One Of The Worst Films Of 2018
As an avid video game player, eHero is the worst sort of film to watch but even those who’ve never touched a video game before in their life will find it difficult to find redeeming features here. Full of poorly implemented video game references, an unoriginal, lethargic story and some truly woeful acting, eHero is arguably one of the worst films released this year.
The story opens with a flurry of CGI action shots of the latest first person shooter game; a colourful blend of Overwatch and Doom complete with power ups and a dizzying array of high-powered weapons. Determined to make it as a pro gamer and boasting an impressive 98% win rate, Tyler Conway (Greg Hovanessian) finds himself caught in a whirlwind of success after beating a gaming superstar at a local convention. As he begins to lavish the limelight, he takes control of a small gaming team and under the watchful eye of his new manager Richard Brixton (Sean Astin), finds himself in the fight for his life both in the virtual and real world as he tries to make a name for himself.
EHero tries to pass itself off as an underdog story, walking a familiar road in both set up and plot progression for large stretches of the film. While this alone wouldn’t be an issue, after establishing Tyler’s impressive win rate and seeing him brush aside the world’s elite, there’s never a period of time where you feel he’s under any sort of pressure, diminishing what little excitement there is here. There’s a ham-fisted romance angle thrown in that feels awkward and out of place and even the usual betrayal angle to try and mix things up but rarely does eHero feel like anything but a disappointing, clumsily made video game movie.
What’s particularly annoying about eHero is the sheer lack of care put into the script and the production of the film itself. There’s no denying that most sports have a conventional underdog story so it was only a matter of time, given the growing popularity of eSports, before video games had their turn. Unfortunately eHero is far from perfect, in fact it’s closer to an unmitigated disaster. A complete lack of understanding in how eSports work, video game rules or even convincing chatter during party play plague large stretches but even those unfamiliar to those sort of quips will struggle to find a reason to care when the tension is supposed to build for Tyler.
As expected, eHero jumps back and forth between the virtual and real world throughout the film. The virtual game plays out like a glorified Capture The Flag mode but a mixture of rapid, quick cuts between the players and the game as well as the aggressive, dizzying style of the first person shooter itself make it incredibly difficult to work out what’s actually going on during these moments. Made worse is the inclusion of slow-mo kill shots as well as constant jumping between third person and first person views in the game. All of this combines to make for a confusingly, frenetic and ultimately unfocused film.
It’s difficult to recommend eHero, even to those who love an underdog story or video games. The narrative is weak, the characters barely passable and boasting some truly woeful acting. The true culprit here though is the script which is poor to say the least. Video game references are dropped in contrived conversations but never feel natural, gaming colloquialisms are accompanied by illogical rules not seen in eSports and all the while eHero lacks the one component to make this an enjoyable film – excitement. Ultimately this is where eHero fails. Even on a “so bad it’s good” level eHero can’t be recommended. This is one film that’s so bad it’s terrible and it truly is difficult to find anything redeeming to say about this film.