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Film / Hardcore Henry

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Henry is not having a good time.

Henry has woken up with amnesia, some chest scars, slight color-blindness, and two of his limbs missing. A woman introducing herself as his wife Estelle fills in the blanks; Henry was beaten to hell and back, and almost died. She, an augmentation scientist, did her best to repair his body, using synthetic organs and body parts to bring him back and make him stronger than he was before. She slips his wedding ring back onto his finger and tenderly tells him that, even though he doesn't remember her at all, that she loves him.

Then a bloodthirsty albino guy with telekinesis named Akan breaks in with a small army in tow, kills the other scientists, and kidnaps his wife.

Henry finds himself in the middle of Moscow, hunted by hundreds of Akan's assassins, and backed up by a British agent named Jimmy who inexplicably knows Henry and also keeps dying and coming back with each one having wildly different personas and skill-sets. Henry knows how to use every gun and weapon he comes across, is a parkour master, has superhuman strength and stamina, and is hellbent on getting his wife back.

Did we mention that the audience sees all of this through Henry's eyes?

Heavily influenced by First-Person Shooter games, Hardcore Henry made a splash at various film festivals with its revolutionary concept, gonzo nature and fast-paced, fun approach to the action genre. It won't surprise anyone then, that it did actually get some early cross-promotion with PAYDAY 2 as a tie-in (and shared universe, of sorts). The tie-in features Jimmy as a playable character and two heists, both of which takes place before the film does; one has you sneaking around a mercenary base to steal an EMP device, and the other has you collecting and stealing data on superhuman experiments before Akan can get his hands on it.

Bliss on Tap Publishing printed a Prequel comicbook Hardcore Akan that tells Big Bad Akan's origin story.


  • Acoustic License: When Henry finally chases down Slick Dimitri, Slick's head gets taken off by a sniper rifle round, before the sniper takes aim at Henry himself. However, Slick's head blows up after the sound of the rifle shot, rather than before. Henry (and the audience) should have seen the impact before hearing the shot, as the bullet travels faster than the speed of sound.
  • Adrenaline Time: Literally - to give him the upper hand in the last battle, Henry finds a medkit with adrenaline shots, takes two, and jabs them into his legs - the camera slows down, then speeds right on up as he massacres the remaining grunts.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Subverted for Black Comedy at the climax. When Estelle is hit by a bullet that ricochets off Henry's hand, the music turns sombre as she stumbles in shock, asking what happened in a daze. Then she falls out of the open helicopter door and is left dangling out over the city far below, tearfully pleading with Henry for her life. Cue door slam and End Credits with upbeat music.
  • Alliterative Title: Hardcore Henry.
  • All There in the Manual: The movie gives zero explanation for Akan’s telekinetic abilities. Instead, his backstory is covered in the tie-in comic Hardcore Akan. Basically, Akan was born to a woman fleeing Pripyat, Ukraine on the morning of the Chernobyl reactor meltdown. The radiation burned the melanin out of his skin, eyes, and hair, which is why he’s albino. A scientist stopped and rescued him, to raise as his own child after the woman died to a poisoned anti-radiation pill given as part of a cover up. Flash forward to Akan’s college years, and his powers manifest, either due to the radiation itself, or the experimental treatments his adoptive father used to save him from cancer. After finding out the truth from his adoptive father, Akan kills him with a ceiling fan, murders the board of directors of his father’s company, and takes over for himself.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Near the end of the movie, Akan's troops assault the abandoned hotel Jimmy's lab is hidden in, thanks to Akan sneaking in another tracking device in Henry's head that broadcasts what Henry sees.
  • Arc Words: You. Little. Pussy. Said to a young Henry by his father after Henry refused to chase after some bullies who'd broken his toy. At the end, the full flashback reveals that this is actually his father quoting what his own father said to him (his father even said he deserved to have been called a pussy for following his mafioso father's orders to shed innocent blood instead of defying him and not committing evil), promising to love him unconditionally and never speak to him like that even if he acts like a coward, and asking him whether he wants to keep being a coward or start retaliating. Henry uses this as motivation to get up and brutally kill Akan and Estelle.
  • Artificial Limbs: Left hand and left leg in Henry's case.
  • Artificial Zombie: First-gen cyborgs were so lobotomized they acted like zombies and are more or less useless to Akan. Second-gen have Fake Memories of being badasses. Both are made out of dead people and cybernetics.
  • Artistic License – Biology: As seen in his body scan at Jimmy's lab, Henry still has his original ribcage, spine, pelvis and at least one major limb. However, he continually shrugs off punishment that should have shattered these bones to dust; in the most extreme instance, the fall from the helicopter should have killed him.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Henry almost falls out the aircraft after accidentally opening an emergency exit, in real life Henry would have been sucked out due to decompression.
  • Attempted Rape: Three dirty cops try this on some poor woman. Henry kills all three, with the primary rapist finding out fellating a pipe isn't as fun.
  • Auto Erotica: Henry has a flashback to making love with Estelle in a car during a rainstorm. Given the memory blocker and the Evil All Along reveal, the truth of this flashback is debatable.
  • Back from the Dead: Jimmy... well, all of them. They're remotely controlled force-grown clones.
  • Badass Bystander: One of the brothel dominatrixes hacks a mook's hand off with a katana.
  • Badass Normal: There's no indication that Akan's chief enforcer, Yuri, has any modifications of his own. Yet, each time he faces Henry, he wipes the floor with him.
  • Bad Boss: Akan, who not only considers his goons expendable to the point of using them as one long Batman Gambit to test out his super-soldier, which results in hundreds of deaths, he's also responsible for Jimmy's disability - when the first batch of super-soldiers turned out to be too lobotomized for anything, Akan rewarded him by snapping his spine.
