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Guilty Pleasures – Hudson Hawk

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Bruce Willis was born to be a police officer. Or at least act as one in several dozen films. From his manly days as the unluckiest cop in the world in Die Hard, through to his current role as the unluckiest cop in the world in Die Hard 5, it’s impossible to imagine the man in any other role.

Not that he didn’t try his hand at any other non-cop film, mind you. Plastic Surgeon, army officer and master assassin are just a few of the roles that he has assumed over the years.

But nothing compares to his one time performance, as a caffeine-starved art thief, in Hudson Hawk.There’s no accurate way to describe the genre that Hudson Hawk jumped headfirst into. It’s part heist-flick, musical, comedy, action and Indiana Jones, all blended into one abomination.

But damn it, it’s a helluva charming 100 minutes of celluloid. It’s also a film with several of my favourite actors in it, from Willis and Danny Aiello, through to James Coburn and Andie Macdowell, and of course, Richard E Grant.

It’s obvious that Grant knows that he’s in a terrible film, but the amount of energy that he puts into his role, the enthusiasm and dedication present, borders on Raul Julia Street Fighter levels of professionalism.

And man, what a storyline! If there was one, at least. Amidst all the slapstick, action and singing, I picked up something about wanting a cappuccino, stealing a Leonardo Da Vinci horse and mentally retarded CIA agents somehow being mesmerised by James Coburn and his Solar Flare set of teeth.

Back when it was released, in 1991, movie critics found religion, and labelled the film as:

So implausible and so over the top that it lets inconsistency roll off like water on a duck’s back


A movie this unspeakably awful can make an audience a little crazy. You want to throw things, yell at the actors, beg them to stop.

Sure, it may have killed Tristar Studios, forcing them to merge with Sony, but it’s undeniably fun because it’s so bad. It’s essentially The Avengers of bad films.

Brilliant in its terrible execution, yet somehow, you can’t turn away from this train wreck of a spectacle. It’s one of the most expensive cult films ever made for its time ($65 million budget), but it’s still enjoyable in an absurd way, 21 years after it released.


Last Updated: May 17, 2012

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