Hard Target was John Woo's first American action film, and it's pretty good. Van Damme isn't a very good actor, I know, but he really knows how to pull off stunts and be a cool action hero, so this is probably one of his better performances. The movie has a pretty interesting plot, involving Van Damme as Chance Boudreaux who helps a girl named Natasha find her missing father, who they don't know was hunted down in event of a dangerous, deadly game that Fouchon and henchmen play for sport. As they discover the truth, Fouchon and his men come onto them and soon they are both targets for assasination. This movie had some stunning action sequences, violence, and cinematography thanks to director John Woo.
Though, people often criticize how Universal Studios sort of butchered the film as the studio found the first few cuts of the film to be too violent and were given an NC-17 rating. Therefore, a lot of material was cut for an R rating and therfore a lot of John Woo elements were removed, therefore making the film seem more like a Van Damme film. Having the pleasure of actually viewing the NC-17 workprint, a lot of great extra material was in this workprint, and I fail to see why a lot of scenes were cut or not included in the theatrical cut, and all this extra material contains a lot of John Woo elements that would've made Hard Target a better movie.
Overall, I still like the final product of Hard Target. It's still great, but only after viewing the workprint, the theatrical cut feels more cut down. It stands out amongst the other typical action films though, and it really does have some cool kick to it. Give the movie a try, and if you really like it, I recommmend viewing the workprint for extra material (but DON'T watch the workprint first!). I give the theatrical version of Hard Target a 7.5 out of 10, but if it were to contain the extra worthy material found in the workprint, I'd give it an 8.5 out of 10. I know that rating may seem high for a Van Damme film, but I give it that rating only because I love the John Woo style that it has and that Lance Henriksen and Arnold Vosloo were actually great as the antagonists in the film..
FINAL VERDICT: 7.5 out of 10