This movie is an origins story for HowToBasicWhatever happens in the movie will be traumatic for him so that every time he tries to do normal things, he has flashbacks and all his eggy rampages are just him going through PTSD.
Jimmy and Akan are both metaphors for the gaming industry.Jimmy and Akan both seem to represent two different sides of gaming. Jimmy, with his remote-controlled clones, is able to live through multiple interesting lives, being a badass stoner, an officer of the law, a soldier from another age, a showman, and possibly more. Meanwhile, Akan is mass-producing mindless soldiers who just follow whatever command is given to them. Jimmy could be argued to represent escapism and role-playing in gaming, while Akan would represent AAA developers replicating the same trite, basic formulas for games over and over without any originality.
- Alternatively they're metaphors for different types of player. Given the same types of technology - the same 'game' - Jimmy opts to explore everything, see everything, and experience everything, and makes multiple characters to enable him to play the same game in different ways. He's the typical roleplayer, interested in the story and plot. Compare this to Akan, who wants to simply amass as much power as he can, level up as high as possible, and beat the game as quickly and completely as possible with no regard for anything else and no particular reason for wanting to do it. He even has powers and abilities that make no sense based on what we know about his character. This makes Akan a classic Munchkin. Further, this means that Henry represents The Real Man - very good at fighting, somewhat light on plot elements, and tends to solve a lot of problems through gratuitous over-the-top violence, but does have a grounding in the 'game' and is capable of working well with others.
Henry is the protagonist of Biting Elbow's "The Stampede" & "Bad Motherfucker"Before Henry became a cyborg he was sent on a mission to obtain a teleportation device, but ultimately failed. After these events he was either hunted down by his superiors or by the remaining mooks and somehow got into an accident that got him absolutely mangled and dead. This would explain how Henry is a capable fighter despite being an Amnesiac Cyborg.
- Since the protagonist of those videos doesn't appear to have the same tattoo that Henry has on his right hand, there's another possibility: Henry is the hooded guy that get's offed next to the videos' protagonist, being the first person who see ending up dead in "Bad Motherfucker."
- Alternatively, Yuri was the protagonist from The Stampede and Bad Motherfucker. It would make sense for him to have backstory doing missions for Akan that could have involved stealing advanced technology from rival companies. Plus, they're even played by the same actor!
The Sequel Hook involves resurrecting Jimmy.At the end of the movie Jimmy calls Henry posthumously asking for one more thing. That 'one thing' is going to be resurrecting him in a new body by using the same memory-encoding techniques that Akan was using to motivate his army. How would Jimmy know what those techniques are? The crossover holds the key - The Payday Gang stole it for him during the events of Boiling Point. With that information he might be able to back up enough of his memories and personality to make a new clone even after the death of the original. He just needs someone - Henry - to physically do it for him.
- Alternately, Jimmy's real body has been in a People Jar somewhere else this whole time, having gradually succumbed to its original injuries to the point where even a life-support wheelchair couldn't sustain it. The "cripple" Jimmy is another clone: one of Jimmy's first, that he'd originally created with a broken spine as a test-subject for attempts to repair his spinal damage via advanced surgery. When he realized his original body's decline was irreversible and he wouldn't be able to keep body-swapping much longer, Jimmy used the surgical-practice clone as a decoy for his planned liaison with Akan's prototype super-soldier, knowing he needed a cyborg ally to take down his enemy, yet not trusting that Henry wouldn't accidentally lead Akan to his clone-factory lab. Now, having run out of clones, he needs Henry to retrieve his tank and bring him to one of Akan's now-ownerless secret facilities, upgrade his People Jar's ability to keep his vat-body alive, and cook up another batch of Jimmys.
Hardcore Henry and Crank take place in the same video game-like universe.Because, why not?
- Maybe Henry used to kill people under the rather unlikely name "Chev Chelios" and his luck finally ran out. After all, given the damage described, they would have had to rebuild his entire face anyway...
- Or Henry may have originally been killed by Chev Chelios during one of his hits. We've already seen how Chev deals with mooks, easily cutting through them like a hot knife through butter. Maybe Henry was a poor mook that didn't have a chance against a powerhouse like Chelios.
- Or maybe Akan's rise to power was due to genetic engineering, and hearing about Chev's ability to keep his heart pumping while infected with the Chinese Synthetic shit may have helped him unlock his psychokinetic abilities. Akan may have been hired by Poon Dong to reverse the damage caused by the synthetic shit, and while doing so, it helped him unlock his abilities because Chelios' ability to keep going was hardwired into his DNA and it helped Akan become powerful.
How did Jimmy pay for his war on Akan? Black Market Organ Trade.Jimmy probably used his cloning techniques on single organs to fund his revenge and continue to work on his avatars. If he had a cost-effective way of mass producing cloned tissue, it would be his best option for money, and it would help him build connections with those who could get him guns and equipment.
Henry's family was in the New York Mob, or some other organized crimeHenry's grandfather was an abusive parent, Henry's dad confesses he killed many people who didn't deserve it, and Henry is expected by his father to get away with beating up other children as retribution. This all implies that they are able to get away with excessive violence because they hold a local monopoly on excessive violence, A.K.A. organized crime. Mix in Henry's father's thick New Yorker accent and we get a general idea of Henry's background.