Hudson Hawk (1991) / Comedy-Action
MPAA Rated: R for language, adult humor and violence
Running Time: 100 min.
Cast: Bruce Willis, Andie MacDowell, Danny Aiello, James Coburn, Richard E. Grant, Sandra Bernhard, David Caruso, Frank Stallone, Lorraine Toussaint, Andrew Bryniarski, Donald Burton, Don Harvey
Director: Michael Lehmann
Screenplay: Steven E. de Souza, Daniel Waters
Review published December 5, 2004
I guess my biggest surprise about Bruce Willis' most notorious turkey is that it actually has gained a cult following over the years. I can only speculate as to why. Then again, I was equally baffled when I heard that people were buying worn and unwashed underwear on the internet, so the only conclusion I've been able to draw is that no matter how much something stinks, there's always someone out there who finds the rancid smell appealing.
Bruce Willis (Color of Night, Twelve Monkeys) plays Eddie "Hudson Hawk" Hawkins, the world's best cat burglar, fresh out of prison after serving a ten-year stint. before he can even think about going straight, Hawkins is approached by the world-domination minded Mayflowers, who blackmail him into stealing several priceless artifacts once belonging to Leonardo da Vinci, and which have a valuable piece to a puzzle to a device that can turn lead into gold.
This major dud was partially the brainchild of Willis himself, along with musician Robert Kraft, and I'm guessing there must have been quite a few brews downed before they set the wheels in motion to make this into a feature film. Making matters worse, the actual screenplay was developed and written by Steven E. de Souza (Street Fighter, Judge Dredd) and Daniel Waters (The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Demolition Man), and directed by Michael Lehmann (40 Days and 40 Nights, Meet the Applegates). Further compounding the problems, Andie MacDowell was a last-minute addition to the cast, and is completely out of sorts trying to jibe with the simple-minded one-liners mixed with high-concept special effects. Not to lay blame on MacDowell (Sex Lies and Videotape, Groundhog Day) at all, as there isn't a single performer (save perhaps Coburn) who seems to know how to act in this half-baked comic action vehicle that fails more miserably with each repeated attempt to soar.
I'll admit, there are occasional moments of interest and amusement, but not nearly enough to string together into anything worthwhile. The humor is wildly inconsistent, the action not much better, and as a whole, this entire film is a completely incoherent mess. The experience of watching Hudson Hawk is like discovering someone else's pair of already worn underwear -- distasteful for most, but there's always that weird guy out there who says, "Hey, uh...how much you want for 'em?"
©2004 Vince Leo