Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hard Target: The Emil Fouchon / Pik van Cleef Relationship

Hard Target is, as everyone agrees on, the best movie John Woo made in the US. Face/Off is fun too, Windtalkers has great bloody battles scenes and even Broken Arrow was kinda fun in a mainstream-way. But Hard Target beats them all.

If I mention homoeroticism and Hard Target, I guess most of you think I mean Jean-Claude Van Damme as the absurdly fit Chance Boudreaux. But you’re wrong. He’s a typical heterosexual action-characters from the nineties and nothing more. What really makes Hard Target interesting is the relationship between Emil Fouchon (Lance Henriksen) and Pik van Cleef (Arnold Vosloo).

It might be, for the time, a bit stereotypical to have a gay couple as the bad guys. We’ve seen it before, and some think it’s a bit homophobic. It’s not, because we gays can be mean bastards too. What make this movie so special is two things:

  1. It’s not big deal.
  2. The LOVE is strong.

Emil and Pik not only works together, they obviously lives together too in big tacky southern mansion where Emil plays on his huge piano and Pik walks around with casual clothes (if he was a normal henchman, he would never do that) acting like he was at home, and he is. No one cares about their sexuality. They’re the bosses, they are in it together.

If you watch the movie, look how Lance and Arnold are working together. Often very close, touching shoulders or just faced to each other in a way that typical Hollywood-bad guys never do. Pik is never the normal henchman, Emil trusts him totally and never get angry or upset on him like he can act towards his other workers.

One of the clearest examples of their relationship is when Emil founds Pik dead. He goes close to his dead body, touches his face and then shows a very restrained act of willpower not to scream. A normal heterosexual baddie would never do that. Believe me.

Like Mr Kidd and Mr Wint in Diamonds are Forever and Sappensly and Quill in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Lance Henriksen and Arnold Vosloo continues a fine tradition of emotionally strong gay couples.

They might be bad, but that has never stopped true love.


Anonymous said...

Yes easily Woo´s best movie in Hollywood. But it´s not even near his best movies made in Hong Kong. His best movies managed to mix art/style/entertainment to a maximum.

Juan J. Espinoza said...

Dude, i think this is the best comment i've ever read about Hard Target, ever!. What a fine movie this is...

Ninja Dixon said...

Thank you Juan! I'm happy you liked my little text :) Hard Target is awesome!

Juan J. Espinoza said...

You made me watch Hard Target again since ages, and not only is the best american-phase John Woo movie, it also has the best cast. And yes i'm including Van Damme.

But how can you top Lance Henriksen and Arnold Vosloo?. Maybe, just maybe the pairing of Cage/Travolta in Face/Off was more dynamic but after that never againg, maybe that was one the reasons John Woo didn't continue to make movies in the US. Not finding the proper actors.

Ninja Dixon said...

Maybe many american actors lack that certain kind of melodrama that Hong Kong actors have. Both Lance and Arnold has a very special charisma, and is not afraid to be typecasted!

Juan J. Espinoza said...

Good point about the typecasting (and the charisma as well) but apart from Lance, i dont remember Arnold Voslo being cast as the evil motherfucker he is in this one. Well there's the little part in Blood Diamond but i dont think he is a villain per se.

Ingo-Hellford667 Movie Reviews said...

Somehow that never crossed my mind, but you have a point there,lol...welldone...:)
Making a custom cover for my workprint right now...

LT. Kazemi said...

Thanks for the post mate, I have a question that probably you might be able to answer.

Emil Fouchon shoots a gun that I could not find the name and details.

Do you by chance know what is the name of his gun?

It's more of a hand-shotgun that he puts one round in the chamber each time he shoots at someone.


Ninja Dixon said...

Lt. Kazemi: I found this site, which gives a good overview of the weapons used in the movie, including the one you're asking for :)