Hudson Hawk is a 1991 film, directed by Michael Lehmann. Bruce Willis stars in the title role and also co-wrote the story. Danny Aiello, Andie MacDowell, James Coburn, David Caruso, Lorraine Toussaint, Frank Stallone, Richard E. Grant, and Sandra Bernhard are also featured.
The live action film makes heavy use of cartoon-style slapstick, including sound effects, which enhances the movie's signature surreal humour. The plot combines material based on conspiracy theories, secret societies, and historic mysteries, as well as outlandish "clockpunk" technology à la Coburn's Our Man Flint movies of the 1960s.
A recurring plot device in the film has Hudson and his partner Tommy "Five-Tone" (Aiello) singing songs concurrently but separately, to time and synchronize their exploits. Willis-Aiello duets of Bing Crosby's Swinging on a Star and Paul Anka's Side by Side feature on the movie's soundtrack.
The holders of the various players' puppet strings turn out to be a "psychotic American corporation", Mayflower Industries, run by a husband-and-wife team (Grant and Bernhard) and their blade-slinging butler. The company, headquartered in the Esposizione Universale Roma (E.U.R.) in Rome, is seeking to take over the world by reconstructing "La Macchina dell'Oro", a machine purportedly invented by Leonardo da Vinci which converts lead into gold. A special assembly of crystals needed for the machine to function are hidden in a variety of Leonardo's artworks: the Sforza, the Da Vinci Codex, and a scale model of DaVinci's helicopter design.
Sister Anna Baragli (MacDowell), initially his tail and later his refuge (and subsequent love interest), is an operative for a secretive Vatican counter-espionage agency, called the Vatican Organization by George Kaplan, which makes an unexplained arrangement with the CIA to assist in the Roman portion of Hudson's mission, though apparently intending all along to use the connection to foil the robbery at St. Peter's Basilica.
The movie culminates in a showdown at Leonardo's castle, between the remaining CIA agents, the Mayflowers, and the team of Hudson, Five-Tone, and Baragli, to stop the Mayflowers from successfully operating the machine.
|Bruce Willis||Eddie "Hudson Hawk" Hawkins|
|Danny Aiello||Tommy Five-Tone|
|Andie MacDowell||Anna Baragli|
|Richard E. Grant||Darwin Mayflower|
|Sandra Bernhard||Minerva Mayflower|
|James Coburn||George Kaplan|
|David Caruso||Kit Kat|
|Lorraine Toussaint||Almond Joy|
|Leonardo Cimino||The Cardinal|
|Frank Stallone||Cesar Mario|
|Carmine Zozzora||Antony Mario|
Part of the reason for the box office failure is that the film is clearly intended as an absurd comedy and yet was marketed as an action film one year after the success of Die Hard 2. When the film came to home video the tag line "Catch The Adventure, Catch The Excitement, Catch The Hawk" was changed to "Catch The Adventure, Catch The Laughter, Catch The Hawk". The film has fared much better on home video.