Hard Target (1993) Poster

(1993)

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10/10
One of the greatest my personal favorite best action John Woo-Van-Damme action style movie!
ivo-cobra81 January 2018
Hard Target (1993) is one of the greatest and the best action packed movie in a John Woo-Van-Damme Style! Of all Van Damme movies this one of his, is the best of Van Damme ever and I absolutely love it to death. Like the title says Don't hunt what you can't kill. It is my John Woo's number 1 personal favorite action flick of all time, that I love to death. It is also one one of my personal favorite action films of all time.

"Don't hunt what you can't kill."

The thrill of the hunt. It's the ultimate drug, and the more intense the rush, the higher the price. International superstar Jean-Claude Van Damme teams up with world-famous action director John Woo for this electrifying thriller Van Damme is the target of an evil mercenary (Lance Henriksen) who recruits homeless combat veterans for the "amusement" of his clients - bored tycoons who will pay a half a million dollars to stalk and kill the most challenging prey of them all: Man. Laced with dark humor and slam-packed with electrifying action Hard Target is a must see for action fans.

Hard Target is not only my John Woo favorite film, it is also my Jean-Claude Van Damme favorite best action film from my favorite action star. I put this film over Die Hard, this is my Die Hard movie. I love that the stunts were realistic I think that John Woo didn't allow Van Damme to make his own stunts and it is a shame that Jean-Claude Van Damme *beep* up his chance with John Woo by making on another film. It is Van Damme's ego fault. Still they don't make movies like this.

I heard that there is Driector's cut somewhere on DVD that I have never saw, I own this film on Blu-ray in my John Woo collection and I still love it. The stunts are crazy, the action are spectacular. Van Damme catching a snake wow incredible. (at one point, a movie's typical crazy stuntman; firing the Beretta 92FS 9mm while standing on the seat of a motorcycle and crashes in to the car.) Still the motorcycle chase sequence is my favorite scene in the film.

Van Damme "launches thousands of bullets, slugs, and explosive projectiles into THIRTY of mercenary tycoons baddies." Arnold Vosloo is also underrated actor who plays Pik van Cleef he did a really pretty good job as the villain and Fouchon second mercenary henchman. Possibly best role for him. "I don't get angry. I'm a professional." I love this movie the action is delivered perfectly. Honestly I love Arnold Vosloo more in this movie than Lance Henriksen and I love his character Pik van Cleef.

The trill of the hunt. It's the ultimate drug and the more intense the rush, the higher the price. Hard target was the film is saw as a teen when I was 18, I couldn't saw it as a kid I really don't know, it was never on TV and I have never seen a VHS cover in a video store. I didn't even know that movie exists.

Hard Target is a 1993 action film that marked the US directorial debut of acclaimed Hong Kong director John Woo, who brought out his Asian style of action to Western cinema.

10/10 for me I love this movie to death, It is my number 1 favorite action film.
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8/10
Call It What You Will, But It IS Entertaining!
ccthemovieman-119 March 2006
Many people see "Jean-Claude Van Damme" in the lead and think this another stupid, no-brainer action flick and guess what? It is! BUT, it is also a very entertaining film, kind of ripoff of the old "Most Dangerous Game" storyline....and, if you can suspend belief for 90-100 minutes, you'll be vastly entertained....and that's the name of the game, folks.

Some of the action scenes are outrageous and big-time "Rambo" mentality, meaning an entire arsenal that could wipe out a small country is used against our hero and never seems to kill him! People are being shot in the streets but no is ever around in the middle of the day but the killers and victims? Usually that stuff annoys me, but I didn't seem to mind in this movie. In fact, it fits.

Despite the lack of credibility, Van Dame standing on top of a speeding motorcycle as it heads towards an onrushing car, and later dodging all kinds of pretty neat weapons as he tries to help Yancy Butler, is just fun. John Wood-directed films tend to be ridiculously exaggerated and loud, so that's what you get. I am not a fan of many of his films, but I am of this one. It's pure macho madness with a Lance Henriksen doing what he does best: be an incredibly-nasty and brutal villain. An added bonus in here - a real hoot - is old man Wilfred Brimley as Van Damme's French uncle who comes to his nephew's aid.

