A lot of action, decent storytelling, Van Damme with long hair and a beautiful chick- this is what you are going to get with “Hard Target”.
Not to mention the great fun and the heart pounding martial arts choreography that we love so much.
Shortly after hitting the theaters almost 25 years ago, the movie became a blockbuster.
The budget of $18 million generated the impressive amount of $80 million worldwide.
The huge success of the film is mostly due to the masterful direction of John Woo- a real guru in the genre.
This was his first American film and the first ever Hollywood blockbuster, directed by a Chinese director.
For those of you that don’t know, the Asian director, who was very popular in the 90’s has directed such Hollywood classics as “Mission Impossible 2” (2000), “Face Off” (1997), “Broken Arrow” (1996) and many other successful actioners.
The other famous name behind the scenes is Sam Raimi as the producer. You remember “Spiderman”, do you? In fact, Sam Raimi was sent by Universal Studio on the set to help John Woo with the communication because Woo didn’t speak English at the time.
Hollywood has definitely brought the big guns for this flick. The result is an enjoyable ride, full of stunning explosions, motorcycle stunts, shootings and spinning round-side kicks.
Jean-Claude is playing the role of Chance Boudreaux-a homeless ex-marine turned into a lonely drifter who happens to know Karate very well.
One day while drinking his coffee in the local restaurant-bar, a beautiful young girl enters. Shortly after, when she leaves and goes outside, a few junkies start to tease her rudely.
This happens to be the biggest mistake in their lives because they bump into the “Muscles from Brussels”, who suddenly arrives like the prince on a white horse to save the lady in trouble.
As you may suspect, Jean-Claude gives the scums a hard beating and soon they start to beg him for mercy.
Lately, he understands that the hot lady’s name is Natasha Binder and she is searching for her estranged father who’s been missing for a few years.
Because Monsieur Boudreaux is desperately in need of cash, he willingly accepts her business offer to help her find the missing daddy.
As the story goes, they come to understand that Natasha’s father has been murdered, after being involved in a deadly game, organized by a ruthless mobster.
The goal of the game is to hunt and kill homeless war veterans for the pleasure of rich and powerful men with a shady reputation.
Soon, Chance Boudreaux becomes the target of this wicked game of cat and mouse.
And the action is ready to roll…
The other actors in the cast, except for the phenomenal Jean-Claude Van Damme (standing ovation, please) are the beautiful Yancy Butler as Natasha and Lance Henriksen in the role of the vicious villain Emil Fouchon.
Lance Henriksen even obtained a Saturn Award for his excellent acting performance.
THIS IS A FUNNY ACTION MOVIES BECAUSE:
With close camera shots and slow motion scenes, John Woo has tried to give to his leading actor an attractive and cool sexy look.
Van Damme’s image is a bit different from the one in his other movies. Here we see a long-haired macho with an earring who always tries to look like a cool bad boy.
It has almost worked except that we all know to whom this funny, emotionless face belongs.
Even for a great Hollywood filmmaker, it is a mission impossible to make a bad actor acting flawlessly. One must admit, however, that despite his desperate acting attempts Jean- Claude Van Damme looks fine on the screen.
Oh, and funny! The long, black trench coat that he wears is screaming “I am a public masturbator”.
Another hilarious scene is the one in the jungle. Chance Boudreaux and his hot female boss Natasha are chased by the evil mercenaries and stop for a while to discuss how bad exactly is their situation.
Suddenly Chance tells her to trust him and to close her eyes. In this very sublime moment, she closes her pretty eyes and puts her lips together expecting a heartfelt kiss.
Instead, she hears the hissing sound of a gigantic snake and witnesses how her majestic employee knocks out the evil snake with a single punch. Yeah, a real Hollywood heartbreaker!
The show goes on…
During the long battle with the bad guys, Chance is helped by his uncle – a ridiculously looking drunken old man who is manufacturing whiskey at his home.
It appears that for him it is not a biggie to transform his huge luxurious house into a trap for the villains by blowing it in the air with a solid amount of dynamite.
In the final scenes of the movie in a desert warehouse in the middle of nowhere, Jean-Claude kills effortlessly approximately 50 people. He spills blood like John Rambo himself and for the audience, it is a difficult task to count the bodies that keep falling.
Well, I might be a bit exaggerating here. The official body count, including the snake, is 34 but one gets the feeling that it is much more.
In the end of the intense story, Chance Boudreaux fights the evil mind that invented and sponsored the wicked hunting game.
The breathtaking one on one fight between Chance and Emil Fouchon ends with a blast. Literally.
Just before killing him, Chance puts a grenade in Fouchon’s pants and throws the memorable one-liner “The hunting season is officially over”. After that, there is an explosion and the movie ends.
“Hard Target” is a very easy to watch and highly enjoyable action roller coaster.
Just leave your brain to hibernate and enjoy the good fun.
It is great to watch Jean- Claude Van Damme, playing a cocky, long-haired, karate stranger. Long live the Belgian martial arts master!
Now, please leave me a comment below and tell me if you like this movie, which by the way was considered by the critics as the most violent film of the summer of 1993.
How do you like it, do you think that it is the best Van Damme movie ever?