Awfully Good: Hudson Hawk
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)
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' career–that 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 watch—which 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.
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
- Hawk gets his cappuccino
Thanks to Randy, Stewart and Felix for suggesting this week's movie!
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