Add a great blues soundtrack and you have a great film to feed your male hormones with when needing to be fed some gratuitous violence.
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Don't watch what you can't enjoy!
uds322 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Typical of the absurd criticism comes the way of most any Van Damme film is a reviewer I noticed below, who protractedly raves on paragraph after paragraph about nothing more incidental than the credibility-challenging motor cycle sequence. Jesus wept, what the hell does it matter whether such is possible or not? Is the freeway chase in THE MATRIX or TERMINATOR 3 likely? We go to the movies primarily to be entertained....to take a step into a world where reality takes a rain-check half the time! HARD TARGET is right up there with Van Damme's best work, and yes he DOES work. Personally I consider it his best film. Being Woo's first American outing, he creatively put a lot into this. Although scaled down, I found it equally as entertaining as FACE OFF, which like BROKEN ARROW, offered insane, impossible but FUN action sequences.

HARD TARGET is a stylistic film that although admittedly ripped off from THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME (but so too was THE RUNNING MAN and DOGBOYS) delivers some superb sequencies. Van Damme is NOT wooden, he's not one half-bad Cajun with a real bad attitude. Matter of fact, HARD TARGET succeeds because it has that one vital spark necessary to any worthwhile flick - interesting characters! Vosloo (Before THE MUMMY) is absolutely great as Henriksen's right hand man. A professional killer with no shred of decency. Er, thats what a killer is SUPPOSED to be! When he utters that line "Randall, Randall, Randall!" you just know that Randall is about to have a real bad day! Henriksen chews up the film as the soul-less Fouchon....he even goes out with class... "Oops!"

Yancy Butler is not one to ignore either. Spunky little thing who took her charisma to another level in DROP ZONE! And dear old Wilf Brimley as Chance's reliable and feisty Uncle. He almost steals the film.

If you don't like this one you're really hard to please and if you wanna complain about Van Damme's acting again? for God's sake go watch THE ENGLISH PATIENT.
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10/10
Up there with Die Hard a true action classic
richalexh20 August 2000
John Woo's first u.s film is a hugely underrated hugely enjoyable action thriller beautiflly shot and bursting with style this is certainly Van Damme's best film and in my books is at the top of the action genre. It's a sort of updating of 1930's thriller The Most Dangerous Game. It centres around a women searching for her father in New Orleans who enlists the help of tough cajun chance boudreux i don't wanna say any more about the plot cos i don't wanna give to much away.this is the part of Van Damme's career when his acting wasn't too bad, the rest of the cast are mostly a solid bunch of unknowns who prove they've got what it takes to make this a tight well made thriller. Lance Henriksen is great as Fouchon and Arnold Vosloo equally as good as accomplice Van cleef. Even though in my opinion this is Woo's best u.s film it took him 2 more attempts to breakthrough into the Hollywood mainstream in which he finally struck gold with Face/Off. Hard Target comes out a dark action thriller packed with a superb blend of martial arts shootouts and explosions. I recommend this to any 1 weather your an action junkie, die hard van damme fan or just a general film buff. Up there with Die Hard this is a true action classic
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10/10
The best Van Damme film...thanks to John Woo!
Sharkey3603 July 2000
Jean Claude Van Damme has many, many and many action films all in all...but none of them comes close to the art, fast-pace, intensity and entertainment of Hard Target. And the factor behind these? John Woo! John Woo has proven himself the answer on providing greatness to Van Damme, and it's obvious that Van Damme's films that followed, simply lacked goodness.

With Woo on the helm, we get to see Van Damme doing those Woo signature-action like double-gun firing, action slow-mo, dangerous stunts, revealing views, and the back-to-back 2 side camera view...you name it. Van Damme himself said that this was the most creative action film he's ever done, and you'll see why.

Regarding the story, the plot seemed simple on paper but John Woo added twists and gimmicks to transform the simplicity into interest. The cast is highlighted by Lance Henriksen's role as the bad boss, and he adds quality acting and voice to this film. Yancy Butler however, does not make a good lead lady here, and I always thought of other actresses replacing her.

John Woo's action scenes are very defined here, and thanks to those slow-mo scenes, you get to see Van Damme REALLY HIT HIS ENEMIES...as opposed to seeing him move too fast in other films, which made you wonder if his kicks were real or not. In addition, he did some dangerous stunts on his own, which adds authencity to his action figurre.

Van Damme needs to team up again with Woo. The films that followed this were simply lacking of quality (The Quest) or lousy (Double Team). It's easy to realize that Hard Target is more of a John Woo-film than a Van Damme-film. Van Damme, in my opinion, is better-off with Woo as director simply because his best is brought out. Since this film is Woo's US debut, this film is like a preview of things to come...meaning Broken Arrow, Face/Off and the ongoing blockbuster Mission Impossible II! You'll really see how far Woo went from this debut.

