Hudson Hawk – 1 out of 5
Being one of those people who had a childhood in the 80s and pre-teen and teenage years in the 90s, Hudson Hawk came out during my formative years. Because of movies like Die Hard, I was a Bruce Willis fan and wanted to see it based solely on the fact that he was in it. Even as a young boy, I heard nothing but bad things about the movie and even my father, who eventually rented it, told me that we wouldn’t watch it together because it was such garbage—this was coming from my dad who pretty much let me watch anything and is why I have a love for low budget, bad films. So, I forgot about it and went on with my life, not missing anything. For some reason, I was reminded of the feature’s existence and finally decided to check it out. Honestly, I should have followed the example my dad set and just never bothered with this one.
|I'm only including this because this is the dummy of a character that was blown|
up during the film. I paused the movie at the right moment. The dummy
looks like he knows he's going to die and regrets every moment of his life.
|I wanna make a joke that being the subject of a Dan |
Brown book is worse than this film but, alas, Hudson
Hawk is way, way worse than The Da Vinci Code.
Long ago, Leonardo da Vinci (Stefano Molinari) made a machine that turned lead into gold and hid the secrets of how the machine is constructed and operates in his paintings and works. Many, many, many years later, a husband and wife team named Darwin and Minerva Mayflower (Richard E. Grant and Sandra Bernhard) pull some strings that resulted in renowned cat burglar Hudson Hawk (Bruce Willis) and his partner Tommy Five-Tone (Danny Aiello) to pull off some heists in order to get what they need to construct da Vinci’s machine. In over his head and unsure of whom he can trust Hawk finds himself at odds with the Mayflowers, the CIA and even the Vatican. And this whole time, he just wants to relax after he just served his prison sentence and enjoy a cappuccino.(Why a cappuccino? Because it was the 90s. Those were still a novelty then.)
|Only 90s kids will remember cappuccinos. Am I doing those stupid memes right?|
So…yeah…this movie is definitely something else. I have a hard time really coming up with the words to describe and review this thing. I think the best way to articulate how I felt about this one is that it is a complete misfire. Essentially, Hudson Hawk is a slapstick, wacky R-rated comedy and presents itself as something silly but sorta just comes off awkward, strange and like it is desperate for attention. I didn’t find any of the set pieces, gags, jokes, or performances that amusing and I wasn’t even able to laugh at how bad it was. The whole thing just felt like a strange fever dream that was on the verge of a nightmare at any second. It’s clearly an experience to endure because there’s nothing else that is even remotely close to it; however, it’s not an experience I’d ever want to relive or even recommend in the future. I didn’t find myself hating this film but, instead, just mystified by the whole thing because there was a lot of people that saw over its production and said, “Yes, this is the product we’re going to go with.”
|Seriously, did anyone question what they were making at any point?|
|Richard E. Grant seems to be staring into someone's|
soul while Sandra Bernhard is using her mind
to destroy it.
Pretty much everything about this film is wacked-out nutso. The performances are needlessly over-the-top, the dialogue feels like word vomit and nonsense half the time, the jokes often feel like they were crafted by an alien race that is only learning of the whole thing called humor, and the plot feels all over the place pretty much all the time. The film also likes to add sound effects in order to enhance the cartoonish nature of the feature but all it seems to enhance is just how crazy the whole thing feels. I couldn’t even bring myself to laugh at how bad the film was because I was put into a stupor over just how surreal the whole experience ended up feeling. There was a brief moment that I thought someone might have slipped me something and I was tripping but I don’t go out and I avoid human contact so that wasn’t possible at all. The reality was this movie was just super effed up.
|Even James Coburn wasn't immune to the insanity of this film.|
One thing that really struck me as I watched this 26 years after it was released was how committed Bruce Willis was to the role. After seeing him phone it in for nearly a decade, it was a huge shock to see him give it his all to a movie. This shock was only exaggerated when you realize just how bonkers, batshit crazy this whole film is. Modern Day Willis puts on a mask that makes it look like everything is beneath him but, apparently in 1991, he wasn’t above acting like a buffoon and trying to channel his inner vaudeville performer. Honestly, this was the one thing I honestly enjoyed about the film because it was a nice reminder that there was a time when he gave a shit about the products he was in and wasn’t giving a “doing it for the paycheck” amount of effort. Plus, there’s a strange sort of charm he brings to the role of Hawk that somehow works well in this odd production.
|Hmmm...Willis seemed to care when he had hair. No hair, no care!|
I'm on to something here!
I won’t go as far to say that Hudson Hawk is a bad movie because, in theory, the whole thing is sound. It’s a mess but the performances aren’t horrible—they’re crazy insane but not horrible—and, as nutso as the plot gets, it’s sorta structurally sound (if you boil it down enough). What makes Hudson Hawk not work for me was the whole thing was a giant misfire. Sure, in theory some of the elements work but none of them are delivered in the right quantities and measurements. The humor and jokes could have worked but they’re delivered too grandly and not subtlety enough. The performances might have been fine but no one seemed to tune in on the level they needed to be at. So much of this might have been fine but the balance just wasn’t there and, because of that, the whole film is just freakin’ cheeseballs with a side of nuts. I’m saying it’s a strange, crazy film. I’m talking like a maniac here, see how it made me lose my mind?