Return of the bullet review: Hudson Hawk (spoilers)

So after much hunting of moives I’m supposed to review, I finally found some of them. This installment is Bruce Willis’s box office bomb Hudson Hawk.

In a word: Meh.

It didn’t outright suck, but I didn’t think it was all that good either. It was average, IMO. Not worth the the horrid reviews it got when first released, but It’s a bit offbeat and quirky, which probably explains the cult following it seems to have.

The setup for the story is that hundreds of years ago, when commisioned to scuplt a horse out of brass, Leonardo DaVinci learned the secret of turning lead into gold. Fast forward 500 years or so, Hudson Hawk (the nickname for Bruce Willis’s character), cat burglar extraordinaire, is released from prison. He’s not even out of the building when his parole officer says he’s got a job for him. But the Hawk isn’t stealing anymore, he wants to go straight.

After some convincing from mob bosses the Mario Brothers (do this job Or Else), Hawk decides to steal the horse DaVinci scuplted when he learned the secret of alchemy. Hawk does so, knowing how much time he has to pull of the job by singing “Swinging From a Star” (as opposed to using a watch :rolleyes: What kind of cat-burglar makes noise on purpose as a necessary means of pulling a heist?)

So Hawk steals the horse, delievers it to the poeple he’s supposed to only to have this English butler-guy show up, kill the parole officer and smash the horse apart, revealing a piece of a crystal that was part of DaVinci’s alchemy machine. So… the genius that DaVinci is, he learns the secret of alchemy and (for whatever reason) decides not to share this secret. Does he destroy the machine and all notes on how to build it? Nope. Leave the machine in tact, just disassemble the all-important crystal piece and hide the pieces. No, no, don’t destroy the crystal. Don’t throw the crystal pieces into the ocean, just hide them in various artifacts. We will never be able to fully understand the depths of DaVinci’s genius it seems.

The next day, the paper reports an attempted theft of DaVinci’s horse and that the horse will be auctioned as planned. Hawk goes to the auction to check it out. Why? Who knows? Who cares? Hawk needs to be there to meet love interest Andie MacDowell and get the first glimpse of our villians, the uber-rich Mayflowers (Sandra Bernhard and some other English guy, but not the same butler-guy that killed the parole officer the night before). So, in the interest of moving the story forward, Hawk goes to the auction. This plan blows up in his face – literally, as a bomb was apparently in the gavel or something that was set to go off when the horse was sold. (I don’t know how they knew when the gavel would go off or whatever, but this movie isn’t the kind you watch for logic or realism.)

We then meet James Coburn’s character, a career CIA man, who’s in bed with the Mario Brothers, who are in league with the Mayflowers. The CIA man’s team all have candy bar nicknames. There’s Almond Joy, Butterfinger, Snickers, and Kit Kat (pre NYPD Blue David Caruso, who for some reason doesn’t speak, just has phrases printed on cards).

SO all these guys are in this together, along with Andie MacDowell, who we learn is a nun involved with some Vatican agency.

Moving to Rome, Hawk is now supposed to steal a book belonging to DaVinci. Guess why? Another piece of the crystal is hidden in it. So the question is… How do all these people know where the crystal pieces are hidden? After 500 years of scholars studying DaVinci, why don’t we hear of this sooner? And why the HELL didn’t DaVinci just throw the crystals into the sea?!

By now, I really start to lose interest in the film. I don’t even remember where the third piece of the crystal is or how they got it. The Mayflowers are double-crossing everyone, including the Mario Brothers and the CIA. The movie just gets silly after a while (Coburn and Willis’s fight scene for example, where Willis is just getting hit forward than backward to the point he is bobbing up and down like one of the bird-like paper weigth things that look like they’re drinking water for a glass without Coburn hitting him at all. Coburn moves back for a running start to kick Willis, who notices his hat has fallen off and can suddenly stop bobbing long enough to grab his hat just in time to avoid Coburn’s leaping kick. Coburn then flies over the wall to land on a moving car 50 ft or so below.)

Pretty soon everyone’s dead except Andie MacDowell, Bruce Willis, and the Mayflowers and their butler. The Mayflowers have all three pieces of the crystal, but don’t know how they fit together. Brucie boy does it, but slyly palms a piece of the crystal so that they try to work the alchemy machine with a defective part. The alchemy machine blows up, everyone dies except Brucie boy and Andie girl, and miraculously, Danny Aiello, who BTW is in the movie too as Hawk’s partner and went over a cliff in the car that Coburn landed on (that also blew up in midair). Aiello survived thanks to airbags and a sprinkler system in the car. I didn’t bother to mention him before now since he’s not really a necessary character for the story.