Definitely worth watching! Hard Target is not John Woo's best, but it's Van Damme's best film ever! This is where you see Van Damme in his greatest action, and thank Woo for that!
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Beats the s**t out of M:I-2!
SPaS22 October 2001
Now I'm a fan of all Woo films; even the worst of his works, such as "Broken Arrow", are at least 'standard fare' in Hollywood-terms; this, however, does not apply to the few sad TV-attempts he made (The "Once a thief"-cable flick is just dreadful...). "Face/Off" and even the 'funny' "M:I-2" are both action-packed showdowns which demonstrate well what Woo can do. But his first Hollywood-attempt still remains the best of them- at least, to date! "Hard target" was shoot with very little time and then re-edited 7 times (count'em- seven!) to finally pass the censorship (yes, I'd call it that!) and STILL, after assumably at least half (?) the flavour taken out, it's still one tough cookie! Maybe frustrated at the censorship, Woo has later on stayed on the safe R-rated waters in Hollywood, not even trying to top himself (And again, STILL remaining the best bet when it comes to directing some serious action!)

"Hard Target" puts Jean-Claude Van 'Damage' against one of the always trustworthy screen villains, Lance Henriksen, and his pack of urban-commando (all black outfits, combat vests and MP5's) goons, and that's all you need to know! IF you think the going gets a little boring on the way, wait for the final 20 minutes, which will give you an adrenaline rush worth your while!

BTW, if anyone knows where I could get my hands on the 116-minutes (any shorter will not do!) uncut "Director's cut", I'd be happy to buy a copy, preferably DVD (but also VHS will do; we're talking cult classic here!)
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10/10
A very tight, well made film.
keefy26 September 1999
Many people say that this film could be marked down as a cobweb in John Woo's closet. It is far from this, but only if you see the full uncencored version, which is available in the UK for people who own PAL video machines. I think that this is John Woo's best American made work. Better than Face / Off, which was well filmed but lacked the Woo stylised violence to keep your interest up. But Hard Target has plenty. Certain people believe that the end gunfight in the Mardi Gras graveyard is among Woo's best visually. The flurry of quick bloody violence is overwhelmingly adrenaline pumping, Van Damme pumps the bad guys with more bullets in 15 minutes than Desperado did in two hours! The American Version is quite mediocre compared to the UK version, the US version contains less violence and if you look in the goofs section most of the stuff ups are due to the violence being edited out. I do know where you can get your hands on a rough cut of the 116 minute version but it is a bit of a waste of time, due to the fact that there is no colour (except a greeny tone) and most of the 20 minutes extra are just talking.

If you think Van Damme is a bit of a let down, he isn't really. He may not be able to act, but Woo has made him look as cool as ever, seing Van Damme run around with two hand guns is cool, This movie runs on Van Dammes precence.

Give this film a chance, get the UK version for a better time.

I give this 5 outta 5.

John Woo rules the earth.
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Guns, blood, Woo, Van Damme, oh my!!
crewcut63 October 1999
This is basically raw John Woo: bullets flying, fire blazing, good guys, bad guys, this movie has the whole ball of wax! In Woo's 1st American flick, Jean Claude Van Damme high-kicks and shoots as many baddies as he can trying to find the killers of the father of Yancer Butler's character right in the heart of the deep South.



Van Damme is as physically fit as ever. He sports a Kurt Russel-style hairdo in this movie, but his voice is as incoherent as always! His Belgium accent was really "hard" to understand, and it got to my nerves throughout the whole film!!

But, he busts up the good guys with real finesse. Arnold Vosloo and Lance Henrikson also light up the screen with their sleazy yet very believeable villain performances. The fight and shootout scenes in this film are amazing. Watching "Hard Target" was really a great experience, and it was worth the $2.10 rental! Watch the gunfight behind the wall between Van Damme and Vosloo. It might remind you of a good "Face/Off"!!
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8/10
John Woo and Van Damme make a pretty good team
JohnnyPHreak19 April 2000
Right here and now I'll say this is Van Damme best movie and he picked the right director for it. It an action adventure about a team of killers are who paid to hunt by rich people. The movie is not action filled as the video box may tell you. But it does have enough to make your mouth water. If you know John Woo than you know that his films spread out the action and put space of acting between them. The acting is not top notch but it is believable. But what makes this movie is the action sequences. They have remnants of Woo's other movies like Broken Arrow, Hard Boiled, The Killer and the final scene looks like it was plucked straight out of Face/Off. You have to see it to believe it. Van Damme does his normal tough guy not talking much thing but it is great to see him with two pistols in his hands. It's a 7 for total movie but gets a 10 for action. Action movie junkies will love Hard Target. John Woo and Van Damme makes for great action.
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10/10
Before the storm, it still wasn't calm...
buzznzipp199513 September 2006
I believe at this point in time that John Woo, should either change his Asian-dance number in every movie he makes and every single fight sequence!! Today! Take on a new and different approach. If you don't know what that means, John studied Dance, the flowing Asian style dancing and has used it, (I guess like football players study Ballet) using it in the shoot-outs and fighting scenes to add an element of grace and flowing movement to the stories's scene.

