Hard Target (1993)

R | 97 mins | Drama, Adventure | 20 August 1993

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HISTORY

       On 13 Sep 1991, Screen International announced that Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo had agreed to direct his first U.S. feature film for Universal Pictures, a “modern” adaptation of Richard Connell’s 1924 short story, The Most Dangerous Game, which had previously been made into several motion pictures, including a 1932 feature of the same name, 1945’s A Game of Death, and 1956’s Run for the Sun (see entries).
       A 6 Oct 1992 HR production chart stated that principal photography began 1 Oct 1992 in New Orleans, LA, with a production budget that the 24 Aug 1992 Var estimated at $20 million. A 14 Jul 1992 DV brief suggested Jean-Claude Van Damme, who was busy filming several projects under a contract with Columbia Pictures, had negotiated to raise his Hard Target salary to $3.5 million. The 27 Jul 1992 Var stated that Malcolm McDowell was originally considered to play “Fouchon” before Lance Henriksen was cast in the role.
       Following the completion of production, an 11 Jun 1993 HR article reported that the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) had filed an “Article 20” complaint against Universal, accusing the studio of intentionally evading IATSE’s union contract by financing the picture while claiming funds were independently provided through the non-union company, S&R Productions. Although this contributed to IATSE’s suggestion that major studios frequently set up small production companies to “front” their productions, the article pointed out an Article 20 “loophole,” which allowed Universal to make finance and distribution transactions provided that they were considered “bona fide.” The grievance was expected ... More Less

