Of all of the dumb action flicks that I have seen, Hard Target is perhaps the easiest target of all to hit. It sits there, a bloated animal on the silver screen, waiting for some nasty critic to take pen to paper and kick it until it stops moving... and I suppose that job would fall upon yours truly.
With a film such as Hard Target, you wonder what went wrong. Sam Raimi is producing, John Woo is directing, Jean-Claude... wait... let's not mention the Belgium Waffle. Anyway, Hard Target had several items in its favor going in. It even had what is at least a decent concept: man hunting man. (sure, it was used before in the short story "The Most Dangerous Game," but who cares?) But instead of taking all of the elements it had in its favor, Hard Target decided to become an easy target for an angry critic.
This movie is not fun. This movie is not tense. This movie does not even feature anything much of the trademark idiotic romance. What this movie would be is the idiotic Hollywood formula. No one cares about quality... the investors just want their money back.
Hard Target is about Natasha (Yancy Butler)... a woman who comes to town in search of her father... only to find out her father has been hunted down and killed. Natasha is almost raped, and, since the cops are on strike (what a dumb way to try to make a film plausible), Chance (Van Damme) saves her with a few roundhouse kicks. Chance figures the mystery out, goes after the guys, and ends up being hunted himself. Of course, the actual hunting is only after an hour and a half of absolute idiocy that tries to pass as plot.
Hard Target is ludicrous, idiotic, uninspired, and just plain not worth it. It's as if John Woo hadn't bothered to learn English before getting his first job after emigrating.
Stay away -- at all costs.
Run time: 97 mins
In Theaters: Friday 20th August 1993
Box Office Worldwide: $74.2M
Distributed by: MCA Universal Home Video
Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Renaissance Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 50%
Fresh: 15 Rotten: 15
IMDB: 6.0 / 10
Director: John Woo
Screenwriter: Chuck Pfarrer
Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme as Chance Boudreaux, Arnold Vosloo as Pik van Cleef, Lance Henriksen as Emil Fouchon, Yancy Butler as Natasha Binder, Willie C. Carpenter as Elijah Roper, Eliott Keener as Randal Poe, Sven-Ole Thorsen as Stephan, Chuck Pfarrer as Douglas Binder, Robert Apisa as Mr. Lopacki, Douglas Forsythe Rye as Frick, Mike Leinert as Frack, Lenore Banks as Marie, Wilford Brimley as Uncle Douvee