Thank God, that he didn't do the camera-shot over kill thing with the story and the shoot-out confrontation scenes in this. But as for this action story, I was all for this one! I truly enjoyed all the characters right down to the 'crooked' medical examiner, with the stress related nervous cough. The sleaze-bag o peddler, getting homeless to distribute his business sleazoid 900 number pamphlets, door to door no less.

It won and award and was nominated 5 more times! I liked Chance Boudreaux (Jean-Claude) in this New Oleans feature, he really came through. Next to the movie that a late friend of mine wrote (TIMECOP 1994) this has got to be the most powerfully enjoyable bang-up Van Damme movie, that exists, I say.

The area is questionable and dirty, some of it's residents are seedy in operation, yet there is a certain beauty that surrounds them in Oleans.

Bravo for the cast of outstanding players, Henrikson as the primary villain, I loved that about this movie, he plays the piano in the movie beautifully, for real, on reel. Mr. Vasloo before 'Titanic' he is a great villain partner, who is agile and deadly. The chase is on and they are all scrambling to stay alive and out of destruction's pathway. The accent from Van Damme, which is always with him, was an irreplaceable addition, to the taste and the culture of the country there. The music, yeah, it was the right music for the job! Playin' C.C.R how ya not gonna love that, when you're all the way down there? Jean Claude had just come into his-'own'acting craft style but, did not seem to go on above it too far after 'Hard Target' was made. His career seemed to settle down not too many years after as well. Although he is still making movies, some aren't bad either. He is a decent action hero, that can do different roles, with a good but limited ability.

But for this Woo film, I am applauding his best efforts, he stayed on a strong course with it, fine, fine actors and a good and gritty dirt in your teeth type of story, that brought Wilford Brimley as the wilderness 'Uncle' . The uncle with the explosives! Where was he when I was growing up? I could have really used em'. I rated this one highly, and recommend it as a great kicker of a fast paced manic action movie! Four kicks!!!! (****)
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6/10
Competent action thriller
DaRick892 July 2012
As with many action movies, Hard Target's strengths and weaknesses are fairly simple to analyse. It's a competent action thriller, notable for some stylish action scenes that have John Woo's touch; one particularly memorable example is when Chance Boudreaux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) quite literally blasts a bikie thug out a window with a shotgun and a petrol can! These moments pretty much make the film worth seeing by themselves, despite the usual weaknesses in the plotting and JCVD's ever wooden countenance. As JCVD himself noted however, viewers paid the money to see him waste bad guys and he does plenty of this - sometimes in more inventive ways than expected (using snake traps). It very much makes the film worth seeing for action buffs, even though I'm reluctant to give a really high rating based on this alone.

The plot is not too extraordinary: a homeless veteran gets murdered by a team of mercenaries led by Emil Fouchoud (Henriksen) and Van Cleaf (Vosloo), after which his daughter Nat (Butler) comes looking for him and commissions Boudreaux, a homeless Cajun merchant marine (!) to help her out after he rescues her from marauding thugs, raising the ire of the mercenary team. A few plot holes are obvious (shouldn't this mercenary team have been dealt with a while ago, police strike or not? Why is JCVD made a CAJUN?), but it works well as a vehicle for blowing stuff up and killing people.

The dialogue is pretty standard stuff: some profanity, some hilariously cringeworthy lines ("don't worry about Randall; he's all ears!) and some macho stuff.

As for the acting, the villains are better than the heroes. Of course, when JCVD is your hero, that's bound to be the case, with his unconvincing delivery. He has recently shown that he is capable of acting, but he was a long off that in 1993. Still, English is probably his third language (after French and Dutch); Yancy Butler has no such excuses, being quite wooden in a role that doesn't demand that much. Vosloo and Henriksen are much better though. Vosloo has that quiet menace that always makes him a good villain, while Henriksen goes from menacing and purposeful to merrily nuts as Boudreaux causes him more difficulties than expected. Even Wilford Brimley is amusing as Chance's crazy uncle, reeling off some zany lines.

