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:
- It’s not big deal.
- 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.