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Hudson Hawk


  • Burying a lightly comic, intermittently enjoyable caper story beneath blockbuster excess, random vulgarity, and graphic violence
  • Letting producer-star Bruce Willis indulge his lifelong wish to play a super-slick, boyish safe-cracker, the kind of asshole who thinks he's opposed to assholes
  • Making jokes about yuppies that were dated even in 1991

    Director Michael Lehmann

    Tone Of Commentary
    Self-pitying and defensive. Lehmann warns up front, "If you think I'm going to hit you with all the trash about this movie, you'll have to wait for the microchip version that's coming out in the next century, when everybody [involved with the movie] is dead." He also frequently cites "people brave enough to tell me they liked this movie," adding, "Did I mention this was a big hit in Europe?"

    What Went Wrong
    Lehmann plays it cagey when it comes to troubles he may have had, and merely hints at a lack of confidence by the producers, who worried about Willis' multiple ear piercings and whether anyone would know what cappuccino is. Mostly, he repeatedly insists that critics and viewers didn't get what the film was trying to do. He chalks up Hudson Hawk's continuity errors and tonal confusion to "playing with convention," and says the movie flopped because it defied audience expectations. "We had too much comedy, not enough hard action, and that got in the way of people's enjoyment." Still, he also admits that he may have gone overboard with the cartoonishness. "I really regret putting in that 'boing' sound when the tennis ball hits his forehead," he says. "That was going a little too far."

    Comments On The Cast
    Lehmann advises that his commentary audience read Richard E. Grant's production diary, because "He says things that I can't say here."

    Inevitable Dash Of Pretension
    Regarding critics' complaints that Hudson Hawk is the apotheosis of dumb, crass action movies, Lehmann explains, "We were ironically commenting on a lot of things of which we were being accused."

    Commentary In A Nutshell
    When a Pegasus statue that resembles the TriStar logo collapses on Willis, Lehmann muses, "Now, why would we have the studio logo hit Bruce Willis in the face? I don't know. You can answer that question."