In the end, Hard Target is not a great movie, but it's a competent action thriller with some nice stylistic touches from John Woo during the action scenes. Henriksen, Vosloo and Brimley compensate somewhat for JCVD and Butler, but you still shouldn't watch this film for the acting and especially not for the plotting. Action fans generally don't really look for either that much though, so that's alright. Movie- goers looking for a bit more will probably like some of the style, but won't find that much else.

3/5 stars
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7/10
When I Come Back Here, I Cut Me A Steak!
Hard Target is my favourite Van Damme movie and along with Face/Off, is John Woo's best Hollywood movie to date (none though come close to his earlier Hong Kong efforts). Inspired by "The Most Dangerous Game', Hard Taget helps introduce Western audiences to the stylised visuals and balletic violence that is the Cornerstone of a John Woo film, and he certainly doesn't disappoint in that category. Although the plot is run-of-the-mill and does somewhat disappointingly dissect the action sequences, it does not really matter because it is the action that is worth waiting for. It is ridiculously over-the-top, in a good way though, violent, entertaining and at times hilarious.

Van Damme is actually pretty good in this film, playing a really hard bastard. He is perhaps helped by some decent characterisation, but this perhaps favours the two villains most of all with Henriksen excellent as usual, playing the snarling, evil villain and Vosloo pretty amusing as his cocky, over-exuberant right-hand-man. It helps they are given some decent lines even if the script isn't the most polished in the world but no doubt is it set instead on catering for the action. Although convincingly handled, the action scenes do however, require some suspension of disbelief and a view that doesn't hint towards gritty realism. So what if no one never reloads, so what if the police and public are never around, so what if it takes Van Damme thirty bullets to kill one man, this is simply an action film and nothing can be taken for granted in this genre. Besides if the action is as greatly entertaining and stylistically done as this then you can easily forget the films mishaps and general lack of narrative qualities.

7/10
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Although not Woo's best, it delivers.
sprivateryan17 June 2000
John Woo brings audiences the excitement of being hunted in this thrilling action movie, "Hard Target". "Hard Target" stars Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a merchant sailer named Chance Boudreaux who comes across Natasha Binder, played by Yancy Butler. Natasha is in search of her missing father, who has been hunted down by the sadistic mercenary Emil Fouchon, played by Lance Henrikson. Together, once Emil is on to them, Chance and Natasha become the hunted. John Woo directs in what many people might call a "bad acting" movie, but if you put away the acting, and watch the sweet slow-motion scenes and Woo's doves, you'll be entertained for a hour and thirty-seven minutes. (6 out of 10 stars)
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6/10
Potentially good
crybabystinkypoo17 December 2010
HARD TARGET is a stylish, B-grade action/thriller directed by Hong Kong director John Woo (his first U.S. film).

Hard Target stars Jean Claude Van Damme as an ex-military loner named 'Chance' whose ordinary life as a merchant sailor is interrupted by 'Natasha' an attractive innocent (Yancy Butler) who's come to New Orleans to look for her father.

Unbeknownst to Natasha, her father (played by Hard Target's scriptwriter) became homeless and was enlisted by a group of ruthless entrepreneurs that organise human 'hunts' for the pleasure of privileged individuals.

Hard Target's first half has a certain amount of depth and social conscience (for an action film).

For instance, a homeless man 'Roper' (Willie C. Carpenter) is gunned down in public after no one will help him.

But Hard Target's second half (where it moves from the city to the swamps) degenerates, at times into downright silliness and has a rushed feel.

The finale in the abandoned warehouse filled with old Mardi Gras paraphernalia was meant to be somehow meaningful, but it's not; it's just a finale in an abandoned warehouse filled with old Mardi Gras paraphernalia.

Hard Target is a reworking of a much earlier film 'The Most Dangerous Game' (1932) about humans who kill humans for sport.

However, I believe Hard Target got ideas from the James Bond film 'Moonraker' (1979); check out the scene where Jaws chases Bond's contact through the streets of Rio de Janeiro.

Hard Target's scriptwriter (Chuck Pfarrer) probably thought no one would notice.

Although it doesn't excuse Hard Target's failings, Woo was reportedly forced to edit Hard Target because of the violence (and it was edited again by Universal Studios).

Hard Target was later released on DVD with most of the action and violence restored.

Hard Target's still not as violent as some of Woo's earlier Hong Kong efforts e.g. 'The Killer' (1989), 'Bullet in the Head' (1990) and 'Hardboiled' (1992).

