Hard Target was one of a few super-bloodthirsty action movies that raised the bar of an action genre in 90s. John Woo and Jean-Claude Van Damme duo produced the stylish ride full of remarkable moments such as a Jean-Claude standing on the seat of a moving motorcycle or knocking out the snake, horseback riding uncle, bow-and-arrow scenes. This all looked so cool that will never get old.
Film had a killer cast of Lance Henriksen and Arnold Vosloo playing bad guys, Yancy Butler who gave a bug-eyed performance organically fitted into the movie. Yes, there were many slow motion scenes in Hard Target, and if it was all played at regular speed the film could be twice smaller. Overall it was over-the-top 90s fun everyone enjoyed.
But what about Hard Target 2?
If in the original movie the main character’s name was Chance Boudreaux and he was an ex-merchant marine, here we have a retired MMA fighter Wes Baylor, who moves to Thailand after killing his close friend and a sparring partner in the ring.
In original film action took place in Louisiana, here a roller-coaster ride takes place in Myanmar full of breathtaking nature, picturesque jungles, elephants, and village people.
Scott Adkins has a British accent and fighting skills but not so much charisma like Van Damme. I think he is much more of a bad guy that a hero and he perfectly proved it with Boyka, a cruel King Amphitryon from The Legend of Hercules and a mercenary from Wolf Warriors. If Van Damme is 70/30 a hero, Scott Adkins is 70/30 a villain, and this makes a difference.
Hard Target 2 hasn’t got an impressive cast and characters are poorly-developed. Robert Knepper and Temuera Morrison playing baddies and they do what they can to get this movie on some even acceptable level. All other hunters are so badly played that you just feel sorry for them.
I don’t know how they made Rhona Mitra play this wanna-be tough-and-deadly feminist character, but it looks so absurd that you want to press a forward button to skip all scenes where she is in.
You all heard that JeeJa Yanin got a role in this movie but you have to wait until the end to see her. And even there you wouldn’t see anything good except a bad fighting choreography.
Byron Gibson is playing a coach and you can hardly notice him in the beginning of the movie.
Director Roel Reine previously worked on sequels to such movies as The Condemned, The Man with the Iron Fists, 12 Rounds, Death Race, The Marine and The Scorpion King. All these movies didn’t have anything worth to watch and unfortunately, Hard Target 2 is not an exception.
John Woo known for using doves in his movies and here they appear twice but in very weird moments which don’t give any benefits to the movie. Even slow motion scenes used in most inappropriate moments all over the place. Without the elegant technique and vision of maestro John Woo this movie is a real dud.
I was really hoping to see another good movie but Scott Adkins continues disappointing with flop after flop. Legendary, Re-Kill, Close Range, Zero Tolerance, Jarhead 3 and now Hard Target 2. On my opinion, this movie should never have been made like Road House 2 where even Richard Norton couldn’t help.
My only hope that Boyka: Undisputed will get Scott Adkins back to the podium with a title of the next martial arts movie star.