Anyway. I found it to be a blah story. To goofy to take seriously, but not quite goofy enough to be enjoyable.

Your eyes won’t fall out if you watch it, and as said before it’s not as bad as its reputation, but I didn’t like it. Avoidable, but nothing to run screaming from if you catch it on late-night cable.

I’m not an expert on Da Vinci, but that seems ‘in character’, AFAIK. Da Vinci made lots of ‘inventions’ that didn’t really work: one of the views on this is that he incorporated flaws in his designs on purpose, so that only really intelligent people could benefit from his work after his death. The whole ‘alchemy’ thing fits in nicely, as only someone very dedicated would go through all the trouble.

Apart from all that, I love “Hudson Hawk” because of its goofiness (of which there is plenty, IMHO). I understand why it wasn’t a hit, but I certainly would have payed money for it at the box office.

Substitute “paid” for “payed” to make me look like less of an idiot.

A lost classic.

Come on, this movie is fantastic. Bruce Willis has a wonderful gift… the ability to finess any role such that every line he delivers, regardless of what is actually said, telegraphs a big FUCK YOU to the plot, the other characters, AND the viewer. Such effortless, off the cuff disrespect is a treasure to be savored. He does it in the Fifth Element, too.

And who cast the romantic leads? What were they thinking? It’s priceless.

Also, you’ve got Richard E. Grant and Sandra Bernhard playing every scene they’re in totally over the top. James Coburn gets in some punches too. How could you neglect to mention the line Minerva Mayflower (Sandra) delivers right before she kills a nun with a crossbow?

“If you see the big guy, tell him he’s a LOSER!”

And that’s just one of many! You just weren’t paying attention. When it was at the dollar theater we must have gone to see it half a dozen times.


Any Hudson Hawk obsessives [???] should check out Richard E. Grant’s memoir, With Nails. From his point of view, the filming process was one big, sloppy, overbudgeted mess, with the certain actors’ duelling egos dominating proceedings.

OTOH, he really enjoyed hanging out with Sandra Bernhard.


In my opinion, the line about the Hat Convention is what makes the whole movie worth it. :slight_smile:

Oh Lord in Heaven, I love this movie. It’s completely off the wall - the creators tipped their hat by throwing in sound effects straight out a Warner Bros. cartoon. Sure, its silly, often illogical, and somewhat pointless - but that’s totally intentional! The goal of the movie was to put together some talent and have fun making a nutty popcorn flick. Bruce WIllis did exactly the same thing in “The Fifth Element”, wiht only slightly higher profuction values. People just paid to see it the second time.

I agree with the responses above. The OP was looking for the wrong things in this movie. To have logical objections to “Hudson Hawk” is like having logical objections to a Roadrunner cartoon.

Not a perfect film by any means, but its moments of brilliance far outshine its dull spots. The pope orders a hit by a nun assassin for godssake!

Bunny! Ball-ball!

Crunchy Frog, I’ve seen Hudson Hawk, and not only is your review dead-on, reading it is much funnier than watching the movie. Thanks.

Any chance of a Heaven’s Gate bullet?

I was actually hoping to like this movie, as I’d heard before picking it up that it’s vastly underrated. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t hit it as hard and I hit Exorcist II and Crossroads starring Brittany Spears.

I didn’t hate the movie, I just didn’t find it that good. But that’s just my opinion. I know it’s just meant to be goofy, mindless fun not to be taken too seriously, but it just didn’t click with me.

And Selkie, I can’t find any copies of Heaven’s Gate anywhere. If you do a search in the forum, someone did a review just a couple months ago though.

I’ve also got a line on where to get a copy of Ricky-Oh: The Story of Ricky and I Spit on Your Grave. (Two films requested in the thread linked to in my sig.) Those will probably get watched this weekend.

Hudson Hawk is fun in a kinda of a summer popcorn flick way. Not overtly offensive as Battlefield Earth, but not exactly a must see.

Hudson Hawk is great movie to have on in the background when you’re online. I just watch the parts I like.

Battlefield Earth was a great comedy!

Like Santa Claus Vs The Martians or Manos, Hands Of Fate. I await your thread with bated breath.

Anybody got a Certs?

Er… It was filmed in my home town?

I liked it because it reminded me of those saturday afternoon matinee’s that I used to watch as a kid in the 70’s.

It was not a movie to take seriously , and was good for a few chuckles about the adventures of some shmuck from jersey,lol.