy.

0:54:37 You discover corrupt policemen attempting to rape a woman in the abandoned building that houses Jimmy’s lab. They tell the girl, ‘Baby, the gag reflex is psychological. It’s all in your head,’ and then you prove it by jamming a hose in their heads.

Hardcore Henry 26 GIF Squeeze the grapes for red whine WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Squeeze the grapes for red whine

0:56:40 Once in Jimmy’s lab, he plays a video showing him creating an army of super soldiers for Akan. In the video, when the group of burly lads function worse than expected, Akan uses his telekinesis to throw Jimmy into the group of muscle bound clones where he gets more hits than Selena Gomez’s album in a singles bar.

0:56:48 Then, still using his mind force, Akan picks up Jimmy and drops him to the ground, shattering his spine. Being Akan’s stooge is back breaking work.


Hardcore Henry 27 SC Will the real Jimmy please stand up WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Will the real Jimmy please stand up?


I grew men made of cyber-flesh.

Jimmy explains where all of his clones come from

He then puts on his helmet to control a new ‘avatar’, Pullover Jimmy.

0:58:04 Pullover Jimmy explains that you are a cyborg, with ‘bits and a brain’, meaning, unlike his avatars, you can think for yourself. What did the cyborg say to the battery salesman? How much do you charge!


Hardcore Henry 28 SC Show us what you're made of, Henry WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Henry shows us what he’s made of

0:59:32 Jimmy puts on a quite useless show of him and his avatars doing ‘I’ve got you under my skin’.

1:02:10 Unbeknownst to you, you’ve been broadcasting images to Akan, who is now debarking en masse at Jimmy’s lab to destroy the two of you and any avatars Jimmy cares to throw at him.

1:02:58 The new plan is to defeat Akan, retrieve your wife and build a new lab using Akan’s equipment. Sounds like a Plan B: B very lucky.

Hardcore Henry 29 WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
‘Dammit! You told me we’d be in the forest!’

1:03:22 You and Paramilitary Jimmy plant plastic explosives through the lab. That ought to bring the house down.

1:08:11 You and Jimmy have to shoot your way out of his residence.

Hardcore Henry 30 GIF Raise the dead WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Raise the dead

1:08:38 There’s a lot of action, but not all of it is new or original. Some of it, however, truly is.

Hardcore Henry 31 GIF Shooting pigeons WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Shooting pigeons

1:09:34 WTF!? The army has been shooting to kill for the entire sequence, but now that they outnumber Henry, Jimmy the Cripple, Pullover Jimmy and Tommy Jimmy, they decide not to shoot at all but instead to wait for Tommy Jimmy to blow the lab and bring down the roof of the building in them.

Hardcore Henry 32 SC Knows surrendering like the backs of his hands WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Knows surrendering like the backs of his hands


 Hardcore Henry 33 GIF Parallel Parking WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Parallel Parking


Hardcore Henry 34 SC What's worse than finding a worm WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Example of an anti-joke: What’s worse than finding a worm in your apple? The Holocaust.

What’s red and bad for your teeth?

Henchman fighting you at Akan’s HQ

The answer to this anti-joke is in the palm of his hand.


Hardcore Henry 35 GIF I'm gonnna buy you some time WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly

1:13:42 As he dies, Jimmy confesses that he tampered with one of your memories to make you a better soldier, or, as they say in the American mafia, ‘Forget about it!’

1:15:56 Akan is on a video monitor, displaying his cyborg army. He explains they will come to life just as you did: with a blonde telling each of them that he’s married to her and has to defend her. Those are fightin’ words.

1:16:14 You realise you were tricked and that the blonde doesn’t really love you but has instead promised her heart to your worst enemy. In cinema terms, this device is known as ‘real life’.


Hardcore Henry 53 Wtfdts I smell what you like about her WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly

1:17:49 You kill one of the cyborgs and remove his battery to replace yours with, because his is much stronger and you need all the strength you can get to fight the entire cyborg army. 💪

Hardcore Henry 37 SC You're not afraid to open up WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Henry’s not afraid to open up

1:19:04 You battle the totality of the cyborg forces and remind me of the expression, ‘You and what army?’


Hardcore Henry 38 GIF A Heart attack WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
A Heart attack

1:21:54 ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, by Queen plays as you shoot up adrenaline to prepare for the final battle with Akan. Because you’re ‘Akan’ to get started.


Hardcore Henry 39 SC It's out of your hands WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
It’s out of your hands

1:24:07 Estelle runs to Akan to make sure he’s OK in a scene I’ve been waiting for since she appeared on screen. A real twist would’ve been if she’d been loyal.


Hardcore Henry 40 SC The eyes have it WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
The eyes have it

Akan, thinking you’re defeated, kisses you goodbye.

You didn’t make history, Henry, you helped end it.

1:25:32 Akan knocks you semi unconscious and you finally get a good look at yourself.

