A Gulf war veteran and his “homeboy” cruise the streets of L.A. on the pretext of looking for work whilst getting wasted and dabbling in street crime.
On paper, Harsh Times sounds like a gritty urban crime drama in a similar vein to Narc or Training Day, but it is in fact a rather aimless movie that enjoys showing lots of “homies” in the “hood” talking about their “biatches”. I suspect that there’s some kind of message about Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome hidden in there somewhere, but the script was clearly written by Beavis and Butthead after a marathon session on crass Xbox game Saint’s Row so the dialogue basically just consists of “Yo s’up dawg”, “Word homie jus’ chillin'”, “We is da bomb mutherf*cker”, ad nauseum. Which is positively surreal when you see it emanating from the mouth of Christian Bale rather than Fiddy. There’s plenty of incident because of the casual violence and drug use that is scattered throughout what passes for the story, but ultimately the characters are so two dimensional that it’s impossible to care about any of them and far from seeming like a troubled, complex individual, Bale just comes across as the biggest arsehole in the world.