       On 13 Sep 1991, Screen International announced that Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo had agreed to direct his first U.S. feature film for Universal Pictures, a “modern” adaptation of Richard Connell’s 1924 short story, The Most Dangerous Game, which had previously been made into several motion pictures, including a 1932 feature of the same name, 1945’s A Game of Death, and 1956’s Run for the Sun (see entries).
       A 6 Oct 1992 HR production chart stated that principal photography began 1 Oct 1992 in New Orleans, LA, with a production budget that the 24 Aug 1992 Var estimated at $20 million. A 14 Jul 1992 DV brief suggested Jean-Claude Van Damme, who was busy filming several projects under a contract with Columbia Pictures, had negotiated to raise his Hard Target salary to $3.5 million. The 27 Jul 1992 Var stated that Malcolm McDowell was originally considered to play “Fouchon” before Lance Henriksen was cast in the role.
       Following the completion of production, an 11 Jun 1993 HR article reported that the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) had filed an “Article 20” complaint against Universal, accusing the studio of intentionally evading IATSE’s union contract by financing the picture while claiming funds were independently provided through the non-union company, S&R Productions. Although this contributed to IATSE’s suggestion that major studios frequently set up small production companies to “front” their productions, the article pointed out an Article 20 “loophole,” which allowed Universal to make finance and distribution transactions provided that they were considered “bona fide.” The grievance was expected to be evaluated in a meeting between IATSE, S&R Productions, and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP), but the outcome of the dispute could not be determined.
       Due to several successful test screenings, the 24 May 1993 DV reported that Universal decided to reschedule the fall 1993 release date for 20 Aug 1993, in order to compete in the summer market. According to the 9 Aug 1993 Var, promotional billboards depicting the tagline, “Hunting Season Opens August 20,” allegedly caused confusion for Georgia deer and game hunters who did not realize the advertisement was for a film. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources was forced to issue a statement reminding citizens that hunting season would not begin until later that year.
       On 8 Jul 1993, DV reported that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Classifications and Ratings Board had “tentatively bestowed” an NC-17 rating due to the large number of deaths depicted onscreen. Although Woo’s previous Hong Kong films had been shown in U.S. art house theaters as unrated or X-rated pictures, producers James Jacks and Sean Daniel, and executive producers Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert were “contractually obligated” to complete the film with an R rating. After several edits, the 29 Jul 1993 DV announced that Woo had removed roughly three minutes of footage for an R-rated theatrical cut. Contemporary sources indicate that later Blu-ray releases maintained the R rating, but included the more violent footage that was excised from the theatrical release, while an unofficial, 116-minute “workprint” cut has been circulated among Woo’s followers on the internet.
      End credits include, “Thanks to New Orleans Mayor Sidney J. Barthelemy; New Orleans Film and Television Board; Kimberly M. Carbo, Liaison; Tom McDermott, Chairman” and, “Special Thanks to Deputy Chief of Police Antoine M. Saacks & Lt. L. J. Canal and the New Orleans Police Department; Sheriff Harry Lee and Colonel Craig Taffaro and the Jefferson Parish Sheriffs Department; Kurtzman, Nicotero & Berger EFX Group, Bob Kurtzman, Gregory Nicotero, Howard Berger; Mardi Gras Warehouse floats and sculpture by Barth Bros. Inc. of New Orleans; The Completion Bond Company.” Credits also state: “Animal action was monitored by the American Humane Association with on set supervision by the Louisiana S.P.C.A. No animal was harmed in the making of this film.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
14 Jul 1992.
---
Daily Variety
24 May 1993.
---
Daily Variety
8 Jul 1993.
---
Daily Variety
29 Jul 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Oct 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jun 1993
p. 3, 42.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 1993
p. 8, 17.
Los Angeles Times
20 Aug 1993
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
20 Aug 1993
Section C, p. 8.
Screen International
13 Sep 1991.
---
Variety
27 Jul 1992.
---
Variety
24 Aug 1992
p. 49, 52.
Variety
9 Aug 1993
p. 5, 8.
Variety
30 Aug 1993
p. 19.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Universal Pictures Presents
An Alphaville/Renaissance Production
A John Woo Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Co-prod
Line prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Addl asst cam
Addl asst cam
Addl asst cam
Addl asst cam
2d unit dir of photog
Aerial dir of photog
Aerial 1st asst cam
Steadicam op
Steadicam op
Steadicam 1st asst cam
Film loader
Still photog
Gaffer
Best boy elec
Mini Musco light tech
Key grip
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Grip
Dailies processed by
Cranes and dollies supplied by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Storyboard artist
Art dept coord
Art dept P.A.
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Draftsperson
Draftsperson
Asst set dec
Leadman
Key set dresser
On-set dresser
Swing gang
Swing gang
Swing gang
Prop master/Armorer
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Lead scenic artist
On-set scenic
2d lead scenic
Painter
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Ward asst
Costumer
Dresser
MUSIC
Featuring
Mus asst
Addl orch
Addl orch
Mus scoring mixer
Mus contractor
SOUND
Sd mixer
Sd mixer
Boom op
Boom op
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Supv ADR ed
ADR ed
ADR mixer
Spec sd eff by
Sd asst
Foley ed
Foley artist
Foley artist
Foley mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff
Opt eff supv
Titles, opticals and digital composites
MAKEUP
Makeup for Jean-Claude Van Damme
Hair for Jean-Claude Van Damme
Key makeup
Key hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter pilot
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Scr supv
Asst prod coord
Accountant
2d asst accountant
2d asst accountant
Unit pub
Louisiana casting consultant
Dial coach
Weapons specialist
Snake wrangler
Snake wrangler
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Security coord
Craft services
Craft services
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Transportation prod asst
Post prod supv
EMC2 supplied by
Asst to Jean-Claude Van Damme
Asst to Jean-Claude Van Damme
Asst to John Woo
Asst to John Woo
Asst to Jim Jacks
Asst to Sean Daniel
L.A. prod asst
L.A. prod asst
Prod services provided by
Australia: Manager - Kamisha Corporation Limited.
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt double for Jean-Claude Van Damme
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Opus 57 Appassionata Sonata," composed by Ludwig Van Beethoven, performed by Dr. John Murphy
"Born On The Bayou," written by John C. Fogerty, performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival, courtesy of Fantasy, Inc.
"Won't You Let Me Go," written by Stanley Dural, Jr., performed by Buckwheat Zydeco, courtesy of Charisma Records America, Inc.
+
SONGS
"Opus 57 Appassionata Sonata," composed by Ludwig Van Beethoven, performed by Dr. John Murphy
"Born On The Bayou," written by John C. Fogerty, performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival, courtesy of Fantasy, Inc.
"Won't You Let Me Go," written by Stanley Dural, Jr., performed by Buckwheat Zydeco, courtesy of Charisma Records America, Inc.
"Hey Good Lookin'," written by Hank Williams, performed by Buckwheat Zydeco, courtesy of Island Records, Inc.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
20 August 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 20 August 1993
Production Date:
began 1 October 1992
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
18 October 1993
Copyright Number:
PA665802
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo® in selected theatres; DTS in selected theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Panavision® Cameras & Lenses
Prints
Eastman Color Film
Duration(in mins):
97
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
32627
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

One night outside New Orleans, Louisiana, a homeless veteran named Douglas Binder is chased through a clearing with $10,000 strapped to his belt. His armed pursuers are clients of Emil Fouchon, who has organized an operation allowing wealthy businessmen to hunt humans for sport. When Binder is finally killed, Fouchon reclaims the belt and asks his companions, “It’s like a drug, isn’t it? To bring a man down.” Three weeks later, Binder’s estranged daughter, Natasha, arrives from Michigan, concerned about why her father has stopped sending her letters. When a group of street toughs harass her outside a diner, former U.S. Marine Chance Boudreaux beats up her attackers. Later, Natasha stops by the police station to file a missing persons report. Since most of the officers are on strike, Detective Carmine Miller advises Natasha to have someone better acquainted with the city help her search the missions and homeless shelters. Natasha finds Chance at the dockyard looking for work as a merchant seaman and offers to pay him $100 a day to search for her father. He refuses, but changes his mind when he discovers he owes $217 in union dues and cannot sail until he settles his debt. Natasha and Chance meet his homeless friend, former Special Forces officer Elijah Roper, who claims to have known Binder while they passed out flyers for a man named Randal Poe. Natasha asks Poe about her father’s whereabouts, rousing the suspicion of Fouchon and his henchman, Pik Van Cleaf. Angry that Poe failed to ensure Binder had no family connections before recruiting him as a hunt “volunteer,” Van Cleaf cuts off Poe’s earlobe and Fouchon warns him against making another mistake. ... +


