OUT ON VIDEO

An occasional update of video releases

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* HARD TARGET - In his first Hollywood movie, Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo stirs up the same mixture of mindless mayhem and flamboyant cinematics that marks his previous work, adding a touch of social consciousness that raises the package a notch higher than most of its predecessors. The hero is a Vietnam veteran who runs afoul of a vicious entrepreneur. He becomes the designated victim of several wealthy men who've paid for the privilege of hunting and killing him. The movie is overloaded with trashy violence, but it's so stylized and choreographed that hardly a shred of realism remains in the fistfights, gunfights, and explosions that constitute much of the storytelling. Action star Jean-Claude Van Damme heads the cast. (MCA/Universal Home Video, Universal City, CA)

* THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS - Directed in 1920 by Maurice Tourneur and Clarence Brown, this silent-screen adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper's colorful novel is gorgeously photographed and intelligently acted, packing far more mythical impact than the '90s version did. The video transfer is excellent. (Milestone Film & Video, New York)

* THE MYSTERY OF KASPAR HAUSER - Werner Herzog's unconventional drama is based on the true story of a 19th-century man who showed up in a German town after spending his entire youth in darkness and isolation. Treated with varying degrees of respect, curiosity, and condescension by his perplexed new friends, he learns the basics of civilized life before losing his life to an unidentified murderer. In its weakest scenes, the movie veers toward smug posing and superficial social criticism. In its best moments, it envisions the world as freshly and originally as the mysterious mind of Hauser himself might have done. First released in 1975 as ``Every Man for Himself and God Against All.'' (New Yorker Video, New York)

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