  • Bait-and-Switch: After coming across a young Henry being bullied, his father simply says "You little pussy." It's later revealed that he's telling Henry what his own father called him and he assures Henry he'll never call him anything but his name.
  • Band of Brothels: Two Russian ladies give Jimmy the gears for leading Akan to shoot up their strip club/brothel, and then they decide to help them save Henry's wife.
  • Batman Gambit: By Akan and Estelle. They feed false memories to Henry, put an implant in his head and set him loose — Henry's Roaring Rampage of Revenge was merely a field test of their cyborg army, and it was only flawed by his heroic resolve.
  • Batter Up!: Akan loves baseball bats, though he only uses them once - to knock Henry clear out of the armored van he's in, but not before giving him some data on baseball in Russia - in his words, annually there are 100,000 bats sold in the country... but only about 50 baseballs.
  • Big Bad: Akan, who plans on taking over the world.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Akan, with Estelle.
  • Big Good: Jimmy act as this to Henry.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Estelle actually turns out to be Akan's wife, not Henry's, and she is just as amoral.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Henry will forever be a cybernetic Humanoid Abomination, one whose memories of his past will always remain fragmented. Also, Jimmy (his only ally) and all of his clones are dead along with many other innocents. But he has defeated Akan and Estelle and finally has real control over his life, rather than being a pawn for others to use and manipulate. Similarly, he receives a pre-recorded message from Jimmy, asking him to do 'one more thing.'
  • Black Comedy: Absolutely laced with it. One moment stands out towards the end when the nerdy Jimmy - the least bombastic and combat-capable of all the clones - tries to buy Henry some time against Akan's Mooks with an axe, only to be near-immediately mowed down by machine gun fire.
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: In the final battle Henry is covered from head to toe with blood.
  • Body Horror: The way Henry's body looked before the film is apparently not pretty.
    Timothy: His... arm was shot off below the... below the elbow and the leg shot off below the knee. [...] Um... the skull was dented in and there was this... um... his eyes were missing and... um... the bottom half of his jaw was... shred to pieces.
  • Book Ends: The first thing established after the prologue is that Henry's eye stalk can be dislodged and dislocated (visualized by showing two separate camera angles split down the middle.) At the climax, Henry pulls out his eye stalk and garrotes Akan through the head with it.
  • Boom, Headshot!: The first Jimmy gets hit with one while fleeing from the police. And Slick Dimitry gets most of his head blown clean off.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy: Akan's powers surge up in the final battle, causing himself to levitate out of Henry's reach. However, some of the other dead cyborgs' bodies are also levitating with him, giving Henry some convenient footholds to jump up and reach Akan.
  • Bring It: Jimmy gives one to Akan when he finds his hideout.
    Jimmy: Fuck. You. Akan. Don't change your channel. We're coming right over!
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Akan's cyborg army and probably Henry himself, before he breaks his programming.
  • Came Back Strong: Henry was absolutely mangled before the movie by whatever killed him. He's an ass-kicking cyborg super-soldier now.
  • The Cameo: Tim Roth as Henry's father.
  • The Chase: The first act ends on one big chase/free-run scene after Slick Dmitiry, who's got the pump needed for Henry to keep alive.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • During one of his speeches Akan mentions that he will be using Henry's memories of Estelle (first 10 minutes of the movie) to motivate his cyborg soldiers. Later in the film we find out the very same thing has been done to Henry himself, and his memories of Estelle are a ruse.
    • Estelle has Henry test his new arm by crushing an apple into juice just by making a fist. He later does the same thing to the testicles of an attempted rapist.
  • Cold Sniper: Ghillie Jimmy, sort of. His personality is pretty stoic and ruthless - ordering Henry (fruitlessly) to 'not compromise his mission' when the pair comes across a trio of crooked cops trying to rape a woman - but he helps out Henry regardless and even performs a pretty badass Heroic Sacrifice when his hideout is compromised.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Henry often uses improvised weapons, such as tossing glass into his enemy's eyes or beating down corrupt cops with nothing but a steel pipe. He later improvises a garrote out of his robotic eyeball!
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: In theory, Akan's army of cyborgs are each just as strong and skilled as Henry himself. Yet, he alone is able to take on the whole army and wipe them out with punches, kicks, and shotguns to the face, whereas Henry is dropped from a helicopter hundreds of feet in the air and takes a lot of punishment throughout the movie. Earlier, one Cyborg from this batch managed to injure and wound Henry for four minutes. It is, however, heavily implied Henry is a Super Prototype.
  • Cool Sidecar: Hippie Jimmy owns an Army-Surplus Motorcycle complete with a sidecar equipped with a gatling gun.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: When Estelle is demanding to know how Henry could kill her husband, Henry reaches over and uses his finger to write "EZ" into a smear of blood on the helicopter wall.
  • Covers Always Lie: The poster shows Henry flying through the sky, dual-fisting M1911s, as attack helicopters in the distance strike at Akan's skyscraper. M1911s don't show up, and the only helicopters that show up are transport ones.
  • Cyborg: Henry has two mechanical limbs, two cybernetic eyes, a nuclear battery under his heart, and a whole bunch of other goodies throughout his body
  • Dare to Be Badass: Henry's father encourages Henry to stop letting the bullies punch him in the face and start making them bleed.
    Henry's father (in flashback): You gonna lay there, swallow that blood in your mouth? Or are you gonna stand up, spit it out, and go spill theirs?
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: A mook in the climax gets shoved into the intake fan of an air conditioner.
  • Death by Cameo:
    • Director Ilya Naishuller played one of Estelle's colleagues, Timothy, who gets his gut and throat slashed. Later, he's the merc Hippy Jimmy simultaneously tortures for info and gets high on ganja.
