"Now take your pig stick and your boyfriend, and find a bus to catch."
The first film that John Woo
made in Hollywood after leaving Hong Kong, Hard Target
starts off with a homeless man fleeing attackers on motorcycles, before being shot down just before he escapes across a river. Cut to three weeks later, when Natasha Binder (played by Yancy Butler) is looking for her father deep in the heart of New Orleans. Jean-Claude Van Damme
... sorry, "Chance" Boudreaux, saves her from a gang. Natasha, after being told that the police won't be able to find her father, hires Chance to protect her as she investigates. Soon, the pair find out about a secret "hunting" ring, led by Big Bad
Emil Fouchon (Lance Henriksen
) and Professional Killer
Pik Van Cleaf (Arnold Vosloo) and must turn the tables on the hunters.
The movie is chock-full of John Woo's signature style, especially in the action scenes. Slo-mo, motorcycles exploding, and pigeons abound as Van Damme kicks and shoots dozens of mooks
. All while sporting a mullet. And being aided by Wilford Brimley. Needless to say, there are some who consider it So Bad, It's Good
, completely awful, genuinely awesome, or somewhere in between all three.
This film provides examples of:
- Attempted Rape: The thugs who rob Natasha also try to rape her too. Boudreaux intervenes.
- Bad Ass Grandpa: Wilford Brimley, believe it or not, playing Van Damme's Uncle Douvet.
- Bad Ass Longcoat: Applies to both Chance, and Emil Fouchon (the Big Bad).
- The Big Bad: Emil Fouchon, who runs the hunting ring.
- The Big Easy
- Bottomless Magazines: One of the guns Chance acquires has an extended magazine, justifying this to a degree.
- Butt Monkey: Randall Poe, full stop.
- Cigar Chomper: Stephan, one of the hunters that Fouchon brings in to hunt Boudreaux.
- Cool Old Guy: Uncle Douvet
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The unarmed prey vs. a team of hunters with vehicles and firearms.
- Death by Cameo: The homeless veteran who gets killed during the opening action sequence? (later reavealed to be Douglas Binder, father to Nat Binder) Writer and co-producer Chuck Pfarrer.
- Dramatic Gun Cock
- The Dragon: Pik Van Cleaf is this to Emil Fouchon, the Big Bad.
- Disposable Vagrant: Fouchon and Van Cleaf target homeless veterans. Chance and Natasha aim to prove that they are not disposable.
- Disturbed Doves
- The Drifter: Chance Boudreaux.
- Evil Is Burning Hot: There's a lot of fire imagery used for the Big Bad.
- Eye Scream: Someone gets shot in the eye while looking through a peephole in the door.
- Gangsta Style: A mook gets dispatched this way, with the gun being held upside-down in the left hand and the trigger being pulled with the forefinger of the right.
- Groin Attack: Van Damme finishes off The Big Bad this way. Using a grenade.
- Guns Akimbo: Duh. It's a John Woo movie.
- Gun Fu: Multiple times, Chance gives combatants a roundhouse after emptying half a magazine into their center mass, point-blank range.
- Hand Cannon. The Big Bad's Thompson Center Contender.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: What most of the plot is centered around.
- The Killer Becomes the Killed
- Oh Crap: "Whoops." *Boom!*
- Out of the Inferno: Used lots of times. It's a John Woo movie. Duh.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Uncle Douvee shows promise at first, but his French accent degrades quickly, at times almost sounding Indian.
- Parental Substitute: Uncle Douvet to Chance.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Hunting season... is over."
- Professional Killer: Van Cleaf prides himself on being one of these.
- Shout-Out: Pik Van Cleaf is named after Lee Van Cleef.
- Stuff Blowing Up: In spades.
- Unflinching Walk: Repeat after me - It's a John Woo movie.
- Villainous Breakdown: Fouchon gets more aggravated as the hunt for Boudreaux goes on, culminating with Pik's death.
- Villainous Widow's Peak: Pik Van Cleaf.
- Wicked Cultured: Fouchon, as evident by his intensive piano playing.