Man Movie Encyclopedia – Hard Target

Hard Target
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Hard TargetYear: 1993
Director: John Woo
Star: Jean Claude Van Damme
“Catch Him If You Can”

Man truly is the most dangerous game. Unless of course he’s an old homeless man who’s being chased by 20 or so guys in cars & motorcycles whilst being heavily armed with automatics, shotguns, and crossbows. Then, I’d say it’s down-graded from most dangerous to some where around cock-blocker. The guy is shot down with an arrow, and then his body is burnt along with a building, in order to make it look like an accident.

Meanwhile, his daughter, Natasha, comes to town looking for him. On her quest, she stops at a bar, and makes the mistake of flashing a wad of money. Once outside, a few no-good-knicks make plans to hassle her, taking her money without the exchange of goods or services. A man in a trench coat & permed mullet, named Chance, takes exception to this and beats the holy hell out of them. Afterwards, she hires Chance as her guide to the sights of New Orleans, in hopes of finding her father. It doesn’t take long for the smoking remnants of her father to be found, and Chance believes that there’s more to it.

After finding Nat’s father’s other dog-tag, he realizes that it was a murder, and they’re off to the races. The cops start going back over the case, causing the guys who run this little operation to feel the need to pick it up and move along. The two peeps in charge are Emil Fouchon [Lance Henriksen] and his muscle, Van Cleaf [Arnold Vosloo]. Van Cleaf takes pleasure in his work, cutting off people’s hears, killing innocent peeps, and doin’ rocking things like shooting a guy through his peep hole. That’s why whenever there’s a knock at my door, the girlfriend looks to see who it is.

Well, Chance and the cop he’s working with decide to visit a guy who hires homeless peeps to pass out flyers. Problem is, he’s had his head blown off by a shot gun, courtesy of Van Cleaf. They’re in luck though, as he’s still in the neighborhood and opens fire. The cop goes down, but Chance is spry and ready. After a bit of a chase, we’re bore witness to the most bad-ass scene of all time, and something that I try and do every single day of my life. If I never succeed, then my kids will carry the torch and try to make it happen for me. So, as it is, Chance is cornered. Coming at him is a Bronco that’s loaded down with 3 guys who are all packing automatic weapons. All Chance has is a 9mm, a few clips, and is sitting on a motorcycle that’s leaking gas. He drives straight toward the Bronco, stands up on his motorcycle, dumps the clip at the truck, crashes into it, rolls along the hood, lands in a crouch, dumps another clip, and BLOWS THE VAN UP! I mean, are you f’ning kidding me?! Why didn’t this scene alone win the Academy Award in 1993 for Best Picture? Not the movie. Just this scene. This should be our national anthem for crying out loud. Unbelievable

Well, despite this, the baddies just keep on coming. So, Chance heads out to the bayou, punches out a snake, and meets up with his Uncle. He’s given a shotgun & horse, and gives chase all the way to what appears to be an abandoned building/parade float storage. Once inside, we’re treated to one of the greatest 3rd acts in action movie history. Chances takes out an army of guys with spin kicks, grenades, and tons of bullets. It’s awesome, because he doesn’t just shoot a bad-guy once. Each baddie gets like, one to two clips dumped into them each. It’s fantastic. There’s so much going on, I literally had to watch it in 15 second intervals just to make sure I was able to make accurate counts. Absolutely brilliant stuff. John Woo is an f’ing artist. .

 

Man Movie Encyclopedia Tally:
1-Liners:
3
Guys Beat Up: 8
Guys Killed: 33
Swear Words: 19
Boobs: 2
Explosions: 24
Slow-Motion Scenes: 218
Car Chases: 1
Chases on Foot: 3
Broken Bones: 1
Fight at a Motel? No
Guy Get Girl? Yes
Guy Smoke Cigarettes? No

 

1-Liners:
[Chance got his ass kicked, then is arrested]
Chance: Why did you arrest me for, getting beat up without a license?

[Chance kills a dude with a flashy shirt]
Chance: Sorry about the shirt.
Emil: What made you want to complicate my life like this?
Chance: Poor people get bored too.

 

Man-Facts:

Kurt Russell was considered for the lead-role, before Universal’s first choice of Van Damme was brought on board.

7 times John Woo had to edit it before the lame-asses at the MPAA gave it an R rating.

Sam Raimi is listed as a Producer, but was sent in just in case John Woo didn’t perform up to expectations.

 

Box-Office Business:
Released by Universal Studios on a budget of $19.5 million dollars, Hard Target was released on August 20th, 1993, in 1,972 theaters. It came in at #2 for the weekend, with a total of $10,106,500. Once the theatrical run was over, it ended up bringing in $74,189,677.

 

C’mon Bennet, Let’s Party!:
Man. You want action? One need only look at Hard Target. I think it might be the most action packed film I’ve ever seen. It damn near seems like the last half of the film is nothing but pure action. Multiple chases, shoot outs, explosions, fights, anything and everything you could ever ask for. The Southern setting is great, because it’s something we don’t see a lot of. Most action takes place in urban settings, but the backwoods, small-town location of Hard Target fits it to a T. Van Damme is as great as he ever is, and with Woo behind him, there’s nothing left to the imagination. Henrisken turns in a great performance, as it’s easily one of his best. He’s absolutely maniacal, and takes true pleasure in what he does. Vosloo is great too, as his sadistic right-hand man, and you wait the whole film for him and Van Damme to have their time together. One hell of a film.

5 Head-Butts Out Of 5

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About the Author

Caliber Winfield
Caliber "Nickname" Winfield is a writer from the Pacific Northwest who in one day was mistaken for both Dwayne Johnson & Spider-Man. He currently runs Str8 Gangster, No Chaser [scrublife.wordpress.com] a site where he loudly announces his displeasure for Chuck Lorre sitcoms, and his love for the original Karate Kid trilogy. He also has a book available for sale on amazon.com, The Man Movie Encyclopedia Vol. 1. It's been endorsed by New York Times Best-Selling author Maddox, and has received only 5 star reviews. He also street fights for money like Jean-Claude in Lionheart.
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