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Hard Target (1993) – Blu-Ray Review

Why didn’t anyone tell me that Hard Target is so much fun?? Sure, it stars Jean-Claude Van Damme in his A-list heyday, and yes, it’s one of the legendary John Woo’s early Hollywood efforts… but why have some of us collectively swallowed the assumption that both of those are negatives? Woo’s melodramatic ballets of bullets and overwrought dove symbolism now register as work that’s quickly becoming encrusted in amber. As ‘80s steroid-y action gave way to the swifter martial arts action popular in the ‘90s, the director- so revered in his native Hong Kong- was lured, at long last, to the states. Here, Woo did not yield his best work (for that, see his native masterworks Hard Boiled, The Killer, and A Better Tomorrow), but he did manage to give the genre a much-needed

jolt. Nevertheless, as revelatory as Woo’s meticulous cool was for American eyes at the time, it’s now a part of yet another an era gone by. But doggonit, when you sit down to take in a John Woo picture, such exquisite flair should be exactly what you want. At his best, it’s that exact style of romanticized graphic novel-esque fisticuffs and firearms that the man is a master of. For a time, his aesthetic dominated action movies all around the globe. Hard Target, his American debut, looks and feels in every sense like “a John Woo movie”. Going forward in Hollywood, this would so often not altogether be the case. (See: Broken Arrow, Mission: Impossible II, Windtalkers, and the sleepy sci-fi, Paycheck).

As for Van Damme, the so-called “Muscles from Brussels”- he’s admittedly barely an actor here, but fortunately this movie does not require any deep emoting on his part. When he windmill kicks a guy in the head in slow motion, it’s a moment that is uniquely his. Hard Target, as humble as it reads in terms of budget and scope (by large Hollywood studio standards, anyhow), has such grandiosity to spare. It just so happened that Van Damme’s ascension overlapped with Woo’s arrival in the states, allowing their paths to cross via the maneuvering of one of the film’s executive producers, Sam Raimi. (Among others). The result is Hard Target– nothing more, and absolutely nothing less- than a fully rollicking, wildly entertaining action movie to watch on a weekend afternoon.

Hard Target, though, has so much more. The film makes bold, excellent use of its well-chosen New Orleans setting. With the quick establishment that the local police are currently on strike, a crew of lethal murderous sickos are even more emboldened. Their literal game is class warfare, the well-armed rich hunting the desperate and forgotten homeless in the urban open, for pure sport. As action film historians Brandon Bentley and Mike Leeder say in their recently recorded audio commentary track, it’s The Most Dangerous Game in New Orleans. But for the hunted downtrodden of the city, there’s never been anything easy about The Big Easy. As is the case with any movie, great casting is at the heart of its success. Hard Target is no different.

While the film is undeniably a Van-Damme vehicle through and through, it does take the star in some different directions within the action genre. (Namely, Woo’s directions). Woo, in his self-acknowledged talent for making his heroes look very cool, embraces the notion that flailing, whipping long hair reads extra dynamically in slow motion. (Also, it’s all the better to obscure a stunt double’s face). Van Damme, playing an unemployed combat-trained badass with a heart of gold, sports short-in-the-front/permed-in-the-back flying locks that have not aged well on screen. In her new video interview (included as a bonus feature), female lead Yancy Butler claims that Van Damme’s mullet was extensions; the historians on the commentary say it was real.

This is one point of controversy that Kino Lorber’s new special edition leaves unsorted. Yancy Butler (TV’s Witchblade) is perfectly fine in her semi-damsel role, recruiting Van Damme to help her discover the fate of her missing father. The father’s late-night murder at the hands of the ruthless hunters is the film’s bravura opening sequence. Rife with oil can explosions and great close-ups of spinning arrows zipping through the air, Hard Target gets off to an appropriately threatening start. (It’s a wonder how vicious arrows can look when being made to spin by an assumed off-frame cordless drill). Firing the arrows is a gleefully bloodthirsty Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy in 1999’s The Mummy). Vosloo’s glorified henchman is at the beck and call of villainous ringleader Lance Henriksen (Aliens).

In an era of wildly over-the-top action movie bad guys, Henriksen’s exasperated scenery chewing is among the most enjoyable. Aiding the heroes against him are a jovially lethal Wilford Brimley as Van Damme’s swamp-bound Cajun uncle, and Kasi Lemmons as a valiant detective. KL Studio Classics’ new special edition of this new 4K restoration of the unrated international cut (from a 4K scan of the original camera negative) is rendered all the more special by the company’s simultaneous release of the film on both 4K and Blu-ray disc formats. (I was only granted access to the Blu-ray edition, which looks very satisfyingly early ‘90s, and sounds fantastic).

Four new brief (ten minute-plus) video interviews were produced for this release, all of them worthwhile. Butler gives a particularly enthusiastic interview, while Woo comes off as honest and gracious. Lance Henriksen recalls all sorts of fun details about the shoot, which is impressive, considering that he’s been in roughly 4000 movies and must be at least 80 years old. Finally, stunt coordinator Billy Burton gives a good account of his work on the production, coming off as equal parts blusterer and big boss man. Finally, there’s the audio commentary. Brandon Bentley and Mike Leeder (who also works in Asian casting and occasionally acts) have a great rapport, zig-zagging their way in out of numerous fascinating rabbit holes as they guide us through Hard Target scene by scene.