    • Darya Charusha, the film's composer (and the director's wife), is also Katya the Dominatrix, who ends up getting run over by Akan's mercenaries.
  • Death by Looking Up: Akan's Dragon Yuri is finally dealt with by Colonel Jimmy when the latter detonates the explosives in Jimmy's laboratory and apartment above his head, causing the roof to collapse and crush him and his mercs. Fittingly, he even has a split second to look up at the moment of the explosion.
  • Decapitation Presentation: At the end of the movie, after Henry has cut Akan's head in half, he presents Estelle the top half of his head... and then throws it at her.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: The film is quite notable for deconstructing many of the conventions of a first-person shooter video game, and each one is given a reason for working in this film:
    • The protagonist can perform inhuman feats of strength and skill while never stopping to catch his breath? He's a cyborg, with emphasis on that he's "more machine than man" at this point.
    • He's a Heroic Mime? His voice protocol wasn't activated before everything went to hell, leaving him mute for the duration of the story (and probably beyond).
    • He has Identity Amnesia? Akan installed a memory blocker as part of his programming.
    • The Mission Control NPC (in this case, Jimmy) keeps coming back to provide guidance and assistance from near-fatal circumstances? He's actually a collective group of Expendable Clones all being controlled by the same man. Each clone also has a different personality and demeanour, with different personalities that Jimmy can use to experience things he no longer can. Not only that, but he can role-play pretty much any character he wants to, much like how a player will role-play as someone different throughout each run through of their games.
    • The enemies keep showing up to attack the protagonist? He has a tracking device implanted in his cybernetic arm.
    • They keep showing up even after that problem is dealt with? Akan is viewing everything Henry does and knows exactly where he is.
    • The love interest is continually a Damsel in Distress, being kidnapped and forcing the protagonist to chase after her? She's in on the project, using his conditioned affection for her to motivate his actions.
    • Said Love Interest being the driving point of the action? Her and the villain plan on using Henry's memories of "their wife" being kidnapped to fight their way through anything and everyone unquestioningly - like, say, performing terrorist attacks or world domination because they think their wife will be saved if they kill enough people.
    • The rooftop battle has Benevolent Architecture? Akan outright wants Henry to fight his clones, not only so Henry dies at the superior models, but also to test his own clones out too.
    • Lastly, the main character has been following Akan's script the whole time. Essentially, many of his decisions throughout the movie have been completely out of his hands and he is merely a pawn to be used by others to fulfil their desires. His killing of Akan and Estelle is Henry's act of truly taking control of his own life.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Akan's "Take That!" Kiss might be an indication, particularly given that the film takes place in Russia, where homosexuality is much more taboo.
  • Determinator: Henry is "Hardcore" for a reason.
  • Dirty Cop: How Jimmy's first death happens - they're stopped by cops. Jimmy tries to bribe them, but they yank out a gun instead, and manage to cap him while he's driving away. It turns out Akan's got the Moscow cops searching for Henry, which leads to our first chase scene. Later, at Jimmy's hideout, which is an abandoned building, where they're attempting to rape a woman. Henry kills them all.
  • Disney Villain Death: The movie ends with Estelle falling to her death from the helicopter when Henry slammed the door on her fingers.
  • The Dragon: Akan's chief enforcer is a guy named Yuri.
  • Dramatic Spine Injury: The Reveal of why paraplegic Jimmy is hellbent on helping Henry defeat Akan. Jimmy was once commissioned by Akan to create clone soldiers. When the soldiers proved unreliable, Akan responded by telekinetically breaking Jimmy's spine, confining him to a wheelchair permanently.
  • Droste Image: At one point, the feed from Henry's eyes is displayed on a monitor while Henry looks at the monitor, creating an infinite regression.
  • Due to the Dead: When the Real Jimmy dies from having a piece of shrapnel getting lodged onto his jugular, Henry lays him to rest by closing his eyelids.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Henry kills one of the upgraded cyborgs then installs its power system into himself during the climax. There's also the double shot of adrenaline he takes when fighting the cyborg army.
  • Epic Fail: Henry is stuck out in a field and tries to ride a nearby horse, to dramatic Western music. It immediately bucks him off as soon as he finally gets on top of the thing.
  • Escapist Character: In-universe, Jimmy. All his clones are tailor-made to indulge in vices and stunts he'd never be able or willing to do in his original body... that is, a quadriplegic scientist.
  • Escort Mission: Henry and Jimmy's series of clones must guide Jimmy's crippled body from his lab to the Akan facility, as he is totally defenseless while commandeering them.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Estelle and Akan love each other very much, Akan constantly saying that Estelle is gorgeous and brilliant, and Estelle is horrified and completely heartbroken when Henry presents the top half of Akan's head to her.
  • Evil All Along: Estelle was secretly Akan's lover and helped him in setting the plot in motion to test their super soldier program.
  • Executive Suite Fight: Akan H.Q., an enormous gleaming skyscraper.
  • Expanded Universe: Fittingly for a movie modeled after first-person action games, Jimmy is a member of the Payday Gang, which indirectly connects it to Point Break, John Wick, and Hotline Miami. You can even see his mask sitting in the drawer in the brothel!
  • Expendable Clone: Jimmy has a lot of clones of himself and never shows any concern as they die one by one, as they are mindless bodies for him to project onto. He even sends several on suicide missions.
  • Eye Scream:
    • After the scene where Akan beats him with a bat, Henry's right-side view wobbles a lot, with Jimmy noting his eyestalk has gone loose.
    • Later, Henry rips out his own eye to use the robotic eyestalk to garotte Akan.
  • Faceless Mooks: The standard soldiers used by Akan and led by Yuri.
