Hudson Hawk

Dir: Michael Lehmann, 1991


Out of all the films that Bruce Willis has done, this one will be considered as the turkey of his career. But, is that fair?

Master cat-burglar, Eddie “Hudson Hawk” Hawkins (Willis) has just been released from prison.

However, before he is even out of the gates, his corrupt parole officer is trying to get him to do another job.

It’s not long before he’s involved with the Mafia, the CIA, two crazy billionaires and even The Vatican, as he’s forced to steal several of Leonardo Da Vinci’s works as they all contain the secret to making gold and, therefore, world domination.

A passion project for Bruce Willis, Hudson Hawk received a critical mauling on its release. It’s not hard to see why.

The editing is very haphazard and esoteric, making very little sense. Director Lehmann, attempts to make a live action cartoon with it but can’t make things work. The whole thing is just confusing.

Hudson Hawk suffers because of its poor direction. The acting is over the top and the script cheesy and silly. Willis and Aiello, don’t gel as best friends. The relationship comes across as false and forced. It just isn’t believable. Hawk is irritating, rather than likeable and his wisecracks are merely juvenile.

As accomplished singers, the ex-Mr. Demi Moore and veteran of cinema Aiello, have both released music albums. The two stars get to display their vocal talents, as they use classic songs as timers during the robberies. This element of the film, is totally ridiculous and serves no other purpose than to showcase their singing careers.

At its core, is a screwball comedy. But, Willis isn’t that adept at wacky humour and isn’t right for the part. Lehmann is unable to get a handle on the goofy goings on. His earlier feature, Heathers, was a very dry and very black comedy, which he mastered brilliantly. The two different types of humour, perfectly underline how a director can be right for one comedy but not another.

Richard E. Grant and Sandra Bernhard are highlights of the movie. As two megalomaniacal comic book villains, the two actors can play up to the screen as much as they want and it all fits the character.

Highly regarded Hollywood actor, James Coburn, appears as a karate expert member of the CIA. The aging actor looks so out of place, and is difficult to accept in the role.

Unfortunately, one thing about the film that cannot be forgiven, is Andie MacDowell’s embarrassing dolphin impression during the interrogation scene. Cringeworthy and pointless, the scene is dreadfully awful and should never have been filmed in the first place.

Everything about Hudson Hawk is wrong and severely hampers the film as a whole. But, that doesn’t stop it from being an enjoyable outing.

Despite the many flaws, there is still a vein of fun that runs through it and you can’t help yourself but smile.

There are a number of laughs to be had, but you can’t help but wonder what could have been with a different lead and a director who was more suited to this type of comedy.

Nevertheless, Hudson Hawk is an okay film, that will pass a pleasant ninety minutes on.

It’s no masterpiece, but an okay watch.


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