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|“||I don't get angry. I'm a professional.||„|
|~ Van Cleef to Fouchon.|
|“||I think Mr. Boudreaux would make a very interesting quarry. Maybe I should pay him a visit.||„|
|~ Van Cleef, upon his first impression of Chance Boudreaux|
Pik Van Cleaf is the secondary antagonist in the 1993 film Hard Target. He is a sadistic man who works for Emil Fouchon, the main antagonist of the film, and participates in his hobby of hunting and killing men.
Pik Van Cleaf and his human-hunting party including amoral wealthy clients (rich thrill-seekers who, after trying out every means of legal recreations to relive their boredoms in life, seek something ever more stimulating and exciting) are first seen in the beginning of the movie hunting down a homeless man named Douglas Binder racing for his life towards the other side of New Orleans with a belt that contains $10,000 cash. Douglas fails to reach safety and loses his life. After the hunt is done, Van Cleaf retrieves the money belt.
Van Cleaf seems to be the one who organizes hunts, selecting who will participate in them, providing his clients their choice of weaponry, 'guides and hounds' (Fouchon's mercenaries), telling them dos and don'ts of their trade agreements, and who will be hunted. Van Cleaf and Fouchon's man-hunting scheme operates through a recruiter named Randal Poe who supplies homeless men with combat experiences to the group. After the hunt is successfully done, their bribed medical examiner forges the hunted victims' cause of deaths, ruling them accidental and providing those who are involved in the man-hunt with safe alibis.
Van Cleaf and Fouchon's activities of man-hunting take a complicated turn when Natasha Binder, estranged daughter of Douglas Binder, comes to New Orleans in search of her father. She employs former Force Recon Marine named Chance Boudreaux after he saves her from muggers.
Chance and Natasha discover that Douglas had been distributing fliers for Randal. The pair arrives at Randal's office to question him, and just as Chance was about to get the initiative of the conversation, they are interrupted by Van Cleaf, who had been eavesdropping them. Sensing a danger, Charles leaves with Natasha, but not before Van Cleaf and Chance making each other enemies. That night, Van Cleaf and Fouchon burst into Randal's house and beat and torture the man as punishment for not properly following their rule by giving them a prey who had a daughter. And she has begun investigating her father's whereabouts. Van Cleaf, as a warning to discourage Randal from further screw-ups, severs Randal's ear with a scissor before leaving. Back in Fouchon's manor, Van Cleaf and Fouchon have information on Chance's background. Van Cleaf tells his boss he would pay Chance 'a visit', but Fouchon tells him to hire some thugs to 'have a chat' with the former marine.
Meanwhile, Chance and Natasha learn of Douglas' death. But Chance senses something is amiss: one of his missing dog tags, as military ALWAYS issues them in pairs. So he goes to check out the site of the burnt building where Douglas' body was supposed to have. Van Cleaf's hired thugs ambush Chance and beat him badly in an attempt to scare him and Natasha out of town. But Chance secures what he came for, goes back to Natasha and NOPD's detective May Mitchell, tell both women what he found, and present the missing dog tag which has a punctured hole made by a crossbow that pierced through Douglas and his dog tag. He concludes that Douglas was not killed in an accident, but by someone with weapons. Mitchell furiously barges into the office of a medical examiner who was bribed by Fouchon and demanded that Douglas Binder's autopsy be redone. Sensing police investigation creeping on him, Fouchon has Van Cleaf murder the forensic doctor.
After doing away with one potential liability, Chance's homeless friend Elijah Roper is the next prey to participate in Fouchon's hunt. Van Cleaf also engages in this hunt, but during the hunt, their client hunter reneges on his agreement so Fouchon has the client killed and orders his minions, including Van Cleaf, to finish Roper, which he successfully accomplishes. But it did lead Chance's party to reach ever closer to a head-on confrontation with Van Cleaf and Fouchon.
Randal, fearing that he would be next on the hit list after being roughed up by Chance, who declared war on Pik, tried to flee the town, only to be intercepted by Van Cleaf and killed as well.
Chance, Natasha, and Mitchell arrive too late to detain Randal. But Van Cleaf, Fouchon, and a team of mercenaries ambush Chance, Natasha and Mitchell. In the ensuing shootout that followed, Mitchell is killed. But Chance, even though being handicapped with Natasha in tow, mounted a savage resistance and even managed to wound Van Cleaf in the arm. After killing many of Van Cleaf's hunters in the shootout followed by a chase, Chance and Natasha escape through jumping on a running train. Van Cleaf and Fouchon change their plans: instead of relocating their operational base elsewhere, Chance is to be their last prey before retiring. Though Van Cleaf does keep warning to his boss that they are being played into Chance's game.
Van Cleaf tracks down Chance and Natasha by their footprints, but Chance, as Fouchon correctly guessed, was a clever prey; he lays traps behind and more of hunters fall victim to them. Van Cleaf, at this point, tries to persuade his boss Fouchon of killing Chance through other safer means (like employing a helicopter) instead of going up close and personal against the former Marine Recon, but Fouchon is against his advice, saying there is no point of hunting in doing so. Eventually arriving at a large abandoned warehouse, a huge gunfight ensues in which Chance (who by this time securing an ally, his uncle Douvee) kills all of Fouchon's men one by one. Eventually, Van Cleaf and Chance come to a face-off; After the two men furiously exchanges shots upon shots, Van Cleaf fires at Chance but he avoids this by diving through a nearby window, then slides under a table before shooting Van Cleaf repeatedly in the chest with two guns. In dying breath, Van Cleaf attempts to blow himself up and take Chance with him, but died before he had a chance to do so. The grenade that Van Cleaf tried to use was instead used by Chance to blow up Fouchon.
- Van Cleaf's last name is a reference to Western actor Lee Van Cleef, who portrays Angel Eyes, the sadistic main antagonist in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.