I have a really good movie memory. Once my mom asked me “what’s the movie with the ending?” and I was able to instantly sort through all of the movies that have ever existed to come up with the only correct answer. (It is the Usual Suspects, by the way.) So it’s not a good sign that when I was in the Hollywood theater’s lobby making post-movie chitchat with some friends I referred to this movie as “Deadly Justice”. It hadn’t even been ten minutes since I finished watching Deadly Target and I had already forgotten it’s name. (For the record, I’ve already had to Google it’s name twice while writing this review. I’m not even kidding.)
Deadly Justice… er, Deadly Target… is about a Hong Kong cop who comes to L.A. on the heels of a drug dealer. Halfway through the movie I discovered that this cop’s name is Prince, and I only remember that because at one point an angry police chief calls him “The Prince of Darkness.” (It is not impossible that his last name is actually “Darkness” and I misunderstood the comment. But I’m pretty sure it’s Prince.)
Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the drug dealer Prince is chasing because the chief didn’t give him a nickname that would make him slightly memorable. But there's a long history of someone's last name describing the trade they are in, so there's a precedent for assuming that his name is "[First name] Drug Dealer". Let's just do that.
Anyway, Prince is in L.A. for less than half an hour before he has caught up with Drug Dealer, which is very convenient, because the one time I was in L.A. it took me half an hour to find an In-N-Out Burger and they advertise their locations. Prince is such a take-charge guy that he charges into the crime scene before back up can get on the scene. (Apparently, he's even better at navigating L.A. traffic than the cops who actually line in L.A., because it takes the back up hours to get there.)
Prince proceeds to kick, spin-kick and flying kick a lot of henchmen, many of whom have guns. He manages to beat every single one of them in one on one combat, thus proving that Notorious B.I.G. was wrong when he rapped “stupid motherfuckers want to try to use Kung-Fu / instead of a MAC-10 he tried scrapping / slugs in his back and that’s what the fuck happens” on Things Done Changed. Listen up, Biggie: sometimes that is not what the fuck happens. Sometimes trying to use kung-fu is a valid strategy against armed killers in an open air foyer.
Which brings me to an interesting question. I know that contrary to what the movies would have you believe a lot of cops go their whole career without firing their service weapon even once, but what percentage of cops have had to spin kick a perp off a balcony? Maybe that's too specific of an example, so I'll rephrase: what percentage of cops have to use roundhouse kicks in any context while they were working? The percentage has to be somewhere between zero and a hundred, right?
Now, at this point you’ve heard a lot about how good Prince is at hurting people and you’re probably wondering: but is he a lover as well as a fighter? And the answer is: yes. Towards the end of the first act Prince gets knocked out behind a dumpster and when he wakes up he’s naked in some lady’s house. That lady’s name: Diana Tang. (I only remember her name because I made a mental note that "Diana Tang" is stuck halfway in between a real name and a Bond Girl single-entendre name. In my opinion, they should have named her Diana Anderson or Octopussy Tang instead of splitting the difference.)
Now, you might think that waking up in a stranger’s house completely naked after suffering head trauma would not be a promising start to a relationship, but then again you aren’t the guy whose first name I can’t remember and whose last name might be Darkness. That guy is all about Diana Tang, as he splits his remaining time in L.A. between chasing bad guys and force feeding her stir fried octopus against her will. (Yes, he really does do that.)
If you’ve ever seen a movie like Deadly Objective… Err, Deadly Target… then you know that as sure as 1+1 =2 that Drug Dealer + love interest = hostage situation. Sure enough, Diana Tang soon finds herself hogtied to a handrail in the guts of a giant ship. But never fear, the good guys waste no time in bringing their feet to a gun fight and pretty soon Prince is spin-kicking a whole bunch of Uzi-using pansy-asses on his way to rescuing his girl. It’s going pretty well until the drug dealer summons a helicopter and forces Ms. Tang in.
Is he going to fly back to Hong Kong with our hero’s lady? Nope, because Prince convinces Diana Tang to jump a hundred feet into the water below and then his cop buddy uses a functional anti-aircraft canon that’s on the deck of the boat to blow up the helicopter. I would bet you money that Drug Dealer feels like a stone-cold dum-dum for buying ammunition for that thing and then leaving it loaded, unattended and unlocked. But you know, we all make mistakes. Of course, my mistakes don't generally lead to me dying in a helicopter fire, but to each their own.
In summation: Mortal Tarmac… Err, Hard Targ… enh, forget it – is a film where a cop does a lot of routine cop stuff and then everybody goes home happy, minus the people who got exploded, but they were probably evil so that’s probably fine. So is this movie good? Well, I’ll call this far: I remember watching it. For a guy like me who has a great memory for movies, well, that’s a hell of a statement.