3 June 2004 | sol-kay
Dated but still effectively powerful film
****SPOILERS**** George C. Scott, Jake Van Dorn, gives one of his best acting performances in "Hardcore". It's every bit as good as his role in "Patton" in this modern day version of the great John Ford Western "The Searchers" as the distraught and angry father searching for his missing and runaway daughter Kristen, Llah Davis.
Powerful and riveting film builds up to a fever pitch as Jake goes into the bowels of hell in his desperate and emotional quest for his daughter in the dangerous and sleazily world of the legal as well as illegal porn industry. The scene, in an empty and darkened porno theater, where Jake was shown by private investigator Andy Mast, Peter Boyle, a clip of his daughter preforming sex acts on the screen was so powerful that it made you forget that you were actually watching a movie, not the real thing. An unsuspecting Jake, who had never seen a porno film before, went from bewilderment shock outrage and then became sickened and nauseated by what he saw, all this in just under two minutes of screen time, ranks right up there with the greatest and most unforgettable moments in motion picture history!
Jake ends up finding his daughter but she was emotionally destroyed not only by the porno world that she was living in and was part off but also by her detachment and alienation from her very religious father's feelings for her. Jake is also faced with the fact that the world outside of his small and cloistered community in Grand Rapids Michigan is as different as the Earth is from the planet Pluto.
After Jake's daughter Kristen disappeared from a trip with her classmates and members of the local Dutch Reformation Church Jake with the help of private investigator Andy Mast and local L.A hooker and part time porno actress Niki, Season Hubley, track her down in the red-light district of San Francisco. Jake is then shocked to find out that she left him because of his possessiveness and restrictions that he had on her and the friends that she choose.
Even though the movie "Hardcore" is now a bit dated and the ending is a bit too pat and contrived in order for it to pull all the loose ends in the movie together and give the film a happy ending George C. Scott's Academy Award caliber acting in the film is good enough to make you overlook the movies many faults.
Both Peter Boyle and Llah Davis are also very effective as the hired PI and Jake's missing daughter. I feel that the most sensitive as well as tragic acting in the film, on par with Mr. Scott, was that of Season Hubley, Niki, as the hooker who lead Jake to, in the end, find his daughter. Feeling that she had a chance of, with the help of Jake, leaving the life that she had in the porno world Niki sadly learned in the end of the movie that hope was nothing but a pipe dream. Knowing her helpless situation Niki sadly accepted the reality of her life in it. I feel that Jake's very emotional and truly touching final scene with Niki was far more gripping and heart-wrenching then the final scene that Jake had with his daughter Kristen and almost as good as the scene of Jake in the theater when he broke down from watching Kristen in a porno movie.