Hard Target (1993)

“Don’t hunt what you can’t kill”


Natasha Binder played Yancy Butler searches for her missing father in New Orleans. To her aid comes our hero drifter Chance Boudreaux played Jean Claude Van Damme.

Yancy Butler i Hard Target

The main villain Emil Fouchon played by Lance Henriksen along with his partner Pik Van Cleef played by Arnold Vosloo offers a service to rich clients to hunt people in a cat & mouse game. Homeless men with a military background are being targeted as they are good challenging prey.

Arnold & Lance

Jean Claude Van Damme was on top of the world in 1993. He made Universal Soldier previous year which was a box office hit, Van Damme was now a big bankable star. He transferred from lower budget films like Kickboxer & Lionheart to big studio projects.

John Woo was brought from Hong Kong to America to make his first Hollywood feature. JC was a fan of his work and wanted to work with him. Woo had made such classics like Better Tomorrow & Hard Boiled in Hong Kong. He didn’t know English well and this was the first time Chinese director was making Hollywood picture.

Jean Claude Van Damme & John Woo

Universal execs were worried so they put producer Sam Raimi to look after filming in case problems arise.

Chuck Pharrer wrote the screenplay on the basis of film Most Dangerous Game in 1932.

The movie is visually astonishing. Action scenes are beautifully choreographed, Van Damme has never looked so good on screen. His slow motion kicks are beautiful to watch. His character is a mysterious hero with not much to say, he and his mullet are memorable. Woo really did an awesome job with portraying Van Damme’s character and making him look extra good.


Action scenes shot from multiple angles are like ballet, fascinating to watch. Film has a lot of violence, like in Woo films but lots of it was cut down for an American audience, still waiting for the directors cut.

Jean Claude Van Damme kicking a guy off the motorcycle

I love Lance Henriksen, he has such charisma, he is menacing and cool on screen, the perfect villain. Arnold Vosloo before Mummy movies has also that bad guy look and charisma. They both play off each other, they have amazing chemistry together.

Yancy Butler has that sweet innocence about her, this was her first big movie, she is beautiful and is perfect as a Van Damme’s sidekick. They apparently had a love interest in a film but it was cut out from the theatrical version, I would like to see that…

To this day, the movie looks good, a 90s movie that has stood the test of time. They don’t have many movies like this. It’s entertaining, it has heart, action, memorable scenes, great villains, a hero.

It’s everything an action movie should be. In my opinion, it is the best Jean Claude Van Damme film, it’s a such a shame that Woo and he never worked together again. Apparently Van Damme had a big ego, had his own vision about the direction of the film and even recut the movie with editor cutting some scenes with Henriksen. As much as I love Face Off I think this is Woo´s best American film.

Hard Target 2 with Scott Adkins will be released from Universal in september!

Lance Henriken & Jean Claude van Damme in Hard Target

This movie works even if you are not a fan of Jean Claude Van Damme, it’s a great adventure and unique action film from a unique director.

Rent it on Amazon


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