See it Again – Hudson Hawk

Rotten Tomatoes Freshness Meter

Critics – 22%

Audience – 54%

What  You Should Know

This movie is a comedy. Not in the way “Up in The Air” is a comedy where most of the film tries to be serious and realistic and sad. This is a wacky, screwball comedy that pokes fun at caper films while also being a caper film. This film belongs to the same category as “Arsenic and Old Lace”, “Bringing Up Baby” or “Austin Powers”. It’s not really a spoof film as much as comedic version of a caper or heist film. Hudson Hawk is light and fun and isn’t meant to be taken seriously or to be anything more than an entertainment.

Why You Should Reconsider

The film has an amazing cast, an unusual story and it is interesting. Much like any broad comedy most viewers are going to find some of the jokes and gags hit home while others do nothing for them. Is this a bad thing? Bruce Willis plays against his image in Hudson Hawk. He’s goofy and odd. Andie MacDowell secretly works for The Vatican. The movie is quirky and has bits that are meant to playful or silly rather than make sense.

Viewers should reconsider watching this film because it belongs to a category of films that often is mistreated. Earlier I mentioned “Up in The Air” and my intention was not to slight the film. “Up in The Air” is a film that fits into several categories, one of which is comedy. A film like “Hudson Hawk” belongs only to this category and audiences now have a difficult time accepting works that do this as being of the same quality as those belonging to multiple categories. These single category films are often quite wonderful and are more rewarding once you, the viewer, accept the fact that they aren’t trying to offer every emotion and experience a movie can. A film like Hudson Hawk is trying to make you laugh. It is trying to entertain you. You should reconsider this movie because quite possibly you were the only thing standing in your way when it came to enjoyment.

Misconceptions

Most critics seem to think the film has little worth and was merely a vanity film for Mr. Willis. These are undoubtedly the same people who would never consider a comedy for a best picture award or who think sentimentality does not apply to topics like drug addiction, death and any severe trauma being inflicted on children in films (to see how I am defining sentimentality see this post). In short most seem to dismiss this film for the very reason why it exists: it’s fun.

I would imagine many went into this film expecting a movie grounded in reality, where the fight scenes and explosions and even the story attempted to walk some kind of line between the fantastic and ordinary. With that approach I would imagine most would be very disappointed. The movie is a departure for Mr. Willis and I would think most of his fans would find it a welcome one. As with most movies of this kind what is required of the audience is a bit of allowance for error, an understanding that a comedy of this sort isn’t about every joke being perfect or every performance being nuanced. I find this type of comedy to be reminiscent of films from childhood, where the overall experience is more important than any particular part.

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6 thoughts on “See it Again – Hudson Hawk

  1. You know, I’ve never seen this film, but being a Bruce Willis fan I have heard about it several times and always said “bah, it got bad reviews. I’ll skip it.” After reading this article, though, I think I may take a look.

    Great article!

  2. I saw this in the theatre with my then-boyfriend. He was expecting a straight-up Bruce Willis action flick and HATED it. I had no expectations and took it as a comedy or spoof of action flicks, and laughed the whole way through. It’s all in the preconceptions.

  3. I have always enjoyed this film for what it is supposed to be…slapstick and screwball. Thanks for taking the time to post your review. I am currently sending it around to family and friends who have disparaged it over the years!

  4. Well said, couldn’t agree more. When I saw this in the theatre, I thought it was an awful. Afterwards I would catch it on TV every once in a while, and I would get pulled in by individual scenes, and then find that I couldn’t tear myself away from watching the rest.

    I’ve since decided that the more you see this movie, the better it gets. I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to see it again, but I definitely would watch it if it happens to be on and I’m vegging out on my couch on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

  5. The marketing was a big problem for this film – Willis was right in the middle of his popularity surge for playing John McClane (Moonlight had ended) and the studio tried to cash in on that and sell it as his next big action movie. (The scene where he swings from DaVinci castle was used in all commercials.)

    Once you leave all that behind and realize that it’s a movie about what a guy who just got out of prison will do to get a cappuccino, it’s suddenly a much better film.

    The heist at the auction house is a particularly good scene.

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