Hudson Hawk (1991) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

Hudson Hawk wears the title ‘madcap comedy’ with pride. That’s about the only successful element in this frantic, unfocused, and forced romp that never finds its rhythm. I’m not sure there could have been a good picture made out of this story. A lurking feeling is that the behind-the-scenes stuff was a lot more intriguing than anything that made it on-screen.

The fearsomely complicated plot starts with Eddie “the hawk” Hudson being released from prison. He’s the world’s greatest cat burglar, but he’s ready to go straight. Things won’t be that easy for Hawk. The CIA and the mafia have teamed to blackmail Hawk and his partner (Aiello) into stealing three of DiVinci’s masterpieces from a fortified museum in Paris.

Meanwhile, Hawk falls for a schizophrenic nun (MacDowell), while being pursed by a powerful aristocratic couple (Robert E. Grant, Sandra Bernhard), who want the artwork fr their plan to bankrupt the world’s economies. It’s wall-to-wall plot turns that grow tiresome long before they resolve themselves.

Hudson Hawk is a movie that relies on star casting when it should have depended on a filmmable script. The movie has ‘big’ names in it: Bruce Willis, Danny Aiello, Andie MacDowell and James Coburn in a small role. But the movie seems to think their mere presence alone will carry the story. It’s so episodic and lacking structure that there is no framework for the jokes. Bruce Willis labors through the picture, but once again he has only asked to play Bruce Willis.

At his best, Bruce Willis can play the sardonic everyman who reluctantly takes up the mantle of hero. In roles like the title character of Hudson Hawk, Willis comes off as glib and uninterested. He seems to hover above the events and other characters, dropping in with a wise-crack or smeary smirk, as if winking to the audience that he’s in on the joke. In this case Willis is part of the joke, and it’s not funny. Either way, the movie’s a disappointing mess.

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

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