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Hudson Hawk (DVD)
Member Name: T4imbo3107
Hudson Hawk (DVD)
Advantages: Slapstick humour!
Disadvantages: Too much slapstick and overplaying of parts.
There are some films that are a total guilty pleasure when it comes to watching and Hudson Hawk is one of them, the film itself was released back in 1991 and the first time I watched this was at the cinema. The fact is that its one of those films that you enjoy for the totally wrong reasons and I think that's why I have bought this on multiple media since then such as VHS and DVD. Classed as an adventure film, the story is action based as you would expect, but swerves off at any given point in a direction that is completely different in nature and expectations.
As John McLane, Bruce Willis was riding high as an actor after the success of the first two Die Hard movies, so with the idea of creating a pet project and a film that he had written to get the green light for production makes you think as to where the idea came from in the first place and for me why he actually put his reputation on the line and did this film is a mystery on its own. Hudson Hawk or to give him his real name of Eddie Hawkins is a newly released "back to the society prisoner" who upon walking through the gates into the wide world is bestowed upon to go back to doing the thing that put him in prison in the first place.... stealing! This is where the film opens up and Hawk is a Master Thief that simply wants to go straight then when he is free is given the task of stealing from a multitude of places, mainly against his will.
Bruce Willis delivers his lines as he normally would with the dry sense of humour that he always displays, except here he is the main character that doesn't actually know what he is doing and why. His chemistry with Danny Aiello who plays Tommy "Five Tone" Messina is very good on screen and the two have more than a comedic feel about them, in fact they are simply having a whale of a time as it looks like they are two men mucking about with the cameras on them. For Aiello to take a role like this is something of a departure from previous roles as he plays the hard man come gang boss and to see him not play the head of a criminal organisation feels strange.
Actress Andie MacDowell is the heroine of the film, she is the one person who befriends Hawk and becomes a close ally. I like her in the role, yet the lines and the movements she is given as part of the script leaves her looking rather embarrassed with regards to the level of her performance, although she does try with the rather sub-standard material she is given and does come through as a character in her own right. It has to be asked what she is actually doing in this film anyway!
Finally James Coburn plays George Kaplan. Whatever the actor appears in, he manages to steal the limelight. Whether this is because of his screen presence, his voice or his ability to have your eye diverted just for a second away from what is happening ion the screen to him as a background actor is simply amazing. He is good value for a film of this nature and brings some well needed class to the proceedings. Backing up the cast is Richard E Grant and Sandra Bernhart as the filthy rich husband and wife team that have no idea of the amount of money they spend giving the fact they are trillionaires. Grant displaying a method of acting that could justifiably be called venting or even regression giving the amount of pelvic thrusts and ear licking he does. Oh and keep a look out for CSI Miami star David Caruso in one of his early parts fittingly getting done over by a rather unsubtle elbow to the face by simply being annoying and mocking Hudson Hawk!
Mainly set in Europe the film has that international flavour to it, not necessarily anything along the lines of To Catch a Thief, more like a Carry On film in terms of the situations that happen as some scenes are just simply too wacky for the film. Probably the best example being the paralysis scene where a side effect has Andie McDowell acting like a Dolphin after her interrogation by James Coburn while Willis is doing something similar as he is completely out of his head because of the drug the interrogators have used. In fact throughout the film it's the wackiness that is used to drive a scene and this is utilised to give the film a rather comedic edge that borders on lunacy rather than comedy, in fact I think in some scenes with Richard E Grant completely overact ting the film crosses the line entirely and never really wants to come back!! That's not to say that the film is totally rubbish, take all the silliness with a pinch of salt and the film is entertaining, if rather unbelievable. I mean who is seriously going to rob the Vatican, okay as part of the story Hudson Hawk is going to do this and yet the way that the job is done is good if not convenient for the script writers.
It's safe to say that the film does get lost in its own adventure, for example when Willis and Aiello are on a job, they need to time there escapades exactly to the second. They do this by singing songs by Frank Sinatra, a good example being Swinging on a Star. Okay it's funny to watch this on screen and the choreography is spot on with but somehow it just doesn't fit into the film or the story at all. There's other things wrong with the film as well, the film has no identity as to what it actually wants to be and remembering back to when I saw it at the cinema, the audience laughed at what was happening on screen but left the cinema puzzled as to what they had just watched, and I think this is a major negative point for the film itself. Its only when the twist is deployed that the film lets itself down as up to here the film has an essence of mystery about it that as a viewer you aren't actually sure as to who is the good guy and who is the bad guy.
The locations used in the film show off the beauty of Rome, and the Italian scenery only enhances the story, with the running gag throughout the film that Hawk wants nothing else than a properly made Cappuccino, but alas even when the opportunity arises something always happens to stop him enjoying the brew, especially when it is drugged, which for the first time the joke is aired is his gateway into the mystery of the story itself. The action sequences are more like something out of Some Mothers Do Ave them as one early sequence entails the use of an Ambulance trolley on the freeway which is entertaining enough but spoilt by the fact that the scene is intercut with the faces of the drivers in their cars saying irrelevant comments to Hawk as he passes them, the other most notable scene is the climax at the castle where Hawk has to do a rescue, again singing with Five Tone to a somewhat longer Sinatra type song called Side By Side and even managing dance steps too.
Extras wise...in what seems an attempt to balance out the awful badness the extras show the film from a number of aspects. Firstly the commentary by the director who seemingly wants to tell you everything about the production whether good or bad, also the Trivia Track also fills in the missing gaps as well. Deleted Scenes that speak for themselves as to why they are collected under this heading anyway. The documentaries do tend to be rather self complimentary towards Willis and he tends to use this as an excuse to showboat himself and the film which is effectively his project. There is also a music video that is a rather good find as this is the theme tune to the film itself.
This enters the history books in the same way that the Warren Beatty film Ishtar did and with the same level of success that William Shatner directed the fifth Star Trek film. Overall this is a film that was heavily panned by the critics, didn't make that much money and is quite awful to watch a myriad of well known and talented actors acting like buffoons in what can only be described a cartoon movie that makes use of speeded up film, sound effects and cheesy one-liners. Slapstick is the key to this film and even the sound effects that you would see in Tom and Jerry have been included. This was co-written by Willis, and due to the high cost of the production was the last film that was produced by Tri-Star Studios before Columbia took them over, having a flop like this was something that caused the demise of Tri-Star. Beware as this is not the action adventure film that it was originally marketed as, but more an out of place comedy that in parts is quite surreal given what is happening to the characters and the situations they are in. It is bad, no denying that but it's so bad that I enjoyed it. This is a film that can easily be considered a cult classic for what it isn't and is something that will never get a regular airing on ITV2. In fact it's more likely to get a showing for film students, as in how not to make a film! Trouble is I liked it, it did make me laugh but not enough to rate it as a four star film.
Summary: You really have to see this to believe it.