January 20, 2013

Hard Target vs. Surviving the Game

Two movies where homeless people are hunted for sport. One has human heads in jars and one has someone punching a snake. One is directed by action maestro John Woo and the other is directed by Ernest R. Dickerson.

Both are great fun but which is the true king of the jungle? Let’s discuss.




The Heroes








Chance Boudreaux

Played by Jean-Claude Van Damme sporting a mullet for the ages. Chance is a homeless drifter who is hired by a woman Nat (Yancy Butler) to find her missing father. They stumble upon a deadly game where a group of nasty rich folk are hunting the homeless for sport. Chance is a complete badass and he has the white string vest to prove it. He beats up scumbags in the street for trying to rob Nat, while throwing them around like garbage. He doesn’t just shoot the bad guys; he unloads several clips and then kicks them in the face just to be sure. He’s so cool that random pigeons will sit on his shoulder in between him shooting villains AND he can punch a snake.

Jack Mason

Played by Ice-T who sports dreadlocks, clearly stolen from the Predator. Where Chance is a bad ass who rescues defenceless women from muggers, Mason tries to rescue his dog from being run over and fails. He then decides to kill himself but fails at that too because someone saves him. That someone is Walter Cole (Charles S. Dutton) who instead offers Mason a job as a guide on hunts, which of course turns out to be a complete lie and Mason finds himself hunted for sport by even more bored, rich people.

He kills bad guys in quite imaginative ways, like blowing up their ATV’s but he never kicks people in the face after shooting them.

The Winner: Chance Boudreaux

JCVD is just beyond awesome in the movie and it’s one of my favourite roles of his. Sorry Mr Ice-T.

The Villains








Emil Fouchon

Played to perfection by Lance Henriksen in one of his best roles; Fouchon is a force of pure malevolence. He isn’t sympathetic or a nice guy. He’s a man who enjoys killing and the fact he does it as a hobby makes him even more formidable. As any decent villain will do, he’ll kill you if you cease being useful. He’ll get his even more evil Henchman Pik (Arnold Vosloo) to cut your ear off if you don’t do as your told and contemplate making a steak with you next time he sees you.

Thomas Burns

Played by Rutger Hauer who is one of said bored rich people. He’s kinda creepy and weird but not as threatening as Fouchon. There isn’t a genuine sense of threat and he seems too laid back to be a truly great bad guy. He does have a great group of henchmen though including Gary Busey, Charles S. Dutton and F. Murray Abraham. They are a good bunch of bad guys, but are let down by the whiny bitch of a teenager who is forced to join them.

The Winner: Hard Target

The Movies








Hard Target

It’s not really a fair fight when you have John Woo is directing Hard Target, so it’s obviously going to have stunning action scenes, explosions every two seconds, doves/pigeons and hardcore violence. All of the violence is balletic and beautifully shot and the over use of slow motion, only makes it even cooler. I especially love the score my Graeme Revell feat. Kodo which has a fantastic New Orleans vibe to it.

Surviving the Game

Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson, Surviving the Game has some good action and is really well paced; although Ice-T lacks the charisma and fighting prowess of Van Damme, he is a likable lead and you want him to win.


Well it’s not exactly fair but it was always going to be HARD TARGET; one of JCVD’s finest hours with great action, an excellent villain and it’s extremely stylish to boot. John Woo remains one of the greatest action directors of all time and the final half hour of this movie is action movie nirvana.

So what do you think? Which movie is more awesome?

[poll id=”14″]


About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel
I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it's a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



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