Hard Target (1993)
John Woo's first Hollywood feature stars Jean-Claude Van Damme as Chance Boudreaux, a down-and-out Cajun merchant seaman, who, after saving a young woman, Natasha Binder (Yancy Butler), from a gang of thugs on the streets of New Orleans, agrees to help her search for her father (Chuck Pfarrer), a homeless Vietnam vet. They locate local businessman Randall Poe (Elliott Keener), for whom the vet had been working, and learn that her father has become a victim of wealthy sportsman Emil Fouchon (Lance Henriksen), who, along with his cronies, hunts homeless men as a form of recreation. After Fouchon finds out that the girl is investigating the murder of her father, he arranges for she and Chance to be ambushed, but they manage to escape into the backwoods of Louisiana -- his stomping grounds. Realizing he needs to regroup, Fouchon assembles a private army to invade the bayous. They track the pair to the rustic cabin of Chance's Uncle Douvee (Wilford Brimley), and the real fireworks begin. ~ Michael Costello, Rovi … More
as Chance Boudreaux
as Emil Fouchon
as Natasha Binder
as Pik Van Cleaf
as Uncle Douvee
as Carmine Mitchell
as Mr. Lopacki
as Elijah Roper
as Shop Steward
as Randal Poe
as Police Detective
as Dr. Morton
as Ismal Zenan
as Man on the Street
as Man on the Street
as Billy Bob
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Critic Reviews for Hard Target
Though working on a Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle can be seen as a comedown for Woo, he rises to the occasion to create an often rousing entertainment that is almost inarguably Van Damme's best film to date.
A disappointing American debut of the Hong Kong cult director John Woo is a decent action vehicle by standards of its star Jean-Claude Van Damme but, hampered by a B script and flat characters, it doesn't bear Woo's auteurist signature and unique vision
Hysterically inept attempt at action filmmaking
A combo of American Honk Kong actioners that fails to show John Woo's distinctive talent
Should have been so much better.
Presenting Mr. Van Damme as reverentially as Sergio Leone did the young Clint Eastwood, Mr. Woo displays a real aptitude for malignant mischief, which is this story's stock in trade.
It may once have been a second-rate "B" picture, but John Woo turns it into something better.
Even when the acting is hammy, notably Wilford Brimley's turn as Chance's Cajun uncle, Woo stages every fight with hypnotic grace.
The result is without question the best film Van Damme has ever made. But it's also quite possibly the weakest in Woo's filmography.
Essentially, Hard Target is a risk-averse Van Damme vehicle, steered by many hands, and set on tracks leading directly to the delivery entrances of the country's video stores.
Woo, a master of stylized violence and explosive action, has had to buy into America's fascination with explosive effects and reaction. Something gets lost in the transition.
It's a nice change of pace to see a strong, competent woman in a John Woo film. If you've never heard of the man, this is your chance to see what all the buzz is about.
Its characters are poorly-developed, the plot is the pinnacle of absurdity, and the acting, at best, is well over-the-top. Nevertheless, on the most basic, visceral level, the film succeeds.
Audience Reviews for Hard Target
Director, John Woo's first American film is an action masterpiece. A fun, explosive and adrenaline-charged edge of your seat action-packed thriller. It's loaded with dark humor, bone-crunching fights and enough explosive gun-battles to keep any action fan entertained. Van Damme and Woo are a stellar team together, bringing exactly what we want. Easily one of Jean-Claude Van Damme's best films. Lance Henriksen gives a thrilling and intense performance. This is one wickedly cool and wildly entertaining action movie.More
Haha this is really silly and really tacky but again the over the top violence and ultra cool gun fights really rock ass LOL! Henriksen gives it a touch of class and really hams it up beautiully haha and Woo really loves his slow mo leaps n gun pan shots LOL!. Predictable but great fun, and a dodgy Jean Claude hair style.More
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