  • Fake Memories: After being rebuilt as a cyborg Super-Soldier, Henry is given fake memories to give him a motive for pursuing Akan and so they could study the feedback from his responses. In fact, it's implied that Henry's false memories of "his wife" Estelle, like having passionate sex with her, are actually Akan's.
  • Fanservice: Lots of it, from the flashbacks of Henry having sex with Estelle, to the strip club and the dominatrices.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Akan takes a lot of joy in being an evil dick to everyone and everything, almost to creepily uncomfortable levels.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Seeing everything from Henry's POV leaves little room to see what he looks like other than a white guy. Heck, it doesn't help that there were, apparently, multiple dudes that played Henry throughout the film. That said though, subverted in the end, when we see his face in a mirror before his Heroic Second Wind during the climax.
  • Fold-Spindle Mutilation: When slamming the head of one of the cyborg horde against the metal scaffolding it's reaching through doesn't put it down, Henry yanks his opponent's torso so hard through a gap in the scaffolding that its back and neck break.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Hobo Jimmy took out a tracking device that Akan implanted inside Henry's left wrist. Why did Estelle - Henry's "wife" - give him a left cyborg arm with a tracking device?
    • While escaping the lab, we (or Henry, in this movie's context) see Estelle's failed works - frozen dead human bodies. Henry (or the audiences) would wonder why did she keep all these failed cyborgs? In fact, where did these bodies come from? The fact all the dead bodies seem to be missing their left leg is likewise important. They were to be uploaded with Henry's memories. Thus their first memory would be "their wife" screwing on a new leg and saying she loves them.
    • It's easy to miss since we don't get a clear look at Henry's first set of clothing but through the dirt and grime it is clearly a white jump suit. Turns out this is standard clothing for the rest of Akan's cyborg army.
    • The coke-addicted pervert Jimmy in the brothel collapses just before the painfully shy nerd Jimmy in the tacky vest enters the room. He only gets back up after Nerd Jimmy leaves.
    • The video Jimmy shows Henry of Jimmy's first attempt at Akan's cyborg soldiers, he mentions the almost-fully lobotomized cyborgs might have a possible issue with "emotional motivation." An issue Akan has been using Henry's recorded experiences of "rescuing his wife" to address.
    • After Jimmy removes Henry's memory block, he warns him that the only memories he can trust are the ones hidden behind the blocker. Sure enough, it's soon revealed that everything about Estelle being Henry's wife is a lie.
    • Akan mentions that he's got Estelle dolled up and held captive in a van. She is, but she's been wearing the same red-on-black palette that Akan uses for most of the movie.
  • Final Battle: With Akan and his army of cyborgs on the rooftop of Akan's headquarters.
  • Fingore:
    • Even though it's not shown, Estelle's fingers get chopped off as Henry closes the helicopter door on her.
    • We also get a nice shot of Henry tearing Akan's hand in half lengthwise.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: A poster for PAYDAY 2, which did a crossover with the film, can be seen for a second on the wall of the apartment Henry breaks into when looking for Dmitri. In the same apartment, there are also posters for Left 4 Dead, Superhot, Half-Life, Kill List, and It Follows, among others.
    • At the beginning of the movie, we can briefly see Henry's father has a snake tattoo on his arm. Henry has similar tattoos.
  • Fun with Subtitles: Jimmy gets in an argument with two women, all speaking in Russian. As the argument gets more and more heated, the subtitles start layering on top of one another until the entire conversation is unreadable.
  • Gag Penis: Jimmy, evidently, as one of the hookers walks out of his room complaining that he's "destroyer"-sized.
  • Gatling Good: First-person gatling gun through an entire van!
  • Genius Cripple: The real Jimmy - a quadriplegic scientist who was responsible for the first batch of cyborg super-soldiers, like Henry, and moved to Russia specifically because other countries frowned on experimenting with dead people. Even after getting his spine snapped by Akan, he's managed to make force-grown clones that are remote controllable as well as a hi-tech lab.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: As Jimmy is flipping out over Henry seemingly being The Mole for Akan after discovering that everything Henry sees is being broadcast to Akan and hands him a gun, Henry slaps him, puts down the gun, and grabs him by the shoulders to nonverbally communicate to Jimmy that he was duped as well.
  • Giant Mook: The first cyborg Henry has to fight is also one of the larger ones.
  • Giving Them the Strip: Henry snags Slick Dimitry on the escalator, but trips over a fallen young woman and only manages to keep hold of Dimitry's raincoat.
  • Glass Cannon: Akan. His telekinetic powers certainly make him a dangerous threat, but his body is that of a regular human without any extra durability. Naturally, the moment Henry finally bypasses his defense and gets his hands on him, he rips his hand in half, and eventually his head as well.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: When Akan invades the brothel, he brags to Henry how he has Estelle all "dolled up." And when we do see her, her hair is down and she's wearing a black dress that shows off her figure. Subverted, however, as Estelle was working with Akan and no force was necessary for her to get into a dress.
  • Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: Henry passes to men taking a dip in a lake and snags their clothes, which immediately gets them and a few local toughs on his case.
  • Gorn: By the truckload. Notable scenes include Henry ripping his own chest open to replace his battery, Slick Dmitri getting his head blown off. and Henry cutting Akan's head in half with his very own eye stalk. Yes, you read that last one right.
  • Groin Attack: Henry squeezes the groin of an attempted rapist until it pops.
  • Guns Akimbo: Henry, during the brothel shootout.
  • Gun Porn: Oh yeah. Pistols, submachine guns, assault rifles, gatling guns, grenade launchers, sniper rifles - It'd be easier to list what guns don't show up in this movie!
  • Hat Damage: Colonel Jimmy's beret gets shot off during his and Henry's running battle in the stairwell.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Jimmy feels the need to tell Henry that the fact that he's a fan of musicals doesn't mean he's gay. This is after the fact Jimmy implied he often holds orgies with his clones (though how that would be possible isn't clear). He also mocked a mook earlier in the film for having "the gayest jacket."
