Jeans-Clad Van Damme is a Hard Target no??!?


Quietly seated in the lounge of a nice downtown hotel in Jakarta, I was trying to look a bit like those other gentlemen with a business agenda. The problem was within moments one of the butlers switched on the TV and there it was – the movie I’ve seen a thousand times since I was 13, Jean Claude Van Damme’s Hard Target! This movie never dies, it gets all the more ridiculous each time I watch it, yet I do watch it again and again.

I love this movie!!! I remember heading down to the video library after school, 3rd time that week cause the movie was rented out, and running back with the VHS tape to make the most of the 24 hours rent!! John Woo (then so very unknown) made his mark with the Action in this movie which probably set the precedent for all the movies that followed.

Jean Claude Van Damme was running high those days, yet John Woo showed a different side of him. The slow motion scenes (there are tons) are now so typical of John Woo and these days, non-Woo films too. The story was really a no brainer: girl looking for lost dad, hires out of work Jean Claude, vengeance, gangs, some weird scam of leather wearing urban commandos hunting down poor people and making a game of it, etc etc. Forget the story; really its laughable. In fact some scenes and stunts are too much to fathom, yet the movie is great on its action scenes.

Cmon its a movie for teenagers! A typical Hollywood run of the mill Masala types!!

First one:
Awesome background music (another reason this one rocks), the scene where Jean Claude (slowly) moves his coat to the side to show his jean-clad (wow! pun intended) leg then go flying kick into a goon’s face followed by mindless shooting and car chasing and what have you.

Another one:
Downhill on the bridge, JCVD on the bike hands-free,  standing and shooting towards the oncoming bad guys in trucks. Ooh oh followed by a jump onto the train and out of sight with Ms Yancy Butler (I fell in love with her! Those eyes…!).

Among the memorable scenes was the snake-over-Yancy’s-shoulder when on the run and later when JCVD checks out the “old shotgun” from his Uncle Douvee’s attic. The camera angles to capture a simple moment of faint dust clouds when JCVD cocks the gun! Neat! The background score in those moments makes the scene worth watching again. Some fine moments in movie making from Mr John Woo.

Not much on dialogues, yet Hard Target is a cult classic thanks to its no nonsense lets-get-on-with-the-crazy-action scenes. This one’s a keeper. They’ll show Hard Target on HBO and wherever a 100 times more. They just did!

PS: You’ll notice there’s that guy-from-The-Mummy too, Arnold “hasnt-this-guy-aged?” Vosloo !!!

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About Archan B

I read. I write. I am literate. And I wish there were more literate people in the world who could then express themselves in beautiful words of prose and poetry.

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