Hard Target

1993 · Universal Pictures
Hard Target — Movie Review by Karthik
8 out of 10
Directing Credits
John Woo
Writing Credits
Written by Chuck Pfarrer
Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lance Henriksen, Arnold Vosloo, Yancy Butler, Wilford Brimley, Kasi Lemmons

The Review

Fouchon (Lance Henriksen) and Van Cleaf (Arnold Vosloo) are two people who sell something unique.  For a few thousand dollars, they will organise a manhunt for a rich and bored millionaire who is looking to add a little thrill to his life.  After all, as Fouchon says, to bring a man down is like the ultimate drug.  The hunted are usually homeless Vietnam war veterans, who have no family and will be easily convinced that the money they might make in the hunt, is worth putting their lives on the line.

Fouchon and his gang are currently in New Orleans, and a night of hunting results in the death of a Charles Binder (played by Chuck Pfarrer, the movie's writer), as the movie opens.  Unfortunately, what Fouchon and company didn't know was that he had a daughter who cared for him.  Natasha Binder (Yancy Butler) didn't know that her father was homeless, and she now comes to New Orleans, worried that she hasn't got any letters from him in a while.  When she is attacked by some thugs, Chance Boudreaux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) comes to her rescue, and he later agrees to help her find her father.  Soon, they find out that Binder was killed... but then, Chance's poking around in this business makes Fouchon realise that he'll have one more hunt in New Orleans - the target will be Boudreaux.  After all, Boudreaux, being an ex-soldier himself, is a fascinating prey to Fouchon and his group of hunters.

Hard Target was the first American movie made by acclaimed Hong Kong action movie director, John Woo.  Woo is one of my favourite directors, and he brings his fascinating touch to this movie as well.  I think this is Jean-Claude Van Damme's best movie to date, he plays his role very well here.  I also thought all the actors suited their roles, and the villains, played by Henriksen and The Mummy Vosloo, really made an impression.  The movie had a nice combination of interesting characters in it's script, and John Woo's unique visual style to create powerful scenes.  The central idea of the movie, the hunter and the prey, was brought out very effectively.  Lots of great sequences here - like the part where Chance's Uncle Douveé (Wilford Brimley) gives him a shotgun in graceful slow-motion, the flying doves at a couple of places in the movie, etc.

Ultimately though, this is an action movie, and that too a John Woo action movie, so, much of the movie is made up of very exciting action scenes!  It all builds up to the intense finale, which has almost non-stop gun battles.  Only complaint about the action scenes is that Van Damme seems to have some sort of magic armour - the bad guys can shoot all they want, but he never gets hit with a bullet.  Other than that, Hard Target is absolutely great as an action movie, and even to those with no particular preferences for this genre, it will be a very entertaining film.  John Woo went on to make the equally entertaining Broken Arrow and the even superior Face/Off after this.

More Details

Running Time: 95 minutes | Country: US | Genre: Action

Ratings Info

I rate all movies or game add-ons on a scale of 1 to 10 points.  1 is the lowest score, 6 is barely above average, 8 is good, and 10 is excellent (this score doesn't indicate something that is perfect in every way — it just means that I enjoyed it a lot).  You'll find that I tend to give ratings of 8 and above often (that's only because I enjoy whatever I'm reviewing!).  Reviews are updated as felt necessary.  Of course, everything said in these reviews is my humble opinion only.
Review Date 8 May 03
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The Author

Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

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