  • Helicopter Blender: After Henry decapitates the top half of Akan's head. Henry proceeds to kick his corpse onto the nearby helicopter that Akan was supposed to escape in.
  • Heroic Bystander: Underplayed, but a lot of Moscow citizens Henry passes by try to help him, even when they see him covered in blood.
  • Heroic Mime: Henry doesn't appear to speak besides a few grunts and heavy breathing, justified in that his speech module hadn't been installed yet. This gradually gets subverted as the film goes on, as Henry gradually begins to show a wittier, more flippant side to him. When Estelle, through her bereaved screaming, asks him how he could've killed Akan so easily, Henry writes the letters EZ in Akan's own blood. His face reveal near the end of the movie, during his Darkest Hour, is meant to cement the fact that Henry isn't a living vehicle for the audience to use as their POV through the adventure—in the end, he's just a man.
    Jimmy: Shit. Well, at least we know you're not deaf.
  • Heroic Second Wind: During the climax, after Akan beats Henry half to death and he and Estelle are about to escape, Henry remembers a Rousing Speech his father gave him as a child. He then gets back up and kills Akan.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: Henry himself, and an entire other army Akan is building.
  • Hookers and Blow: One of Jimmy's clones is obsessed with both of these and is found at a whorehouse.
  • Humans Are Psychic in the Future: The film is set in the future, and Akan is telekinetic for an unexplained reason.
  • Human Shield: One of Slick Dimitry's henchmen is used as this, while having his nose pinched by pliers no less. Ouch.
  • I Am Very British: Jimmy's accent is already British, but when he's masquerading as a WW2 officer, he affects a very posh, old-fashioned accent and keeps up a nonstop patter of dry, Stiff Upper Lip quips and witticisms amidst the gunfire.
  • I Call It "Vera": Jimmy has named a lot of his weapons, including all of those he doesn't let Henry touch.
    • "Imogene" a PPSh-41 SMG.
    • "Big Sally" a PKM.
    • "Big Ben" a RPG-26.
  • I Have a Family: When Akan and his men invade the brothel Henry is hiding in and start killing everyone, one man begs for his life and says he has a family. Akan just looks at the hooker he was sleeping with and asks, "Is that your wife?" before killing him.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: In a story focused on cybernetics, Akan is some kind of telekinetic mutant without so much as a hint as to why.
    • This is covered in the tie-in comic Hardcore Akan, a prequel explaining Akan’s backstory. See All There in the Manual above.
  • Insert Grenade Here: Henry takes out a mook on top of a van's open sunroof. Jimmy gives Henry a grenade which he uses in the now vacant sunroof.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Henry refusing to help Estella back into the helicopter at the end of the film echoes the scene from the opening where Henry nearly fell out of the airship lab before Estella pulled him back in.
    • One of the dirty would-be rapist cops that Henry kills tells the woman he's about to assault that the gag reflex is psychological; cue Henry killing him by shoving his baton down his throat.
  • It's All About Me: Estelle's Villainous Breakdown amounts to her furiously asking Henry, a man she and Akan forcefully augmented, brainwashed and manipulated, "How could you?!" when he kills Akan. Henry doesn't put up with it for a second.
  • It's Personal: The ultimate regret of Henry's father is that he killed all the wrong people because he didn't have it in him to confront those who had directly wronged him, and he encourages his son not to make the same mistake.
  • The Joys of Torturing Mooks: In addition to having super strength and being durable as hell, Henry has also seemingly gained a variety of ways to murder people. This includes but is not limited to beating, shooting, stabbing, fragging, slicing, trapping and torturing tons and tons of Mooks. Even Akan and Estelle are not safe from him, as he decapitates the former with his eye stalk and the latter he chops off her fingers as she is kicked out of the helicopter.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In the brief instances that we see him, Henry's father appears to be this. He outright calls his own son "a pussy" after getting his ass handed to him by a bunch of bullies, but then it turns out that he was just quoting his own, abusive father and how he vowed to never demean Henry. He then pumps him up with a Rousing Speech to kick their asses. This speech comes in handy in the climax because when Henry remembers it, it gives him a boost in morale to stop Akan and Estelle.
  • Karmic Death: One of the dirty cops tells the woman he's about to rape that "the gag reflex is psychological, it's all in your mind." Henry kills him by jackhammering a pipe down his throat after crushing his testicles.
  • Katanas Are Just Better:
    • One of the dominatrixes uses this when the strip club is being attacked by Akan's forces.
    • Later on, Henry uses the same one against a tank. Henry wins.
  • Large Ham:
    • Many of Jimmy's clones, especially the coked-out one in the brothel. Sharlto Copley is clearly having an absolute blast playing them all.
    • Akan as well, who acts like every OTT video game villain ever, fitting perfectly into a film which itself basically is a live-action video game.
  • Le Parkour: All over the place, with the chase after Slick Dimitry being the prime example.
  • Logical Weakness: On top of being a Long-Range Fighter, Akan's telekinesis appears to rely to some degree on his physical gestures, evidenced by how often he makes them while displaying his powers. Henry is able to negate his enemy's greatest power by rapidly closing the distance and immobilizing Akan's arms (and inflicting some graphic Fingore on one of them to boot).
  • Long-Range Fighter: Akan's telekinetic powers make him a highly dangerous ranged opponent, being able to throw enemies and heavy objects around, but his regular human body makes him vulnerable in close quarters. Henry exploits this by grabbing and keeping hold of Akan's arm once he has the chance to get near enough, thus impeding him from pushing Henry away with his psychic energy and giving Henry the chance to finish him.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Akan and Henry have their final confrontation in mid-air, above a helicopter that's taking off. Henry messily decapitates Akan. Akan's head avoids the spinning rotor blades. Akan's body does not.