And since Woo's action films rely on shoot'em ups which would be too violent for a mainstream U.S. film, Hard Target suffers accordingly.

Although Woo's vision may have been compromised and even with most of the action and violence restored, Hard Target's still at times pretty silly e.g. Chance swinging from ropes in the finale and Chance's hillbilly 'Uncle Douvey' (Wilford Brimley) doesn't help the situation either.

And the way some of the less important baddies wear black baseball hats as if they're there just there to be shot, beaten or blown up.

Also, there's this flimsy plot device about the New Orleans police department going on strike which head baddie 'Mr Fouchon' (Lance Henriksen) and his team use as their opportunity to conduct a hunt in New Orleans.

In Robocop (1987) the police strike was plausible because in that film the police had been taken over by a private corporation.

But in Hard Target, the police strike doesn't ring true.

Hard Target makes attempts at being topical e.g. Mr Fouchon refers to the war in Bosnia as an opportunity that allowed him and his men to conduct some previous hunts; therefore it would've been better if Hard Target had been more even toned and not allowed itself to mix violence with attempted humour.

Woo's next U.S. cinema release was the disappointing 'Broken Arrow' (1996) and then the overrated 'Face Off' (1997) followed by the box office flop 'Windtalkers' (2002) and the forgettable 'Paycheck' (2003) then back to China to make the epic 'Red Cliff' (2008).

Woo also continued his U.S. career directing a made for TV action flick 'Blackjack' (1998) starring Dolph Lundgren and a two hour pilot movie for the Canadian TV series 'Once a Thief' (1996) which was a reworking and Woo's same titled 1991 Hong Kong movie as well as producing 'The Replacement Killers' (1998) and 'The Big Hit' (1998).

Although Hard Target is marred by silliness and implausibility, it's first half has a certain depth.

That, coupled with it's polished look; it's style and some of it's action scenes, could lead you to believe you're watching something more than a B-grade action film.

If Hard Target had more thought put in and stayed within the confines of the city, it could have stood out as a solid memorable and hard-hitting action film.
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7/10
First American film by John Woo with a tough and athletic Van Damme
ma-cortes18 June 2007
Jean Claude Van Damme is a seaman with no employment prowling around New Orleans,Louisian and stumbling onto mysterious and strange nasties. He spontaneously aiding a beautiful woman(Yancy Butler) when is attacked and taking on megalomaniac villains,(Lance Henriksen and Arnold Vosloo) who hunt human beings.He's only helped by a Bayou old man,(Wilford Brimley). This is a ¨Sui generis¨ version from ¨The most dangerous game¨,it's a vivid recounting of Richard Connell's famed novel ,adapted previously in the 1932 classic(Joel McCrea,Fay Wray) by Ernest B Schoedsack and by Robert Wise titled¨Game of death¨ and by Boulting titled ¨Run for the sun¨with Richard Widmark and Jane Greer.This theme has been filmed many times since and utilized as a plot for countless television and cinema argument.

The picture displays suspense,tension,thriller and non-stop action for 94 minutes .Breathtaking set pieces action well staged by John Woo with bound and leaps while are shooting.The film is set in New Orleans streets,marsh,bogs of Louisian and into abandoned factory, where is developed an overlong and incredible final duel.Special mention to pair sadist baddies,Henriksen and Vosloo,they're an excessive maniacal, exaggerated villains,they're the best of the film.John Woo direction is good ,he moves well the camera with spectacular scenes ,but doesn't match with his Hong Kong vehicles(Bullet in the head,The Killer,A better tomorrow I and II),John Woo followed with a successful American career(Broken arrow,Face off,Mission impossible II,Windtalkers).The motion picture will like to Jean Claude Van Damme fans and cinema John Woo-enthusiastic
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...miles better than most Hollywood action fare.
DaWHo20 February 1999
Action master John Woo's first (and best) American movie is somewhat of a disappointment to his Hong Kong movie fans--see "Hard Boiled" and "The Killer" for comparison--but still miles better than most Hollywood action fare. A good introduction to Woo's directing style with plenty of show-stopping action sequences, incredible stunt work and a solid performance by Van Damme. Despite a very impressive ending set piece and lots of awesome slow motion gun play, the movie (as released) seems to be missing something. Seek out the unrated, uncut version if at all possible--you won't regret it!
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7/10
The Best Of Van Damme
benqstock5 February 1999
Hard Target is arguably Jean Claude Van Damme's best film. The action sequences, particularly the chase through the cemetery and the shootout in the Mardi-Gras warehouse are are smoothly and stylishly directed by John Woo. It stands up to repeated viewings and is worth watching along with Broken Arrow and Face/Off just to see how John Woo has progressed since coming to Hollywood. Lance Henriksen is perfect as the villain and Van Damme is a good hero. Overall quite an exciting and well done film, though not perfect.
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Don't say it's bad
vincent.vega-220 April 2001
I don't know John Woo's early asian works, but this is the best film he made in the US. It is not as excessive as his later films like M:I-2.