(We even learn things completely unrelated to Hard Target; for example, Shang-Chi is full of CGI facial replacement). There’s much talk of numerous alternate cuts of Hard Target that have apparently been floating around for decades. (A rough workprint cut, John Woo’s director’s cut, the unrated international cut that we have here, and the truncated U.S. theatrical release- none of which contain an oft-discussed inexplicable sex scene. If there’s a disappointment in this release for fans, the omission of all other cuts would likely be it. For me, though, simply having this opportunity to finally catch up with this absolute blast of a New Orleans actioner hits the target, right in the bullseye.

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The Ultimate List of the Best Action Movie Hero Names

Arnold Schwarzenegger (aka “Arnie”, “The Austrian Oak”, or “The Govenator”) is an ultimate action movie legend of the first class. Both a former Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia champion bodybuilder and former Governor of California, Arnold has risen to the highest levels of worldly success.

Born in Thal, Styria, Austria, Arnold made his breakthrough into Hollywood action movies originally in sword-and-sorcery with Conan the Barbarian and in sci-fi with The Terminator, early roles which let him hide his thick accent and lack of American acting experience.

However, Arnold quickly found his niche and would go on to helm some of the most critically and commercially successful action movie blockbusters of all time. Including Terminator 2: Judgement Day and the Terminator Series, Commando, Predator, Total Recall and True Lies to name a few. While he has eased up in later years to pursue public office, his legacy remains Arnold strong!

Watch more Arnold Schwarzenegger clips here!

Arnold Schwarzenegger Articles

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American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (1991) Biography, Plot, Trailer

American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (1991)
American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (1991)

American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (1991)

American Ninja 4: The Annihilation is a 1991 American martial arts action film starring Michael Dudikoff, David Bradley, and James Booth. A sequel to American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt (1989), it is the fourth installment in the American Ninja franchise, followed by American Ninja V and was directed by Cedric Sundstrom. The film marked Michael Dudikoff’s final appearance in the American Ninja franchise.

American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (1991)


A Delta Force unit attempts to escape from a pursuing group of ninja in a foreign country but most are killed and the rest are captured. The secret Ninja Army is headed by Colonel Scarf Mulgrew) an ex-British policeman and anti-American who has joined with Shiekh Ali Maksood, a Muslim militant, who plans to bring a suitcase nuke to New York. Mulgrew threatens to burn the commandos alive and use the nuke unless he is paid a ransom of 50 million dollars. Agents Sean Davidson and Carl Brackston are sent on a covert mission to rescue the prisoners and defeat the terrorists.


New York Ninja (2021) Biography, Production, Release, Trailer

Sean and Carl parachute in and meet their contact Pango. While gathering information from a local operative named Freddie, they are confronted by Mulgrew and the corrupt local police headed by O’Reilly. Freddie is killed by Mulgrew but Sean, Carl, and Pango escape. Pango takes them to Dr. Sarah a Peace Corps nurse who hides them from the police. Soon after ninjas attack, capturing Sean, Carl and Sarah alive while Pango escapes, and imprisoning them in an old British fort to be tortured by Mulgrew. Mulgrew assaults Sarah and later it is revealed Mulgrew killed her father.


  • Michael Dudikoff as Agent Joe Armstrong
  • David Bradley as Agent Sean Davidson
  • Dwayne Alexandre as Agent Carl Brackston
  • Robin Stille as Dr. Sarah[3]
  • Ken Gampu as Dr. Tamba
  • James Booth as Colonel Scarf Mulgrew
  • Ron Smerczak as Shiekh Ali Maksood
  • Frantz Dobrowsky as Captain O’Reilly
  • Kely McClung as Super Ninja
  • Jody Abrahams as Pango
  • Anthony Fridjhon as Freddie / Treddle
  • David Sherwood as Gavin
  • Sean Kelly as Norris
  • Jamie Bartlett as Segal
  • John Pasternak as Carlos
  • Robin B. Smith as Schultz
  • Shane Safi as Little Special School Child

The post American Ninja 4: The Annihilation (1991) Biography, Plot, Trailer appeared first on martial-arts-viral-news.

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Will Smith CONFRONTS Jim Carrey For HUMILIATING Him On Live TV

Get ready for the ultimate showdown! In this explosive video, Will Smith confronts Jim Carrey after being publicly humiliated on live TV.

The two Hollywood legends have a long-standing rivalry, but things came to a head after Jim’s controversial comments about Will during an interview.
With tensions running high, Will finally has the opportunity to confront Jim face-to-face and demand an apology.

But will Jim be able to make amends for his insulting remarks, or will this confrontation only escalate the feud further?
Watch now to find out!

Here on Just In we are all about the latest spill in Hollywood! You can rest assured that we will bring you all the latest celebrity drama and gossip especially concerning your favorite actors! We´ll also make sure to keep you updated on the newest movie updates and releases – so if you are interested in anything that happens in Hollywood, you should make sure to stay tuned!

And there you have it guys! We hope you enjoyed the video! If you did please consider leaving a like and telling us what you thought in the comments!
But will Jim be able to make amends for his insulting remarks, or will this confrontation only escalate the feud further?
Watch now to find out!

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