  • Machete Mayhem: Punk-Jimmy uses these during the attack on his hideout.
  • Made of Iron: Henry. While it is shown that a big part of his body is filled with hardware designed to make him a walking tank, the punishment he endures through beatings, falls and other impacts and the comparatively low amount of lasting damage he takes from those really show it. Not to mention the fact that at one point he's seen snapping his own arm back into place.
  • Martial Pacifist: Jimmy in his Hippie body would rather smoke pot and talk things out, but will still kneecap a mook to get information.
  • Mind over Matter: Akan has telekinetic powers. With no explanation, no less.
  • The Mole: Jimmy assumes Henry is this after it's revealed that he's been unknowingly broadcasting a live feed of his hideout to Akan. However, after Henry (through a series of gestures) clears up things up with him. Jimmy changes his tune and actively taunts Akan to come take him down.
  • Mood Whiplash: The trailer goes from a tense and distressing situation to a montage of mayhem set to "Don't Stop Me Now."
  • Moral Myopia: Estelle is visibly horrified at the death of her husband but she certainly didn't bat an eye to all of the brutal experiments and atrocities committed to create a super soldier army to take over the world.
  • More Dakka: The highway chase shows an excellent display of dakka, courtesy of the Gatling Gun Henry uses.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Moscow is has lots of people who aren't afraid to pick a fight with Henry and mercenaries. Not surprising considering how the director's from Moscow, Russia.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: When Henry tries to ride a nearby horse, the music swells dramatically... and promptly cuts out when the horse immediately bucks him off.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome:
    • Henry attempts to ride a horse with triumphant music playing in the background... only to eat shit as the horse bucks him off.
    • During the assault in Akan's HQ, the least-combat capable Jimmy, the awkward shy one in the vest, takes a fire axe and prepares for the Last Stand... only to be unceremoniously gunned down by the mooks.
    • During the raid on Jimmy's complex, Colonel Jimmy hands Henry a giant PKM. They're ambushed before they can really use it, but Henry and Jimmy opt to drop the laboratory on top of the mercenaries instead, so all is forgiven.
  • Nice Guy: The geeky, awkward Jimmy in the vest is by far the nicest, soft spoken and friendliest form of him.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When Henry and Jimmy assault Akan's headquarters, they find the lobby packed with the fresh corpses of all of the mercenaries Henry had killed throughout the film. Jimmy points out that they will soon be used as raw material for Akan's cyborg army.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Akan and Estelle could have survived and succeed in their plans if they just killed Henry when they had a chance.
  • Nipple and Dimed: There's a scene in a brothel with most of the girls either topless or nude, and an extended shot of Jimmy's reverse-gangbang partners with their boobs just in view while he works on Henry's battery.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Henry to Akan's cyborgs and Akan himself.
  • No-Sell: Henry attempts to jump kick the first cyborg he fights only for it to barely hurt the guy.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: At the very end of the movie, Estelle tries to invoke the feelings Henry had for her to get him to spare her life. This is after The Reveal that she was Akan's wife all along, was in on his plans, and played Henry like a fiddle using those very feelings. Also after she has already tried shooting Henry. You can guess how that turns out for her. She tells Henry to listen to his heart... Henry's heart tells him to sever her fingers with a helicopter door, letting her fall to her death.
  • Off with His Head!: How Henry kills Akan. With Henry's own eye stalk.
  • Oh, Crap!: Akan's smug demeanour vanishes when Henry gets his Heroic Second Wind and closes the distance to deal with him once and for all. Before Henry slices the top half of his head, the look on Akan's face is one of pure fear.
  • One-Man Army: Henry is the trope in spades as he takes down wave after wave of Akan's goons. Then this gets cranked up to eleven in the climax where he literally takes on Akan and Estelle's army of cyborgs and kicks all of their asses (save for the last two, which were disposed of in anger by Akan.)
  • Technical Pacifist: Hippie Jimmy, as mentioned before. He's perfectly willing to horribly injure a mook for information and even kill when necessary, but clearly doesn't want to. Perhaps most ironically, he's the one that gives Henry access to a gatling gun during the car chase.
  • The Oner: The action scenes are each edited to look like one continuous take, although the in-between scenes are edited normally. Same goes for Jimmy's song and dance routine where he switches into and out of each of his clones.
  • Outside-Genre Foe: Akan's psychic powers are rather out of place in a film about cyborgs.
  • Parents as People: Henry has a recurring flashback to his father, the most important one being where his father vows to not repeat the abusive actions of his own father and gives Henry a Rousing Speech, one helps him stand up and go after Akan one final time.
  • Pass the Popcorn: When Henry manages to end his chase after Slick Dimitry and the two of them are preparing for a fight, there's a crowd of onlookers forming a makeshift ring around them.
  • People Puppets: Heroic example with Jimmy as all of his clones are his drones that he uses to help out Henry.
  • Pet the Dog: After accidentally injuring a woman while chasing Slick Dmitri, Henry checks to make sure she’s okay before continuing the chase.
  • P.O.V. Cam: The entire movie is shot from Henry's perspective.
  • The Power of Love: Toyed with - Henry's driving mission is to retrieve his beloved wife from Akan. Later, the third generation of super-soldiers, made with the same materials and process as Henry, are fed Henry's memory of waking up, told he has a wife who loves him, who is promptly taken from him - and will be subsequently manipulated into doing whatever it takes to get their "wife" back, be it marching on Paris or destroying the White House. As Akan puts it, "Pussy is a great motivator."
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Henry's father gives him one during a flashback to his childhood, encouraging him to fight back against those who deserve it.