I have to say that I don't really like Jean Claude Van Damme nevertheless his performance is pretty good in this one. But it's Lance Henriksen who still dominates this movie. Every second of his appearance makes me wonder why he isn't up there in the "Kevin Spacey-League". His acting is outstanding.

The plot is acceptable but this ain't Shakespeare. It's still a Van Damme flick even though a very good one.
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8/10
It's like a drug isn't it, to bring a man down?
Spikeopath13 March 2013
Hard Target is directed by John Woo and written by Chuck Pfarrer. It stars Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lance Henriksen, Yancy Butler, Arnold Vosloo and Wilford Brimley. Music is by Graeme Revell and cinematography by Russell Carpenter.

New Orleans and ex-merchant marine Chance Boudreaux (Damme) is struggling to gain employment on account of some muscular indiscretions. However, after saving Natasha Binder (Butler) from the hands of robbers, he is offered some work by her that pays handsomely. The task is to find out where her father is, a homeless ex-forces man who has mysteriously disappeared. It's a search that leads them to a sick urban safari being run by Emil Fouchon (Henriksen), the prey? Man!

After pushing the boundaries of action cinema in Hong Kong, it was only a matter of time before John Woo got lured to America to dabble in the dollar. Hard Target was his first American movie, which in spite of the studio being nervous about his hiring (Sam Raimi was on standby should it implode) and cuts being made on demand for a certificate rating to open it up to a wider audience, it worked out well. It was a financial success, even though there was the inevitable mixed reviews from critics and today it rightly is held in high regard amongst action movie die- hards.

OK! Nobody could seriously claim it's a titan of cinema, it's an absurd story derived from The Most Dangerous Game, the acting is of the usual Van Damme kick assery standard (JC pouts and mumbles, Butler is terrible, Brimley is miscast, Henriksen so over the top we almost lose him from our vision) and preposterousness reaches new levels. Yes it's a dumb fun action movie where leaving the brain at the door is a requisite. But what action delights await the faithful, what grace and style does Woo bring to the mayhem, it's a visceral thriller that once it gets the plot initiations out of the way, unleashes beautiful carnage that thunders the chest royally.

Can violence be lyrical? In Woo's hands yes, certainly. The action film is one of the most maligned in cinema, but there is great artistry to many of them, to that end Hard Target scores incredibly high. The stunt work is amazing, the choreography of the fight scenes, with Van Damme showing his wonderful skills, are exquisite sights for the action film fan. Woo's tricks involving slow-mo, freeze frames and juddering close ups all get worked out here, quite often forming part of another ballet of bloodshed. Woo and Van Damme were a good fit, the film rocks for those so inclined for such kinetic malarkey, and not even The Muscles from Brussels' mullet can spoil the enjoyment. 7.5/10
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Awe inspiring
johnrambo20193 January 2003
I never thought Van Damne could have an action movie with guns but he did it. John Woo's U.S. debut is spectacular. If you loved Face-Off you will love this.Many Face-Off like moments and a ok story with good (for once) acting by Van Damne. The coffee was tolerable, though
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My favorite Van-Damme flick, by far.
billybrown4111 February 2002
I'm not a big martial-arts fanboy and I've never really gotten a lot out of Van-Damme's other movies. However, I caught this one and I have to agree that this one does stand with Die Hard and Lethal Weapon as an action classic. John Woo's first American film is probably my favorite of his (aside from Face/Off) and his talent really shines through and makes the film. The pace is tight and constantly moving and whenever the action scenes come in, their beautifully done, and helped out by a nice cajun/blues flaovored score. I really liked Chance's theme music.

The cast is perfect for this kind of movie with the ever-reliable Lance Hendrickson playing the rich-boy baddie who gets his thrills (and his cash) from hunting down and killing bums. He plays a heartless fellow in this one and he's good at it. Arnold "the mummy" Vosloo, plays his sidekick Van Cleef and delivers an equally evil performance. I guess my favorite was Wilford Brimley as Chance's uncle. The man is great.

