Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Hudson Hawk

Hudson Hawk - poster 2

Cinema Monolith: 1/10
IMDb: 5.5/10
Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide: ** out of 4

Released on May 24, 1991
Rated R
100 minutes

Directed by Michael Lehmann

Written by Steven E. de Souza and Daniel Waters, from a story by Bruce Willis

Cast: Bruce Willis, Danny Aiello, Andie McDowell, James Coburn, Richard E. Grant, Sandra Bernhard, David Caruso, Frank Stallone, Leonardo Cimino, Donald Burton, Lisa Matthews, William Conrad (narrator)

The 1990s were definitely not my favorite decade for movies, and Hudson Hawk is a good example of why; after I finally broke down and watched this so-called action-comedy, after years of wondering how and why it could instigate such negative feelings among moviegoers and critics alike, I now see where everyone was coming from. And I wholeheartedly agree with every hostile comment that’s ever been hurled its way: this movie was junk, pure and simple, and I have no desire to subject myself to its tedium ever again.

The concept of cast and crew goofing off throughout the making of a film, as if they were taking a paid vacation without a script, has never been a very popular one with me, and Hudson Hawk does nothing to dispel that notion; this was nothing but an incoherent, overblown, self-indulgent, self-important, misguided mess, and I got the feeling the movie existed for no other reason than to show you just how cool Bruce Willis was. And when I discovered the story was co-written by Willis, that egocentric aspect of it suddenly made perfect sense to me.

With Willis a recently-paroled burglar who becomes involved with a secret society, a counter-espionage nun, the CIA, candy-bar-named henchmen, and the works of Leonardo da Vinci, I guess it was meant to be entertainingly off-beat and screwy, which back in 1991 it could very well have been. But today, it comes off as irksome and narcissistic, with awful direction and editing, horrible one-liners, cartoonish cinema tricks, a complete lack of sense, and the grating presence of Sandra Bernhard, which in itself should be enough to turn any sensible person away.

Sadly, the worst offense of all was making aging tough-guy James Coburn suffer through this stinker; he had no business being here, and thankfully this film wasn’t the one he chose to end his stellar career with. Surprisingly, of all the actors involved, the only one who truly impressed me was Frank Stallone, who made an abbreviated but noteworthy appearance as a mob boss. Beyond that, the entire package was just too freaking irritating (as its three Razzie wins prove), and it’s a wonder I made it through the damn thing in one sitting…or at all.  (1/10)

Hudson Hawk - photo Bruce

4 comments on “Hudson Hawk

  1. Popcorn Nights

    I’ve never actually seen this but I have heard a couple of people say it’s terrible. Including you here! Looking at the cast list, I don’t think I could come up with a better mis-match of actors if you gave me a Los Angeles telephone directory, a crate of scotch and a remit to ‘think outside the box’. Although maybe I could have shoehorned Bela Lugosi and Kermit The Frog in there.


    • Todd Benefiel

      Stu, besides making me laugh, I think your updated cast list just boosted my rating by three stars. And just so you’re aware: even though I’ve recommended bad movies to you in the past, this time I’m going to advise you to skip this one at all costs. Please.


  2. Julie Dunning

    Thanks to this blistering review, I am now a FORMER Bruce Willis fan! Keep up the good work. 🙂


    • Todd Benefiel

      Well, he did do the first Die Hard movie, so we shouldn’t be too hard on him! But then again, he also did the most recent Die Hard movie, so…hmmm.


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