    Henry's father: You gonna lay there, swallow that blood in your mouth? Or are you gonna stand up, spit it out, and go spill theirs?
  • Precision F-Strike: When Henry and Colonel Jimmy arrive at Akan's HQ and attempt to draw out his soldiers. The polite, stiff-upper-lip, almost fatherly Colonel suddenly drops this line.
    Colonel Jimmy: AKAN IS A CUNT!
  • Psychic Nosebleed: When Akan strains himself using his telekinesis, blood comes out of his mouth. He notes it casually in his introductory scene. In the climax, when he's using it extensively, blood pours out of his mouth, though he never seems to mind.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Akan gives this impression at times, like when comparing the size of his penis to a baseball bat, complete with gestures and sound effects.
  • The Quincy Punk: One of the Jimmys encountered by Henry is a violent, harshly-speaking punk who has a mohawk and is dressed in leather.
  • Radiation-Induced Superpowers: Akan's powers are apparently the result of the Chernobyl disaster, though they might actually be caused by experimental gene therapy to cure the cancer and other radiation related ailments he contracted.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: When Henry and Jimmy come upon a group of cops trying to rape a woman in the basement level of Jimmy's base, Jimmy tells Henry to sneak past them to avoid calling attention to themselves, to which Henry immediately responds by enthusiastically killing the cops and freeing the woman.
  • R-Rated Opening: The film's opening has Henry's father calling him a pussy and then credits showing a violent montage of Henry's victims set to The Stranglers' "Let Me Down Easy."
  • Remote Body: Jimmy's real body is located in his remote hidden base for most of the film. He only meets Henry in person in the final act.
  • Red Right Hand: Akan has white hair and red irises.
  • Revenge: Jimmy's motivation for going after Akan.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: They took his wife. And even if she isn't his wife, he has one billion dollars' worth of weaponized augmentations on him, so as long as they keep coming, he will never stop killing.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: The Final Battle with Akan and his cyborg army takes place on the heliport of Akan's building.
  • Rule of Cool: MADE of it. DRENCHED in it.
  • Running Gag: Jimmy dies horribly and a duplicate is encountered within 10 minutes.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The whole story is symbolic of the relationship between player and player character. From the Heroic Mime Featureless Protagonist to the Unbroken First-Person Perspective. It even gets surprisingly meta later on, as Henry discovers that his whole journey has all been going according to Akan and Estelle's plans—essentially, he had always been trapped under their control without any chance to break free and make any decisions for himself. His eventual killing of both Akan and Estelle is symbolic of his breaking out of their control and becoming his own character. Not coincidentally, right before he takes them out, we see his face for the first and only time - this is the point at which he stops being a dispenser for action scenes and starts being a person.
  • Safety in Muggles: Defied. Every time Akan's forces attack Henry when there's innocent bystanders around, they just kill the bystanders. Bonus points to the guy with the flamethrower that torches an entire bus trying to get Henry.
  • Self-Deprecation: The various incarnations of Jimmy have a habit of referring to his real body as "the cripple."
  • Sequel Hook: Though the lyrics in the ending theme imply that Henry is done fighting, during the credits scene Jimmy leaves Henry a posthumous message telling him that he has one more thing for him to do.
  • Shackle Seat Trap: Punk Jimmy coaxes Henry into one when he realizes Henry's eyes are broadcasting input somewhere. The shackles don't hold Henry for long.
  • Shout-Out: Many.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Henry delivers a very effective one when Estelle furiously asks him how he could kill Akan.
    Henry: (smearing the letters on the wall in blood) EZ
  • Silent Snarker: Henry, a few times:
    • When Jimmy asks how Henry's marriage is going, Henry makes an "iffy" hand motion.
    • When Estelle asks Henry how he could do this to her, he slaps some blood on a nearby wall and writes "EZ."
  • Sinister Surveillance: It's revealed near the climax that Akan has been monitoring Henry's actions through his robotic eyes the whole time.
  • The Speechless: Henry can't speak because his voice wasn't set up before he started getting chased. He can occasionally groan in pain.
  • Squishy Wizard: Akan's telekinesis makes him formidable, but it's made clear that it's taxing for him, and physically he's a man of fairly average build. When Henry closes the distance in the climax, it gets messy.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: Henry goes on one when infiltrating Slick Dmitry's hideout. The stealth aspect of it doesn't last long.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: As expected of a British officer, the Jimmy masquerading as a WW2 officer has this in spades, even when he's aware he's slowly dying.
  • Stock Scream: Used a lot throughout the film, if you got a good hear and know what these screams are you can identify a lot of them. Here's a example: A mook blown up by the grenade in the lab battle scene lets a Wilhelm scream loose.
  • The Stoner:
    • Henry crashes through the window of a stoner's apartment, heavily armed. The place is hotboxed with smoke, and the first thing the guy does in response is offer Henry a huge blunt.
    • Hippy Jimmy and his girl.
  • Stop Hitting Yourself: Henry plows through Akan's cyborg army, but proves to have a tough time against Akan, who uses his psychic powers to make Henry punch himself.
  • Storming the Castle: During the climax, Henry, Jimmy and Jimmy's 2 remaining clones storm Akan's HQ.
  • Super-Soldier: Henry is one. And he fights many others.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Toward the end, the nerdy, awkward Jimmy in a vest attempts to "buy time," and is immediately gunned down, while the WW2 Jimmy and the original Jimmy are mortally wounded by shrapnel from some of the explosions on the way.
  • Take Over the World: Akan's endgame, aided by the cyborg army.
  • "Take That!" Kiss: Akan gives one to Henry after his apparent victory and the reveal of Estelle's true nature.