One night outside New Orleans, Louisiana, a homeless veteran named Douglas Binder is chased through a clearing with $10,000 strapped to his belt. His armed pursuers are clients of Emil Fouchon, who has organized an operation allowing wealthy businessmen to hunt humans for sport. When Binder is finally killed, Fouchon reclaims the belt and asks his companions, “It’s like a drug, isn’t it? To bring a man down.” Three weeks later, Binder’s estranged daughter, Natasha, arrives from Michigan, concerned about why her father has stopped sending her letters. When a group of street toughs harass her outside a diner, former U.S. Marine Chance Boudreaux beats up her attackers. Later, Natasha stops by the police station to file a missing persons report. Since most of the officers are on strike, Detective Carmine Miller advises Natasha to have someone better acquainted with the city help her search the missions and homeless shelters. Natasha finds Chance at the dockyard looking for work as a merchant seaman and offers to pay him $100 a day to search for her father. He refuses, but changes his mind when he discovers he owes $217 in union dues and cannot sail until he settles his debt. Natasha and Chance meet his homeless friend, former Special Forces officer Elijah Roper, who claims to have known Binder while they passed out flyers for a man named Randal Poe. Natasha asks Poe about her father’s whereabouts, rousing the suspicion of Fouchon and his henchman, Pik Van Cleaf. Angry that Poe failed to ensure Binder had no family connections before recruiting him as a hunt “volunteer,” Van Cleaf cuts off Poe’s earlobe and Fouchon warns him against making another mistake. Meanwhile, Natasha learns that her father’s body was found in a burned building. After looking at the evidence file, Chance visits the site and finds one of Binder’s military dog tags, but is arrested for crossing a police barrier. Back at the station, he shows Detective Miller that the tag was punctured with an arrow from a crossbow, indicating that Binder must have been murdered before the fire. Convinced that something is amiss, Detective Miller orders another autopsy of Binder’s remains, unaware that the city undertaker, Dr. Morton, is involved with Fouchon’s scheme. Morton panics and tells Fouchon, who shoots the doctor and decides he will set up one last game in New Orleans before relocating to a new city. Meanwhile, Poe recruits Elijah as the target for Fouchon’s newest client, Ismal Zenan. Fouchon explains that he only selects trained military veterans as the targets, to provide more of a challenge for the hunter. That night, Fouchon meets Elijah in an abandoned dockyard and offers him $10,000 if he can run to the river across town while being pursued by Zenan and his team of hunters. Zenan corners his target in a cemetery and leaves him injured, but is unable to make the kill. Grabbing a machine gun, Elijah riddles Zenan’s body with bullets and flees. Although he begs civilians in the street for help, Fouchon catches up to him and shoots him dead. After examining his friend’s body the next morning, Chance visits Poe, but discovers that Van Cleaf got there first. Jumping from his nearby hiding place, Van Cleaf shoots Detective Miller and escapes in a getaway car. Chance returns fire, injuring the driver and several henchmen. Stealing a motorbike, Chance and Natasha speed away, but soon realize the gasoline tank has sprung a leak. Chance pushes Natasha off the seat and reverses course, driving full speed on a highway overpass toward their pursuers. When the vehicles collide, Chance leaps over the crash, grabs Natasha, and jumps onto a moving train below. Fouchon aims his gun, but the train carries the fugitives safely out of his firing range. Unrelenting, he and Van Cleaf round up a team of associates and charge them each $750,000 for the opportunity to track Chance and Natasha through the bayou. As they continue on foot, Chance springs a rattlesnake on one of the hunters, which kills him with a single bite. He and Natasha take shelter at the backwoods house of his uncle, Douvee, who bandages Chance’s wounds and gives him his old shotgun. Chance continues on horseback, leaving Natasha and Douvee to hide among the trees. Anticipating Fouchon and his men, Douvee detonates dynamite, but the explosion fails to kill anyone. Fouchon allows Douvee and Natasha to escape, reminding the hunters to remain focused on finding Chance. They continue the chase by helicopter, firing until Chance falls off his horse and seeks refuge inside a Mardi Gras parade float factory. Believing that Chance has the advantage, Van Cleaf suggests they leave, but Fouchon refuses to give up. As Chance emerges from the shadows to challenge his opponents, Douvee and Natasha sneak inside and begin killing other hunters. In a faceoff against Van Cleaf, Chance shoots him dead. In retaliation, Fouchon stabs Douvee and takes Natasha hostage, forcing Chance to put down his shotgun. When Fouchon asks why he complicated his scheme by getting involved, Chance responds, “Poor people get bored too.” As they fight, Chance drops a grenade down the front of Fouchon’s pants, and it explodes. Chance and Natasha return to Douvee, who remains uninjured because Fouchon’s knife failed to penetrate the liquor flask hidden beneath his jacket. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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