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Awfully Good: Hudson Hawk

Feb. 13, 2013by: Jason Adams

No matter how diluted the DIE HARD franchise gets with each passing sequel, rest easy that it will never make Bruce Willis look as bad as

Hudson Hawk (1991)

Director: Michael Lehmann
Stars: Bruce Willis, Andie MacDowell, Danny Aiello

A recently paroled thief gets caught up in a scheme to steal "La Macchina dell' Oro"a machine built by Leonardo Da Vinci that turns metal in to gold.

HUDSON HAWK represents a significant moment in Bruce Willis' careerthat magical time when an actor is so successful and infallible that nobody is willing to tell them "NO." Or in the case of this infamous 1991 disaster, "Hell no, Bruno! What are you thinking?!"


Bruce's Rosie Perez impression was a sight to behold.

It's hard to explain what went so wrong with HUDSON HAWK. When you describe it in words or break down the individual elements, it doesn't sound so bad. Willis had proven he had great instincts with both comedy and action, so combining the two with a story he created seemed natural. Writer Steven E. de Souza was hot off scripting DIE HARD (and still yet to be responsible for Van Damme's STREET FIGHTER), while director Michael Lehmann still had some critical clout from HEATHERS. It would take an almost perfect storm of mistakes to wreck this train but that's exactly what you get: an Amtrak collision in celluloid form.


"No, they've seen COP OUT. They've suffered enough."

HUDSON HAWK is clearly supposed to be an over-the-top, absurdist caper, but it only succeeds in being truly bizarre. It's almost like the film changes genres scene-to-scene and tone line-to-line. Between all the slatpstick humor, cartoon sound effects, random non-sequiturs, and implausible eye-rolling sequences, the things that are supposed to be funny rarely work and the action is too silly to be exciting. Let's look at the title character, for example. Willis plays a cat burglar who is solely defined by his love of cappuccino, funny hat, and random knowledge of pop music length. When he and his partner steal stuff, they sings songs to synchronize their actions instead of, you know, using a watchwhich leads to musical numbers during the robberies. Ridiculous stuff like this might be amusing at first, but watching Willis make bad joke after bad joke is so embarrassing and cringeworthy that you're yelling at the TV begging him to stop before you start hating John McClane.


Mario was super seriously not getting the flu this year.

On top of that nonsense, the story itself is too convoluted and weird for its own good, with so many different tangents going on and each more ludicrous than the last. First, Hawk gets hassled by his parole officer. Than he gets forced in to a job by mob bosses the Mario Brothers (one of many blatant Nintendo references). Soon, a team of corrupt CIA agents named after candy bars comes calling, only to lead our hero to the real evil masterminds, a rich sadist couple who are so bored by their multinational corporation that they've decided to steal Da Vinci's gold-making device and take over the world. Oh, and in between all this is Willis' romantic subplot with an undercover nun and her secret Catholic crimefighting society. (<-- Yeah, this.) By the time HUDSON HAWK reaches The Da Vinci Code Lite, it's so exhausting trying to keep up with the nonstop "jokes" and the made-up-as-they-went-along plot that you might be tired if you weren't watching something clearly fuelled by amphetamines.


"Whose castle is this?"

Amazingly enough, Bruce Willis isn't the only Hollywood star forever tarnished with this black mark upon their filmography. Andie MacDowell is hilariously bad as an Italian nun who's also a secret Vatican counterintelligence agent. Danny Aiello has to perform show tunes as Willis' partner in crime, while Sandra Bernhard sings C+C Music Factory as the villain. Legendary actor James Coburn is a kung fu fighting CIA agent and David Caruso is his mute crossdressing teammate named Kit Kat. But the only person to come out of HUDSON HAWK looking good? You guessed it -- Frank Stallone!


Unfortunately, Bruce was referring to his new Virtual Boy.

Some truly awful one-liners, a bad dolphin impression and misleading narration.

Bruce Willis shoots a dog, takes a ride in an ambulance, and just in general acts like a crazy person.

No nudity, but still wrong.


Want a bird of prey that can't fly? Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:
  • Someone sings
  • A terrible pun is made
  • Hawk attempts to drink coffee
  • Hawk flies through the air on some kind of rope
  • Someone makes a reference to Nintendo
  • The pope has bad reception
Double shot if:
  • Hawk gets his cappuccino

Thanks to Randy, Stewart and Felix for suggesting this week's movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: JoBlo.com

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1:50AM on 02/13/2013

love this movie

Horrible yet awesome with a goofy ending, just like my prom.
Horrible yet awesome with a goofy ending, just like my prom.
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2:21AM on 02/13/2013
Hudson Hawk is a great movie, so funny & twisted, almost like Bruce was parodiyng himself. You should have done The Last Action Hero for this column when the Last Stand came out. I mean you did Demolition Man for Stallone. but you did Junior for Schwarzenegger?
Hudson Hawk is a great movie, so funny & twisted, almost like Bruce was parodiyng himself. You should have done The Last Action Hero for this column when the Last Stand came out. I mean you did Demolition Man for Stallone. but you did Junior for Schwarzenegger?
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2:23AM on 02/13/2013
> Sandra Bernhard sings C+C Music Factory
It's SNAP - The Power you dumbass
The movie is awesome, I enjoyed it sooo much when I was a teen
> Sandra Bernhard sings C+C Music Factory
It's SNAP - The Power you dumbass
The movie is awesome, I enjoyed it sooo much when I was a teen
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+14
5:32AM on 02/13/2013
I love this movie. The only irritating part is the villain. I don't know why but he/she is just annoying. And also love David Caruso in this movie.
I love this movie. The only irritating part is the villain. I don't know why but he/she is just annoying. And also love David Caruso in this movie.
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+13
7:07AM on 02/13/2013
Now I want to watch Hudson Hawk again. The more people trash it, the more I want to watch it.
Now I want to watch Hudson Hawk again. The more people trash it, the more I want to watch it.
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+19
7:33AM on 02/13/2013
I always liked this movie. I loved the "singing" scenes when they're stealing the stuff, the slapstick feel to it, and the "bizarre-ness" to it. It's a guilty pleasure of mine.
I always liked this movie. I loved the "singing" scenes when they're stealing the stuff, the slapstick feel to it, and the "bizarre-ness" to it. It's a guilty pleasure of mine.
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+12
10:21AM on 02/13/2013
It's still one of my favorite movie after all these years. I feel that Bruce Willis has grown into this bored, cynical, old, almost has-been actor who wouldn't quit, and this movie reminds me of the time where he was actually having fun in what he was doing. Granted, this movie is *probably* what lead him into becoming the bored, cynical, old, almost has-been actor that we know today, but the heck with that.
It's still one of my favorite movie after all these years. I feel that Bruce Willis has grown into this bored, cynical, old, almost has-been actor who wouldn't quit, and this movie reminds me of the time where he was actually having fun in what he was doing. Granted, this movie is *probably* what lead him into becoming the bored, cynical, old, almost has-been actor that we know today, but the heck with that.
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-5
2:45PM on 02/13/2013
Thank you for acknowledging the truth about Hudson Hawk, and how truly terrible it is. I find it incomprehensible that anyone would honestly enjoy watching this dreck, yet I happen to know a lot of people who claim they do (like many of the posters below). It's asinine, stupid, nonsensical, and an utter waste of time. One of the worst movies ever made.
Thank you for acknowledging the truth about Hudson Hawk, and how truly terrible it is. I find it incomprehensible that anyone would honestly enjoy watching this dreck, yet I happen to know a lot of people who claim they do (like many of the posters below). It's asinine, stupid, nonsensical, and an utter waste of time. One of the worst movies ever made.
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