  • Tank Goodness: Sometime after the highway chase, Henry is pursued by Akan's forces in the woods. One of them being a frickin' tank.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: In the Final Battle, as Henry injects adrenaline into himself, he then fights off Akan's army of cyborgs to the tune of Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now."
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Jimmy keeps showing up and getting killed, only for a different version to show up again shortly after. This is because they're all remote-controlled clones of the original.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Estelle, at the end, asks Henry to 'listen to his heart' and save her after having tried to kill him for killing Akan and having been revealed as a really evil person. What did she think he was going to do? He closes the airplane door on her fingers and lets her fall to her Disney Villain Death.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Henry's memory of his father's "you little pussy" speech might have had more weight throughout the movie if the trailer hadn't already revealed the intent of his words by finishing it.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Everyday life in Moscow looks like it does in the 2010, and the cyborg and avatar technologies are new.
  • Unbroken First-Person Perspective: A rare cinematic example - the whole film is from Henry's POV.
  • Unfazed Everyman: When Henry climbs into the window of a stoner and his girlfriend while pointing his gun at him, the stoner simply offers him a hit of his bong. His girlfriend is too stoned to even notice Henry.
  • The Unfought: Yuri. Henry never gets to have a proper rematch with him as Jimmy opts to crush him with the ceiling of his hideout.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Akan and Estelle, as it turns out.
  • The Unseen: Henry himself; given that the movie is entirely filmed from his first person perspective the most we ever see of his body are his arms and occasionally his legs. Gets averted at the climax when Akan kicks him over onto his side, allowing us to get a look at his face in bloodied up piece of broken glass. Heroic Resolve then ensues.
  • Unwitting Pawn: For most of the movie, Henry's rampage mainly serves to train Akan's cyborg army and lead him to Jimmy's hideout. That is, until Henry decides to become his own man.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When Henry gets his Heroic Second Wind, charges Akan and manages to not only negate his telekinetic ability, but also start pummelling him to death, Estelle loses her cool and starts screaming panicked orders at Henry, culminating with her screaming rant on the helicopter. Akan, for his part, doesn't have time for a breakdown.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Akan's army of cyborgs have better equipment than Henry and are further bolstered by data streams containing his combat experience. Unfortunately for them, they are utterly unprepared for an upgraded Henry who is faster and stronger than the one they took all their manoeuvres from.
  • Villains Want Mercy: After getting shot and holding for dear life on the side of a helicopter, Estelle begs Henry to save her. Big mistake.
  • Villain Respect: Akan has a degree of respect for Henry, at least in comparison to what he thinks of Jimmy.
    Akan: You'll go far, Henry, unlike this piece of shit!
  • Wall of Weapons: Jimmy has an awesome collection of them in his hideout and lets Henry take whatever he wants except for the PPSh-41, which only he wields.
  • We Have to Get the Bullet Out!: Averted. The real Jimmy gets a piece of shrapnel in his jugular vein. Henry reaches to remove it, but Colonel!Jimmy informs him that doing so will just cause Jimmy to bleed to death in seconds rather than minutes.
  • Wham Shot: Henry's reflection near the end, the only time we see his face. It's this that reminds us we're watching a person, not just a camera with limbs. Immediately after this, he gets back up and wastes Akan and his men.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • One of the brothel dominatrices who argues with Jimmy after the raid on the brothel - and shortly thereafter assists Henry and Jimmy in chasing the convoy - is hit by a van (along with Henry) - the bike completely disappears and there's no sign of wreckage. She doesn't show up with the other dominatrix after Henry loses the convoy.
    • As Akan's raid on Jimmy's complex starts, the dapper, dancing Jimmy in a suit isn't seen.
    • "Big Sally", the PKM WW2 Jimmy hands Henry, is not used at all during the raid on Jimmy's complex. In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, Henry places it on the elevator, but isn't able to use it when they're ambushed at the end.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?:
    • After unloading half a clip into one of the corrupt cops who pulled him and Jimmy over, Henry points his gun at the second cop, slumped against a wall, and spares him, apparently recognizing that he's no longer a threat.
    • Watching Henry fight and kill all the other cyborg soldiers that have his memories uploaded into them. They're only doing it because they think it will help them save who they believe is their wife, and they seem to have the bits where they discover the truth about her removed from their memories. If anything, they're all just innocent victims of Akan's plan, but Henry still has to kill them.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Estelle gives a very shoddy one to Henry as he shows her actual husband's decapitated head to her. Maybe she missed all the misery Akan put him through, but she screams "How could you!?" at him for cutting off Akan's head with Henry's own eyestalk.
  • What You Are in the Dark: While heading to Jimmy's Lab, Henry spots a trio of cops preparing to rape an innocent woman. As far as Henry can tell, they're not Akan's thugs, and Sniper Jimmy instructs Henry to ignore them to avoid calling attention to themselves. Henry doesn't hesitate to kill the three corrupt cops with enthusiasm and save the woman.
  • World of Ham: With Henry being ironically the only who never gets to ham up at some point.
  • Worst Aid: Narrowly averted when Henry goes to remove a piece of shrapnel from Wheelchair Jimmy's neck only for WW2 Jimmy to stop him, saying it'd only make the bleeding worse.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Henry's last enemy is female. It's Estelle.
    • Akan's forces shoot up half the brothel. This infuriates two dominatrices, who later team up with Jimmy and Henry. One is run over and apparently dies, the other gets a shard of flak to her neck. Suffice to say, the women in this film don't make out much better than the men.
  • You Have Failed Me: As it turns out, Jimmy originally worked for Akan, and made the first batch of super-soldier prototypes, built from dead people, cybernetics, and lobotomized... to the point of braindeath. Akan rewarded him by snapping his spine.

"This is fucking war, baby!"



Henry attempts to confront Yuri in a helicopter.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / BarelyMissedCushion

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