Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Film Review: Hard Target (1993)

Hard Target (Review)
United States/1993
Format Viewed for Review: Showtime
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It's cheesy, it's fun, and it has Van Damme in it. What more could you ask for?"

A woman hires a drifter to help her find her missing father, but the pair discovers a dangerous game during their investigation...

Hard Target follows Natasha Binder (Yancy Butler), a young woman who's searching for her estranged father. She discovers that her father has been homeless for some time and she hires Chance Boudreaux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), another homeless man, to help her find him. To their dismay, they discover that Natasha's father was murdered. On top of that, they discover he was killed for a game—a game where wealthy men pay to hunt homeless people through the streets of New Orleans. The story is fairly simple, but it works. It leads to an action-packed third act and a great but abrupt ending.


Hard Target is a very fun film. It has a few slow moments, but it's otherwise an exciting experience. The plot is simple but effective. However, it really shines because of its genuine cheesiness. I emphasis genuine because a lot of films nowadays try to replicate the old-school cheesiness of movies like this and they never feel authentic—they feel like copies. In this case, the cheesy atmosphere is fantastic. You can't help but smile during those scenes where the film tries to show you how damn cool Chance is. Of course, the film has some stellar action sequences, too. The first hour might not be as action-packed, but the last thirty minutes or so are ridiculous. The chaos is beautiful.

The acting is good. Yancy Butler delivered a strong performance. Jean-Claude Van Damme is also great. His delivery, his screen presence, his charm... This is Van Damme in his prime, although this may not be his best film. The film was shot well, too. The camerawork, especially during the action sequences, is great. The slow-motion may be a little too much, though. The film was written by Chuck Pfarrer and directed by John Woo. The story could have been cut down a bit at certain times, but it was otherwise decent. John Woo, as usual, excels at creating bullet hells—yeah, like the game genre.

Overall, Hard Target is a very good action movie. It's cheesy, it's fun, and it has Van Damme in it. What more could you ask for? It's not as good as Hard Boiled, but it's much better than Hardcore Henry.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood.

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