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Hudson Hawk

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 96 mins . R . PAL


Panned by the critics, panned by the public, loved by a few. Is it Bruce Willis or is it the movie itself given that the combination of him and the Fifth Element had the same effect on people. Whatever the feeling, Hudson Hawk is the type of movie that will either have you asking "What the?" or have you stating "How cool!".

Hudson Hawk (Bruce Willis) is a professional cat burglar who's just been released from prison after a very long time. He immeadiately meets up with his old partner Tommy (Danny Aiello) whom he hopes will help him go straight. Problem is the Mario Brothers have blackmailed him into stealing 3 priceless artifacts from the Vatican. These crystal artifacts come from the mind of Leonardo De Vinci himself who used them to turn led into solid gold.

Not only is he blackmailed by the brothers, an eccentric english loon (Richard E Grant) and his crazy girlfriend (Sandra Bernhard) is also part of the plan along with a crooked CIA operative (James Coburn), his chocolate bar henchmen and an undercover vatican nun as the resident love interest (Andie MacDowell). Getting weirder? It certainly does as you start to wonder just who is in control here. Needless to say Hudson always comes out singing his way through all obstacles a cat burglar would ever come across.


A disappointment here. The main problem is the inconsistency throughout the movie. Right from the outset it is obvious that the transfer has troubles with black levels. Because of this shadow detail is almost negligible giving the darker sections of the image a washed out greyish look that doesn't blend in well with the rest of the light to dark graduation.

Image detail is very good and sharpness is not a problem at all. Edge enhancement is not really evident which is a blessing given that amount of grain, dust and noise in the picture. Any form of enhancement would have been an immeadiate detriment to the film. There really is alot of grain in the image which incurs some slight mpeg artifacting at times.

What's surprising is that some scenes actually look very good, almost excellent yet the others as mentioned above are on the opposite extreme. Granted, the better looking scenes are those shot during the day.


The movie is presented with 4 Dolby Surround languages with a single mono Italian soundtrack. I doubt this movie would have needed that 5.1 encoding as the soundtrack isn't as encompassing as you'd expect.

Dialogue is always discernable yet I found myself upping the center channel to cater for some whispering. Front stage stereo separation is ok with surprisingly very little use of the effect yet the surround channels were used to some good effect during the more creative action sequences. Low frequency use was limited if used at all.

There is one scene toward the end where a females voice is forced into the surrounds when it doesn't need to be. I think they were going for that all encompassing effect yet it came across as a dull interpretation.


Apart from the smattering of subtitles, all you get is an Audio Commentary from director Michael Lehmann, a trailer promoting dvd and cast/crew filmographies.

The audio commentary is surprisingly full of tidbits. In almost every scene Michael makes an effort to let us know about an actor who's a brother or someone famous (Frank Stallone as one of the Mario Brothers for example) or where the scene shifts from filming in Rome to an on set shot and back to Rome again. I actually enjoyed this commentary and it's nice to see the director defending his film from all those that panned it.


I wouldn't say I enjoyed the movie but then again I wouldn't say I hated it. You know that response of "Ehhh, not bad" well that's how I felt. My main gripe was that alot of the scenes didn't quite flow smoothly or weren't executed as good as others I've seen. It just seem rushed at times and a little un-choreographed.

But then again, there were a fair few laughs that give you a sign that it could have been something better than what it turned out to be.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=210
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      And I quote...
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