Hard Target


Hard Target

Critics Consensus

Hard Target gets a boost from John Woo's stylish direction, but at heart, it's still another silly, explosion-dependent action thriller in the Jean-Claude Van Damme oeuvre.



Total Count: 32


Audience Score

User Ratings: 35,799
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Movie Info

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


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Critic Reviews for Hard Target

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (15)

  • 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

    Oct 10, 2006 | Rating: C+

    Emanuel Levy

    Top Critic
  • It's what Hollywood wanted Woo for: bigger, brighter explosions.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Aug 30, 2004
  • Even when the acting is hammy, notably Wilford Brimley's turn as Chance's Cajun uncle, Woo stages every fight with hypnotic grace.

    May 12, 2001
  • 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.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Hard Target

  • Sep 06, 2013
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Jun 06, 2012
    What do you get when you combine the master of action John Woo and a Belgium Martial Artist Jean-Claude Van Damme? You get a stupid over the top action movie that's actually kind of enjoyable action movie. Hard Target is about Chance (Van Damme) who's hire by a woman to look for her missing father and discover a human hunting game behind his disappearance. I know you're probably thinking I'm crazy enjoying a Van Damme movie that's so stupid and over the top, but that's where most of the fun comes. Sure it does have some stupid moment, like how Van Damme punches a snake killing it and biting off its tail for a trap and then the snake comes back to life when a henchman steps on a trap. You will only see something that ridiculous in a Van Damme movie, and he's also the only guy I've seen so far that unloads an entire gun clip on one guy and does a roundhouse kick to finish the job. Unlike most of Van Damme movies, Hard Target actually does a decent job giving Van Damme some cool moments with a so-so story that's actually tolerable. The story is not well written to be honest, but it gets the job done and that's what ultimately counts. If you're going into Hard Target expecting a complex action flick with a decent story you're going to be disappointed. Instead go into Hard Target and have some over the top fun. I give credit to John Woo for quickly paying homage to one mine of personal favorite, Reservoir Dog, with a quick ear cutting scene and for making one of the few Van Dame movies worth your time. As you could expect the action is well done as with any John Woo movie (except Paycheck) and Van Damme is enjoyable, though some will laugh at his mallet. Now you could complain the supporting cast does a better job in acting department than Van Damme, but I certainly haven't see any of the supporting cast balancing on a top of a motorcycle with oil leaking, crashing it into a truck, surviving the crash, and blowing up the truck. Now there are some occasions of Van Damme speaking English poorly, but he's certainly more entertaining than Steven Seagal to be honest. Unlike Steven Seagal who come out to invincible in his movies, Van Damme actually does get hurt in his movies and you could actually tell Van Damme trying to change facial expression unlike Seagal who has the same expression in every got Damme (pun intended) movie. Hard Target is certainly nothing special in the action genre, but it is better than most of John Woo and Jean-Claude Van Damme American movies to be fair. If you're into the mood for some over the top fun that you could sit through and pass the time, Hard Target is definitely the movie for you.
    Caesar M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 14, 2011
    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.
    Al S Super Reviewer
  • Jul 01, 2010
    Van Damme has one Badass haircut...but otherwise...a pretty average movie
    Martin S Super Reviewer

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