The title of Hardcore Henry is likely to mislead and disappoint smut junkies. Very little porno content here, fleeting glimpses of a Russian brothel aside. Oh well, you can’t please everyone. The movie may have been born in Russia, but it seems tailor-made for America, where violence is happy to enter the fray when sex stops selling. Yes, fans of adrenaline-pumping shoot-em’-ups are sure to find this bullet-ejaculating orgasm of a film more stimulating than even a good ol’ pump-and-thrust picture ever could be. So intense is the action that even a ceaseless carper about gratuitous thrills like yours truly found himself liking it far more than he should.
Rehash. Recycle. Revisit. Repackage. Reboot. The English language has a veritable plethora of words suggesting the traversal of familiar terrain, perhaps because there are so many aesthetic products that do little else. The latest permutation in the Star Wars franchise is no different despite its absurdly bloated critical acclaim, having precious few qualities to recommend it other than, I suppose, its comforting predictability.
The first few minutes of Lars von Trier’s genre-defying film Melancholia do what so few films in recent memory have done: celebrate the unexpected. A woman in a bridal dress? Birds falling slowly to earth and horses collapsing on their rear ends? A dark planet drifting through space? The “Liebestod” from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde playing in the background? And it’s all shot in super slow motion. Later on, these seemingly disparate elements will begin to make sense, but they ultimately leave the viewer in a state of quiescent post-contemplation, never clarifying their intentions with semaphores.
Forget the future. I wish I could travel to the past so that I could avoid watching this faceless drone of a sci-fi flick based on the 1990 title by the same name. Not that its predecessor was much better, but at least it featured Arnold and his campy Austrian accent. This bland remake, despite its firestorm visuals and epic futuristic landscapes, had far too little plot interest and character to hold my attention for its two-hour running time.