Well, after 23 years we get a sequel to the classic Van Damme movie Hard Target. Let’s be honest, was there anyone really expecting a sequel to this one? Or maybe an even better question is: was anyone really waiting for a sequel? I personally was pretty surprised when I saw that part two was going to be released this year. I recently rewatched the original (you can read my review right Here), and still find it an incredibly decent action movie that even today is still a very enjoyable watch. Part two is without Van Damme, and this time the leadrole is played by Scott Adkins.
In Hard Target 2, Adkins plays the role of a retired and pretty much dishonored mixed martial artist called Wes “The Jailor” Baylor. Wes has a very dark past that continues to haunt him, and pretty much has made his life a living hell. When he gets an offer to fight for a million dollars by a man called Aldrich, he can’t refuse. Arriving in Myanmar, where the fight is supposed to take place, he soon finds out that there is no fight. At least not in the traditional sense of the word. Aldrich is in the business of human manhunting, and Wes is the next target of him and a bunch of ruthless killers. Baylor takes off into the jungle, followed by Aldrich and his men, where the fight of his life is about to take place. But will Wes find his will to live and become a real hard target?
Well let’s get this out of the way first, this movie is not as good as the original. But I honestly didn’t expect it to be. Is it entertaining though? Well, I would say that is a definite yes. I always compare Scott Adkins movies a bit to Jason Statham movies, you pretty much know what to expect from them. And that is a lot of action, cool fight scenes and some nice martial arts moves. And as such it definitely does not disappoint. Adkins truly knows his stuff, and he pulls of some pretty good stunts. The bad guy of this movie, Aldrich, is played by Robert Knepper and he is always a delight to watch. Knepper clearly enjoys playing the role of villain, and it is something he is very good at. The rest of the cast is pretty much forgetable, except for Rhona Mitra, who plays an interesting female hunter. But movies such as these you don’t watch for the acting or the story anyway, but just to enjoy some cool action. The movie takes place in Thailand and was also filmed there, which results in some pretty jawdropping and beautiful locations. Will this get the movie of the year award? Ofcourse not, but if you like action movies, you will definitely get a kick out of this one, if you don’t expect to much from it.
I give Hard Target 2 a 7 out of 10 score.