Hardcore Henry 41 SC A reflection of your former self WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
A reflection of your former self


Hardcore Henry 42 SC I wish Tim Roth were my father WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
I wish Tim Roth were my father…because then I’d be rich

You…little…pussy. That’s what my old man called me, just like it was my name. And I proved him right by killing all of the wrong people. I love you Henry, and I’ll never call you anything but your name, but you gotta decide. Are you gonna lay there, swallowing all the blood in your mouth, or are you gonna stand up, spit it out and go spill theirs?

Your father in a flashback

The memory Jimmy hid from you comes back and you learn that your father supported you when you were bullied. For some reason, this makes you want to fight, just like you have been for the entire film when you thought he wasn’t supporting you. WTF!?


Hardcore Henry 43 SC cinematography Get a grip WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Get a grip

1:26:39 You surprise Akan and rip his hand in two. Like a poker player with a pair of twos, he has a terrible hand.

Hardcore Henry 44 GIF Not very handy WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Not very handy

1:26:5 In a brilliant scene, Akan (for some WTF reason), decides to levitate all of the cyborg bodies, which you use like stepping stones to attain him.

Hardcore Henry 45 SC Akan raises the dead WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Akan raises the dead


Hardcore Henry 46 GIF Akan has half a mind to die WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Akan has half a mind to die

1:28:38 You leap into the helicopter to show Estelle what’s left of Akan. She shoots you, but you deflect one of the bullets with your metal hand and it strikes her in the heart. Maybe she won’t die, though, because she’s heartless.

1:29:04 I was right. She doesn’t die, but instead falls through the helicopter door and hangs on for dear life miles above the city.

Listen to your heart, Henry.

Your pleading ‘wife’

You pull the door down on her fingers and listen to her scream.

Roll credits to ‘For the Kill’, Biting Elbows

1:33:22 Post credit ‘scene’

Hello, Henry. Well, if you’re hearing this, there’s one more thing I need you to do…

Jimmy on a voice mail

‘Have the time’, by The Slackers

Tally Ho’

  • WTF!?’s: 3 brutal ones
  • When to Follow: Perfect for a Saturday night with the lads and a lot of beer, but not so much that the first person filming style makes you ill.
  • Where’s This Found: Hardcore Henry has brilliant pacing: from beginning to end there’s never a dull moment. While it’s true the action is often repetitive, at least there’s a lot of it. As for the FPS filming style, it looks good on paper and usually on the screen, except for the running / parkour scenes. What the film delivers in adrenaline it lacks in story, but the idea, the execution and especially the fun top the scales and make this film one I’d recommend. Out of a possible 10, I have 7 F’s to give.

7 Fs 139pt

  • What To Feedback:

[Update: The option “Mindf*cked with confusion and thrill?!?!?!” was suggested by a reader as ‘Other’, so I’ve included it in the poll.]

All GIFs used in this review were created with the Imgflip online meme generator

Left Over WTF (Way Too Funny) Photos

Hardcore Henry 48 WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Henry’s at the end of his rope
Hardcore Henry 49 WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
If he wants to blow her brains out, he’ll have to find them first
Hardcore Henry 50 WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly
Pet Shop Boys breakout video

Prints suitable for reposting!

WTF!? did they say?

Hardcore Henry 52 Wtfdts You didn't make history WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly

Hardcore Henry 55 Wtfdts Higher self or ego WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly

WTF!? do you meme?

Hardcore Henry 53 meme Blow a blonde's brains out WTF Watch The Film Saint Pauly

What to Follow Up

WTF Review

WTF review of Deadpool
WTF review of Mad Max: Fury Road
WTF review of another ‘robot’ film: Chappie

Bar None Review

Oh Al! The Bar None’s review of Antman

Fernby Films Review

Fernby Films review of Triple 9

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2 thoughts on “WTF: Hardcore Henry (2015)

  1. Christ this film was abomnible. In what surely must be the worst case of “it seemed like a good idea at the time”, filming this entirely in the first person was a one-trick joke that got old almost immediately. An incomprehensible plot couldn’t overcome some admittedly terrific action set-pieces (the helicopter/tank/horse sequence was the best) in which a multitude of bad guys still can’t fucking shoot one single guy.

    It was fun, I guess, but stupidly so.

    This review, however, is brilliant, of course.


    1. Lol! You and I haven’t really disagreed on a film like this in quite a long time! I must say, I’m a bit relieved we’re not becoming clones of each other!

      I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The ‘gimmick’ of filming in the first person never really over-stayed its welcome, in my view (keep in mind, I’m a sucker for the found footage genre). I loved how the action never let up in the film; this in an age where Die Hard films have three routine action scenes and far too much exposition throughout. And I’m surprised you criticised the “multitude of bad guys” who “still can’t shoot one single guy”. If you’re going to use this as a criteria, I must insist you turn in your “Star Wars fan” accreditation. I’m not saying this cliche didn’t bother me, mind you — it always does — but I was ready to forgive it here as I so often do for 90% of the actions films I see.

      HH was fresh and intense. Nothing more, but fresh and intense is already so much better than most of the films I have seen this year (Tarzan being the most recent).

      Thanks for your visit and your input, my friend.

      WTF!? Rodney (Watch The Film),

      Saint Pauly


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