So it is Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday as it were. and in an effort to hit some holidays with a pertinent movie review, I have decided to pair Mardi Gras with Hard Target. Oh yes, cats and kitties, that wonderful blast from the early 90s – Hard Target. Jean-Claude Van Damme stars opposite antagonist Lance Henriksen, as a man trying to find the killer of his homeless friend in New Orleans, Louisianna. Now, I know that I could have hit any other movie that takes place during Mardi Gras and I do promise to in the future but Van Damme has popped up in too many conversations lately for me to ignore posting about this action movie gone crazy in the Big Easy.
In Hard Target, Van Damme is a down on his luck drifter in New Orleans. A down and out drifter that happens to be able to do the splits across objects and has an amazingly fast spin kick. This was JVD at his best. In the early 90s, Jean-Claude could make anything. In Hard Target, they were even able to use his inability to speak English well and make him sound like he was from the Bayou… ish.
Here is why I picked this for my Mardi Gras movie: the final fight between JVD and Lance takes place in a warehouse where they store Mardi Gras floats and paraphernalia. This is a first in movie history as far as I know. This might also be the only time that this was ever done. The reason this movie sticks out in my head though is that this is the epitome of the action movie from the early 90s. Shallow plot, lots of fights, a car chase or two and of course an over-the-top bad guy. Add to that a fight among Mardi Gras floats to end the movie and you have something special.
Here is another reason that I love this movie. Take a look at the picture to the left. If they ever needed to make a Gambit movie, it was when this guy ruled the silver screen as a bad ass. Look at him! Could he be any more Gambit from the X-Men. He has on a trench coat in the middle of New Orleans – what the hell?!? He was auditioning for a role that wasn’t even on the table at the time. He should have been Gambit in a standalone movie that couldn’t happen for a long time about a character that couldn’t have had his own movie at the time.
Jean-Claude in his prime playing against Hugh Jackman as Wolverine – TAKE MY MONEY!