If I can enjoy this movie enough to watch it more than a couple of times (which I have), then I'm sure that almost anyone can. It's a very admirable effort from one of Hollywood's most gifted and original directors and it is sure to please more than just fans of the genre. The only thing that may turn some people off, is the graphic violence. No, it's not quite a gore-fest, but still, some of the scenes are pretty harsh and wouldn't fare to well for the squeamish. I'm mostly talking about the "hunting" scenes.

Good stuff here, now if I could just find the unedited Laserdisc, I'd be in Heaven...
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8/10
Its a Sam Raimi film all right!
Animus26 April 1999
Ok I watched this movie because I wanted a mindless fighting flick (and it was), but I had to buy a copy when I realized it was a John Woo / Sam Raimi movie. John Woo always does good action and Sam Raimi is one of my favorite Director/Producers and his fingerprints are all over this film, with touches like cameos by Ted Raimi the Raimi-mobile. If you like Raimi films watch it.
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10/10
Hard Target is hard to beat!!!
Movie Nuttball26 March 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Minor Spoilers

A long time ago when this great movie was released I said we gotta see this! As a big Van Damme fan I knew Hard Target was going to be good but I didn`t think it was going to be in MY opinion a classic! But really Van Damme isn`t the only big star in Hard Target,it also stars Arnold Vosloo (who later became a even bigger star as The Mummy in the Mummy and The Mummy Returns) and Lance Henriksen (who was Bishop in Aliens and in Alien 3 Bishop`s creater). Vosllo is such a cool bad guy.His facial expressions and attitude make him such a cool guy and on the other hand Henriksen is also does a great acting job. Hard Target also includes the beautiful Yancy Butler and veteran actor Wilford Brimley. Hard Target and sports a special appearence by Sven-Ole Thorsen who is always a big bad guy in his movies. Hard Target has so much violence and action,any fan should be glad to see this shouldand there is no sex in it and that is a big plus for ME. Hard Target in MY opinion is Van Damme`s best film to date but I also recommend some others for Van Damme fans like Blood Sport,Sudden Death,and Double Team. I hope you get a chance to see Hard Target because it is realy a awesome movie.By the way,I like how the end credits come, it starts with Credence Clear Water Revivel`s Born on the Bayou!!!Just excellent!!!
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John Woo-light
bob the moo17 October 2001
Proof that not all John Woo's US work is in the realm of Face/Off. This was Woo's first American film, dealing with a group of rich businessmen that pay to hunt homeless men across urban wastelands. When Van Damme gets involved he himself becomes hunted until he turns the table on the hunters!

The main problem with this is that it feels like Woo-lite. It only has occasional touches that make you realise that it's a John Woo film. In terms of being a Van Damme movie this stands out as one of his better projects, despite the terrible haircut he has to wear all through it.

The story is quite lame and you don't get that excited about it. The action scenes are good, although some of them are not at Woo's level. Van Damme's performance is as wooden as it always is and he only really does well in the action scenes, Henriksen is good as the bad guy and hams it up accordingly and Vosloo is good as his side-kick, however the majority of performances are only so-so (but then this is an action movie after all!).

Overall the film is a solid action flick but lacks the full stylistic touch of Woo.
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10/10
JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME'S BEST MOVIE!!!!
zardoz-136 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
When Jean-Claude Van Damme hired "Hard-Boiled" director John Woo to helm this variation of "The Most Dangerous Game," the Belgium actor made the best movie that he could ever do, until--that is--he signed up Ringo Lam to do "Maximum Risk" and Hark Tsui to direct "Double Team." The action unfolds in New Orleans, Louisiana, as our hero Chance Boudreaux drifts into town and Natasha 'Nat' Binder (Yancy Butler) hires him to find her father. Natasha has just arrived in town, but little does she know yet that the quest to find her dad is doomed from the start. He has died at the hands of two sinister fellows, Emil Fouchon (Lance Henricksen of "Aliens") and Pik van Cleef (Arnold Vosloo Arnold Vosloo of "The Mummy"), who stage human safaris for anybody who is willing to pay to kill. To sweeten the pot, Fouchon and van Cleef recruit ex-combat veterans to serve as the objects of their hunts. If these guys can survive the stalking, they can reap a huge reward. Predictably, none have so far. Our heroine ventures into the French Quarter searching for him, and she almost gets robbed, raped, and murdered by several thuggish dastards. Chance comes to her aid and leaves her assailants sprawled in the street. Every action scene in "Hard Target" provides John Woo with an opportunity to orchestrate some of his slow motion fisticuffs with Van Damme delivering the inevitable to his adversaries. If you have not seen "Hard Target," you're in for a genuine treat.
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