Willis acts as if 'Hawk' were a lavish home movie

November 22, 1991|By Josh Mooney 5/8 5/8


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Though designed as another action-comedy caper box-office winner, in the tradition of "Die Hard" and "Die Hard II," "Hudson Hawk" proved one of the biggest bombs of recent years. And with good reason: It's a painfully misconceived and poorly executed movie that seems to have been designed mainly according to the whims of its star.

Bruce Willis' performance is at the heart of what's wrong with the film -- he seems so self-satisfied, as if he were making this as a lavish home movie. He stars as the title character, the world's best cat burglar, finally out of jail and in retirement. But wouldn't you know, he's forced back into action by the evil machinations of ultra-rich (and ultra-weird) Darwin and Minerva Mayflower (Richard E. Grant and Sandra Bernhard).

The Hawk's task: to steal museum-housed works by da Vinci which, in the wrong hands, will spell world disaster. Now if only the writers had managed to make all this plausible, or at least entertaining.


HBO Video


Fans of the 1970s action-comedy "Cotton Comes to Harlem" will recognize a couple of characters in this film -- both movies were in fact based on novels by Chester Himes. Twenty-one years later, however, the mix of violence and dark humor is not as

invigorating or entertaining, although the film is full of good performances.

Forest Whitaker ("Bird") is the naive hero named Jackson, who falls for the pulchritudinous Robin Givens, playing a slick con artist who greases the plot with her stolen gold. When Jackson gets sucked into her game, his con man brother Goldy (Gregory Hines) jumps into the action, too. Goldy's relationship with transvestite brothel owner Big Kathy provides a major plot catalyst: When Big Kathy is killed, Goldy gets mad, providing the "rage" of the title.

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