ActionMartial Arts

Hard Target

Hard TargetA deadly game is afoot in the dark streets of the Big Easy, where New Orleans is now the hunting ground of the rich, who are looking for that most converted of trophy all, a live human kill. With the police on strike and the general public oblivious to the goings on, who will stand in their way before another victim is chosen for their next hunt?

Natasha ‘ your parents named you after a bug’ ‘Nat’ Binder (Yancy ButlerDrop Zone and Kick-Ass) is trying to find her estranged father after she lost contact with him through his regular letters to her.

High kicking slow-mo action, John Woo styleOut of her depth on the hard streets of New Orleans she starts to gain the attention of the local hoods in the area after waving around a large wodge of cash in a nearby diner. The same diner where Chance Boudreaux (Jean-Claude Van DammeLegionnaire and Maximum Risk), an out of work sailor who is try to blag a free meal, has also noticed Nat’s cash but has also noticed the local crims that have spotted the ‘Easy Target’. You can see where this is going already, to our first piece of trademark John Woo (Hard Boiled and A Better Tomorrow II) action.

Boudreaux, comes to the rescue of Nat with trademark slow-mos, flapping coats but no doves (as yet) of John Woo, after being confronted by the locals. She is sent on her way by Boudreaux, shaken but un harmed to the local police.

Nat arrives at the police to file a missing persons report for her father, but on arrival finds them on strike (a very handy script device), all but one, Det. Marie Mitchell (Kasi LemmonsCandyman and The Silence of the Lambs). Your typical ‘one good apple in a barrel of duds’, working alone in a empty office celebrating her birthday all alone.

After a brief chat with Det. Mitchell, Nat is told she’s better off looking for herself, though with the aid of a guide, and who better to guide her around the streets but Boudreaux.

After asking a few questions around town the pair are starting to piece together what’s being going on and with the appearance of Nat’s father’s burnt body, the clues are pointing towards the fact he was murdered, but by whom?

Pik just out shotting the breezeEnter stage left, the villain of the piece, Emil Fouchon (the excellent Lance HenriksenAliens and No Escape ) and his trusted man friend Pik van Cleef (Arnold VoslooThe Mummy and Darkman II: The Return of Durant). It seems Fouchon & Pik have been luring drifters and loners into a deadly game for the enjoyment of the rich. A game that Nat’s father fell into and didn’t survive.

As Nat and Boudreaux start asking more questions about what’s been going on, Fouchon feels the need to turn up the pressure on the two of them as well as clean house. As the action mounts through a number of well crafted set-pieces the inevitable showdown is required, with slow-mo ago-go and doves aplenty the bayou is ready to explode, literally.

There's nothing like a good piece of southern fried ....A top film, which had JCVD on the brink of superstardom and introduced the wider world to the ‘joys’ or ‘frustrations’ of John Woo films. A special note has to be made for Wilford Brimley (Cocoon and The Thing) as Boudreaux’s Uncle Douvee, who lights up the screen for the brief moment he is in the film, especially for his hilarious Creole/French accent.

Those new to John Woo films will think they are having a stroke during the film with the amount over the top slow-mo, put it’s all part of the fun of a film such as this and as time goes by you start to count how many John Woo trademarks you can spot, it makes a good drinking game, so enjoy.

Cast

Jean-Claude Van Damme … Chance Boudreaux

Lance Henriksen … Emil Fouchon

Yancy Butler … Natasha ‘Nat’ Binder

Wilford Brimley … Uncle Douvee

Kasi Lemmons … Det. Marie Mitchell

Arnold Vosloo … Pik van Cleef

Directed By … John Woo

Fact

The ear-cutting scene was included by director John Woo as a friendly homage to Reservoir Dogs (1992), which included a trademark Woo “Mexican Standoff”.

Trailer

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Adam Akers