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Hudson Hawk

Kino // PG-13 // September 27, 2022
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ian Jane | posted October 17, 2022 | E-mail the Author

The Movie:


In Hudson Hawk, 1991 film directed by Michael Lehmann from a screenplay by Steven E. de Souza (based on a story by Bruce Willis and Robert Kraft), Bruce Willis stars as Eddie "The Hawk" Hawkins. He was once the world's most famous cat burglar but then he got caught and, well, he did a decade or so of hard time to pay for his crimes. Now that he's a free man once again, Eddie says he's going to stay on the straight and narrow. No more crime for him! But you know where this is going, right?


Eddie's partner and pal, Tommy Five-Tone (Danny Aiello), is in trouble. He's being blackmailed by the mob and the F.B.I. both of whom have got some pretty heavy dirt on him that he'd prefer not be exposed. What do they want in return? The theft of three paintings done by Leonardo DaVinci, currently held in the world's most prestigious art museum. And who does Tommy need to help him pull this off? Eddie, of course. So, he gets roped into this scheme but hey, on the way he finds romance with a beautiful nun named Anna Baragli (Andie MacDowell) and winds up getting chased by Minerva (Sandra Bernhard) and Darwin (Richard E. Grant) Mayflower, two villainous types out to take down the world's economy.


Featuring supporting work from the mighty Frank Stallone and the even mightier James Coburn, the cast makes this nonsense watchable enough. There's no depth here, but there doesn't really need to be. This film was made around the peak of Willis' popularity and the filmmakers are clever enough to just kind of let Willis be Willis. As such, he's does the whole 'smirky, smart-ass' thing here and he does it very well. Andie MacDowell is lovely as the love interest and Bernhard and Grant are funny as the foils. Aiello is Aiello, watchable in anything, even a much-maligned picture like this one, and his presence in the movie is a very welcome one.


Production values are good. We get a pretty decent score and some nice cinematography to keep things looking and sounding good. The movie had a decent budget behind it and it shows. Lehmann keeps the movie going at a pretty good pace, offering up frequently doses of action and humor, with some mild drama thrown in here and there, to hold our interest.


Really, the truth is, while no one will likely ever argue that Hudson Hawk is a great movie, it is more than passable entertainment. It's more the cast than anything else that makes this worth watching, but the cast really is strong enough to help us get through it. The film doesn't ask much of you, it's breezy and fun, occasionally injected with some doses of effective humor and moderate charm. Once the end credits role you're not left with anything to really think about, but you won't hate yourself for having watched it. The whole thing is done with a wink to the audience. We're not meant to take this seriously or see it as high art, just to enjoy the silly ride that it takes us on.


The Video:


Hudson Hawk was released on Blu-ray by Mill Creek a few years ago on a double feature disc with The Last Action Hero and this appears to use the same transfer that older disc, although the compression is noticeably better this time around. The film is presented on Blu-ray in 1.85.1 widescreen in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer and generally speaking it looks very nice. There isn't any print damage here to note, the image is pretty much spotless. Detail, depth and texture are strong solid as well, if not quite reference quality. Black levels are solid while shadow detail is quite good, although there are a few spots where you might spot some crush. Overall, this looks good, if a step or two away from amazing.


The Audio:


The only audio option for the feature is a DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track, in the film's native English. No alternate language options or subtitles are provided. The score has good depth and clarity to it while balance is just fine. There's some nice channel separation noticeable throughout the movie when the effects and score kick in. There aren't any problems understanding the dialogue at all, things always sound nice and clean Hiss and distortion are non-issues nor is there any sibilance.


The Extras:


There are no new extras here but everything from the special edition DVD release has been ported over, which is nice since the aforementioned Mill Creek Blu-ray release was barebones. The main extra on the disc is an audio commentary from director Michael Lehmann that is quite enjoyable. He speaks at length about his experiences making the movie, working with Willis and the other cast members, the contributions of the different cast members and the story itself and the different rewrites that the script went through to get to the finished version. He's well aware of the movie's reputation as a stinker and has some good fun poking fun at different aspects of the movie.


The Story of Hudson Hawk is a half hour talk between Willis and the film's producer, Robert Kraft. There's talk here about Kraft's work behind the scenes and his involvement in creating some of the score, how the two men came to know each other and collaborate on the movie, how the film was received by audiences and critics upon its initial release and how they feel about the movie overall. My Journey to Minerva spends eleven minutes with Sandra Bernhard who talks here about her experiences working on the movie and her thoughts on how it turned out and the experience as a whole. It's pretty amusing, with Bernhard doing her act here rather than providing a more traditional, formal interview.


The disc also includes the four minute Hudson Hawk Theme music video, six minutes of deleted scenes, two trailers for the feature, bonus trailers for a few other Kino Lorber releases (The Color Of Night, Green Card, Blind Fury, Bird On A Wire and The Hard Way) as well as menus and chapter selection options. A slipcover is also included with the first pressing of this release, and we also get some reversible cover sleeve art.


Overall:

Hudson Hawk is a pretty fun watch, not a masterpiece by any stretch but perfectly palatable entertainment if nothing else. Kino has done right by the movie's cult following, offering it up with a solid presentation and on a disc that ports over everything from the special edition DVD. Recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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