Posted in: Disc Reviews by Michael Durr on December 5th, 2007
The movie of Hudson Hawk was often panned by critics who thought the movie was the worst thing since George Bush Sr moved into office. Look where that has got us! Remember kids, bad presidents only birth worse presidents. Anyhow, Hudson Hawk which was billed as an action comedy and was thought of by many as sloppy, over-inflated movie making that took the cream of bad movie making. Was it a turd that sank like the Titanic?(both the movie and the ship) Was it a lemon like XXX? (both the movie and the scent of Vin Diesel’s Mr. Clean head) Actually no. *gasps and shufflings* I know, you expect me to blast it for the steaming pile it is. But when in fact, I enjoyed myself for a solid one hundred minutes. I didn’t even need lotion either.
The story starts off with a song. Actually Eddie “Hudson Hawk” Hawkins (played by Bruce Willis) just did a song or term over in Sing-Sing for cat burglary. Now he wants to go straight. However, others in the business have different ideas. Seems there is a plot to steal various items that were in possession of the great Leonardo Da Vinci. The only one they feel that is suited for this job is Hudson Hawk. So, they make an effort to push him in that direction. He does the deed enlisting the help of Tommy Five-Tone (played by Danny Aiello), his old thieving buddy. The first item is a gold horse from Leonardo that is to be put on auction and certified authentic by the Vatican. They make the theft the night before and think they have finished the adventure. But in reality, it’s only started. The plot takes off from there until we get to a rising climax where a nun, a CIA group that goes by the name of famous candybars and a recreation of a machine that turns lead into gold all take part.
From the moment Tommy Five-Tone and Hudson Hawk break into song with “Swinging on a Star” (or later in the flic with “Side by Side”), you realize that you can’t take this movie for a serious picture. There is a nun (played by Andie MacDowell) who has a thing for art history and Hudson Hawk. There are two crazy rich yuppies, Darwin & Minerva Mayflower (played by Richard E. Grant & Sandra Bernhard) who want to take over the world by using the mass production of gold to disturb the global economy. Throw continuity out the window, this is the ultimate definition of a popcorn flic. Bruce Willis is in rare-form that feels like a combination of his roles in Die Hard and Moonlighting. Danny Aiello is the perfect counterpart to Bruce and they have a wonderful chemistry. The supporting cast is great (especially Sandra Bernhard’s character) and as long as you leave your mind at the door, you will have a great time.
The film is over 15 years old but actually looks pretty clean. There is some restoration done and there is very little grain or other artifacts. The 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen does the film justice and is a good show of something old can look like something relatively new.
We get sound for the English and French in 2.0 Dolby Surround Sound. This is an action flic even if it is on the campy side. One would then expect that you get some effects and that it would be a bit loud during the sequences and the musical numbers too. It’s alright. It feels just average but dialog is clear and you will be able to hear what should be going on. Subtitles are also provided for English, French and Portuguese.
- Commentary with Michael Lehmann: The director of this movie explains all you ever need to know about Hudson Hawk without dipping into the controversy or how this movie was panned by critics. This movie did very well in Europe you know.
- Deleted Scenes 5:38: A majority of the deleted scenes revolve around Little Eddie who was Hudson’s pet monkey. This was left out for various obvious reasons. The other deleted scenes are decent but there is nothing that screams it would make the movie so much better.
- Hudson Hawk Trivia Track: Puts a subtitle track along the bottom in yellow full of interesting facts regarding the movie and its locations.
- My Journey to Minerva 10:57: Sandra Bernhard is her delightful sarcastic and surreal self as she talks about her portrayal of Minerva. This was recorded last year and she actually looks better now than in the film. She still is a very funny woman and I wish she had more roles like this.
- The Story of Hudson Hawk 29:55: Bruce Willis and executive producer Robert Kraft sit at a piano in Cherokee Studios and talk about Hudson Hawk while singing showtunes. It’s kinda cool and it’s kinda bizarre. Supposedly the film has made a profit now. Gotta love DVD & VHS sales. Also recorded last year, Bruce looks very candid here as they spend an equal amount of time going into the history of the friendship between Willis and Kraft.
- “Hudson Hawk Theme” by Dr. John 4:00: The video for the theme sung by the great Dr. John. Very dated video mixed with the usual movie clips but a fun 4 minutes.
- Trailers: Monty Python & The Holy Grail, Dynamic Duo (TV), Ultraviolet, & The Detonator
Hudson Hawk actually won 3 razzies for being what most critics said was an awful picture. It isn’t a masterpiece but what it is, is a movie that has a grand ole time. Whether Hudson Hawk is strapped to a gurney flying down the Golden Gate Bridge or Andie MacDowell is making dolphin noises, it’s a movie where you just forget about things for a while. That’s what some people forget when everybody is trying to win an Oscar or have a “groundbreaking” film. We just want a fun movie. The dvd is decent and does provide a good selection of extras to learn more about what made Hudson Hawk click. Most people would make the analogy that not even DaVinci’s machine could turn this lead paper weight into gold but just maybe they turned it into something that is worth more. An hour and a half of good entertainment. Recommended as long as you leave your brain at the door.
- Dvdmg.com: “Perhaps if Hawk conjured a compelling story, it might become engaging”
- DVDInMyPants.com: “Don’t like the fact that Bruce Willis is basically Jesus with a fetish for jazz? Too f—— bad. “