|'Those who've seen it speak of it in almost-whispers; 'ah yes, Hudson Hawk', before dropping even lower, 'it's actually OK, you know'.'|
Coming to Hudson Hawk for the first time in 2012 is an odd experience. Those who've seen it speak of it in almost-whispers; 'ah yes, Hudson Hawk', before dropping even lower, 'it's actually OK, you know'. Those who haven't are less adept at the art of subtlety; 'isn't that the one where Bruce Willis tries to be really funny?'. Yes, yes it is.
Just three years after Die Hard, Bruce becomes Michael Lehmann's joke machine, in the knockabout slightly-camp Comedy it has become OK to (whisper it) really quite like. Caught between the mob, a megalomaniac (Richard E. Grant) and a C.I.A team hilariously named after candy bars - Almond Joy is the clear highlight - Willis' cat burglar is the type of character cracking a one liner even whilst the bullets part his already-thinning hair. In short: he's a typical protagonist in a Nineties Action Comedy.
That genre might bring to mind something like 1996's The Long Kiss Goodnight, but five years prior to that, Hawk has little of the darkness or malevolence Shane Black imbued his script with. This is light and surely, language aside, a 12A at most at today's standards. The jokes have an innocence about them for the most part and the script by Steven E. de Souza and Daniel Waters bears at least a topical resemblance to the mainstream-friendly thrills of The Da Vinci Code.
The script also, however - and this is the reason why it is OK to like Hudson Hawk - has some genuine moments of craft and the laughs generally engage through clever dialogue and line delivery, as well as the occasional visual treat; the pope hitting his television in order to watch Mister Ed one which will live particularly long in the memory. Ridiculous but only in so much that it is a film made at the start of the Nineties, mainly supported on the back of Bruce Willis' sense of humour.
Hudson Hawk was showing on Sky Anytime.