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Hard Target (1993)

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A woman hires a drifter as her guide through New Orleans in search of her father, who has gone missing. They discover a deadly game of cat and mouse behind his disappearance in the process.



4,840 ( 67)
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Apisa ...
Mr. Lopacki (as Bob Apisa)
Douglas Rye ...
Frick (as Douglas Forsythe Rye)
Mike Leinert ...
Frack (as Michael D. Leinert)
Elijah Roper (as Willie Carpenter)
Barbara Tasker ...
Det. Marie Mitchell
Randy Cheramie ...
Shop Steward
Eliott Keener ...


Natasha Binder comes to New Orleans looking for her father, who has gone missing. In doing so, she meets a very hard man called Chance. He helps her find out that her father was killed by an organisation who sell the opportunity to hunt human prey. They are taking advantage of a police strike in New Orleans. Will the Muscles from Brussels win through? Written by John Hartnup <hartnupj@cs.aston.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Don't hunt what you can't kill. See more »


Action | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a great amount of strong violence, and for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

20 August 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hard Target: Operación cacería  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,106,500, 20 August 1993

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut) | (unrated) | (Workprint Version)

Sound Mix:

(4 channels)|


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Chuck Pfarrer had the story take place in New Orleans to give an explanation of Jean-Claude Van Damme's accent. See more »


A normal hand grenade will not take as long time to explode as the one that Boudreaux uses on Fouchon. See more »


[first lines]
Douglas Binder: [trying to open a locked door] Please...
See more »


Referenced in Jean-Claude Van Johnson: Pilot (2016) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

It's like a drug isn't it, to bring a man down?
13 March 2013 | by See all my reviews

Hard Target is directed by John Woo and written by Chuck Pfarrer. It stars Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lance Henriksen, Yancy Butler, Arnold Vosloo and Wilford Brimley. Music is by Graeme Revell and cinematography by Russell Carpenter.

New Orleans and ex-merchant marine Chance Boudreaux (Damme) is struggling to gain employment on account of some muscular indiscretions. However, after saving Natasha Binder (Butler) from the hands of robbers, he is offered some work by her that pays handsomely. The task is to find out where her father is, a homeless ex-forces man who has mysteriously disappeared. It's a search that leads them to a sick urban safari being run by Emil Fouchon (Henriksen), the prey? Man!

After pushing the boundaries of action cinema in Hong Kong, it was only a matter of time before John Woo got lured to America to dabble in the dollar. Hard Target was his first American movie, which in spite of the studio being nervous about his hiring (Sam Raimi was on standby should it implode) and cuts being made on demand for a certificate rating to open it up to a wider audience, it worked out well. It was a financial success, even though there was the inevitable mixed reviews from critics and today it rightly is held in high regard amongst action movie die- hards.

OK! Nobody could seriously claim it's a titan of cinema, it's an absurd story derived from The Most Dangerous Game, the acting is of the usual Van Damme kick assery standard (JC pouts and mumbles, Butler is terrible, Brimley is miscast, Henriksen so over the top we almost lose him from our vision) and preposterousness reaches new levels. Yes it's a dumb fun action movie where leaving the brain at the door is a requisite. But what action delights await the faithful, what grace and style does Woo bring to the mayhem, it's a visceral thriller that once it gets the plot initiations out of the way, unleashes beautiful carnage that thunders the chest royally.

Can violence be lyrical? In Woo's hands yes, certainly. The action film is one of the most maligned in cinema, but there is great artistry to many of them, to that end Hard Target scores incredibly high. The stunt work is amazing, the choreography of the fight scenes, with Van Damme showing his wonderful skills, are exquisite sights for the action film fan. Woo's tricks involving slow-mo, freeze frames and juddering close ups all get worked out here, quite often forming part of another ballet of bloodshed. Woo and Van Damme were a good fit, the film rocks for those so inclined for such kinetic malarkey, and not even The Muscles from Brussels' mullet can spoil the enjoyment. 7.5/10

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