Scott Adkins Can Not Save Us From The Wrath of the Reine in Hard Target 2

How is it that a director can make the worst film of 2015 and 2016?

Released by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Release Date: September 6th, 2016

Starring: Scott Atkins, Robert Knepper, Rhona Mitra, and Ann Truong

Written by Matt Harvey, Dominic Morgan, and George Huang

Directed by Roel Reiné

Rated R (violence and language)

Lately, Universal Pictures has been resurrecting old films with sequels. In the last four years we have gotten two Scorpion King sequels, a Child’s Play sequel, two Jarhead sequels, a Kindergarten Cop sequel, a Honey sequel, and now a Hard Target sequel. Was there anyone asking for any of these sequels? Maybe the Child’s Play sequel, as that was actually a good film, but the others? No, they weren’t, but Universal seems to have found money doing this because they have a lot more in the pipeline.

We now come to Hard Target 2. The first was not a masterpiece, but it is the best film that Jean Claude Van Damme has made and it helped introduce the U.S. to John Woo. I happen to love the first Hard Target, but I was skeptical on this sequel.  Would it be any good? I knew that having Scott Adkins in the film was not a bad idea and would help the film, but there were still reservations.

So after watching the film I can say, without a shadow of a doubt that  Roel Reiné, who gave us last year’s turd The Man With the Iron Fists 2, has given us another film that will most likely make my list for worst films of 2016. This is a bad film.

I knew going in that Reiné is not a good director. He has given us some really bad films and I can say that I have not liked any of his films. He is a style over substance director, choosing to focus on the look of the film and not worry about the story or the characters. Just looking at his filmography you can tell that when you see his name on a film, you might as well just turn the film off and stare at the TV for the film’s run time. Believe me; it is way more entertaining than any of the turds he has plopped out over the last ten years.

I guess I should talk about the film for a minute. The film stars Scott Adkins as a fighter who accidentally kills his friend in a fight. He runs off to Bangkok so that he can drown his sowers in booze and make money fighting in barns and on rooftops. He is offered a chance to make a bunch of money doing what he thinks is a tournament. When he shows up he finds that he is going to be hunted in the jungles of Thailand. He is given $1 million in rubies and a two minute head start.

While watching the film I longed for the original Hard Target, but I also wanted to watch Surviving the Game, the Ice-T film from the early 90’s that finds him running from Rutger Hauer and Charles S. Dutton. This film reminded me a lot of that film and that is not a good sign. If a film reminds you of a better film, then that original film is not very good.

Hard Target 2 is shot with an attention to nothing. There is no style here, just incoherence and bafflement. There are scenes that just end and scenes that don’t connect to the previous scene even when they are supposed to. The camera never stops moving unless the great Reiné is trying to make something look cool in slow motion. He tries that a lot, but he slows down the wrong part of the action which makes the shot feel off.

He also will have his actors stand around so that he can get shots with his really neat drone. You can tell that the actors are just waiting for him to yell “cut” so that they can move on.

The fight scenes are terrible. I was hoping that Adkins would help make the scenes better but he doesn’t. This is not a shot at Adkins, the man can fight and look good doing it, it is the choerographer’s fault, as well as Reiné’s. The fight scenes are slow and lumberous. Adkins throws fists and we see the other actor react. There is no pace or coordination, just a series of shots that we are expected to believe are making something happen.

I really wanted to like this film. Adkins was really excited about the film on Twitter and I like when he shows up in films. He has a good personality and he is a pretty good actor. When he is given something to do he shines. Here, he is given nothing to do and we wonder why he took the film in the first place.

Hard Target 2 is one of the worst films of 2016. I hated this film and wanted to turn it off many times while viewing it. I kind of wish that I had because I could have been watching a much better film. I can not believe that Reiné still gets to make films after the shit he keeps making. I guess if you can make anyone watch your film then you get to keep making them. Uwe Boll was first and now we have Reiné.

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