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Anyway, now that I've ranted, I have to admit that I enjoyed it for the most part, with the exception of the initial pacing. It continues to drag in places towards the middle, and takes a little over an hour to set up the crucial players backgrounds. The only real problem is that every time the film stops to focus on DeSilva (Stallone) and Fox (Williams), it spends twice as much time focusing on Wulfgar. Wulfgar is certainly a well crafted maniac, but when the movie is over we know almost nothing about Fox and only a little about Dee DeSilva. Still, the movie does succeed in making you care about our two main characters, by thrusting them into danger and having them do what is morally right (i.e. Towards the beginning of the film the two are in a drug raid, and refuse to take bribes from the perps who had apparently already paid off the cops from the first raid on their operation.
They're good cops, and it's their good guy image that endears them). I guess it would have been nice also to see a little more of Stallones relation to what's her name. (sorry, I haven't seen this in a about a month now.) I was interested in the prospect of a hero who was torn between the relation with his ex (who he was trying to re-ignite the flame with), and his duty. But, alas, she was just a narrative device who the writers have decided is only important in the last 15 minutes or so.
With all these cons, why did I still like it? Sudden scenes of high impact, good cast and acting all around, a villain who wasn't just a cardboard cutout, and Stallone's bitchin' beard, and a wholly convincing scenario.
The bottom line: This film is more akin to The French Connection than it is to Rocky. Methodical and often stylish, NightHawks deserves to at least be rented and watched with an open mind.
8 Stars out of 10
Stallone and partner Billy Dee Williams team up in an attempt to stop a terrifying international terrorist (Rutger Hauer) before he kills more people. All three of those actors are riveting in this rough, gritty film.
I thought so much of this movie that I bought it twice. The first DVD that came out was fullscreen, no stereo and grainy. Later, they issued a better widescreen print and it was worth upgrading. The movie is a top-notch thriller start-to-finish and Hauer makes an outstanding villain.
It might be a cliché but this film always "kept m on the edge of my seat. "
I wish Stallone returned to this kind of role: he's so enamoured with John Rambo, Rocky Balboa, every other action-hero-cardboard role that he lost credibility. Hauer went down a separate but equal path in demonstrating his difficulties with other directors, he's a strait-to-video icon.
To this day, I still remember the lines "...I do not enjoy killing-- but it's my job!" and "...now this is for the press...Now you may drop the child, but don't drop this..."
Why can't people watch this instead of Steven Segal movies? I guess Serpico's out, Marky-Mark's in...
1. As hinted above, in the post-9/11 world, its theme of terrorists plotting an attack in New York City seems eerily prophetic.
2. Sylvester Stallone gives an uncharacteristically muted performance that comes off as extremely effective.
3. That ending? They got me. They totally got me.
Director Bruce Malmuth's work here was competent enough to make one wonder just a little if he didn't deserve better projects than he got after this.
Wulfgar manages to succeed where others have failed His pattern is the instilling of fear He makes female contacts to establish safe housing for his armory He always covers a woman who is clean... He loses one, he finds another... He has a liking for fancy food, expensive clothes and the most varied nightlife
Wulfgar doesn't think like a criminal He wants to be a hero Since the London incidents, he wants to prove himself as invincible as he ever was So he decides to change his look, and strikes without warning... Wulfgar's associate is Shakka Holland (Persis Khambatta), a pretty cool woman, with no maternal instincts, who murders without apparent provocation
DaSilva (Sylvester Stallone) wants to treat Wulfgar like 'some mugger' on the streets He makes a mistake when he finds himself unexpectedly facing the malevolent killer... He refuses to act in the same ruthlessness Wulfgar does, and to use deadly force in defense of the lives of innocent hostages He hesitates to shoot and kill DaSilva rejected to pay attention to the impact of the terrorist's actions on his thinking and beliefs This mistake enables the best policeman to meet the dangerous terrorist on equal terms
'Nighthawks' turns out to be surprisingly interesting Rutger Hauer easily holds our attention throughout the film He is a disciplined terrorist indifferent to his victims, cold and calculating His mission to harm the enemy transcends any concern about his victims For Wulfgar, the end justifies the means...
Stallone and Billy Dee Williams make good partners Stallone doesn't play his usual character, the ruthless policeman who combats violence with greater violence He seems to be more human desperately trying to do the right thing at the right time
Stallone plays Deke DaSilva, New York cop who gets an assignment to be part of special police force whose job is to catch Wulfgar, brutal terrorist played by Hauer.
Wulfgar is in New York where he wants to cause some havoc and impress his old partners and bosses in world of terrorism. DaSilva and his partner must stop him before he does that.
VERY underrated and sadly overlooked at the time of it's release, today Nighthawks is cult movie that has lot of fans.
It's also worth mentioning that this movie was originally lot longer and bloodier, before Universal studios heavily cut the movie and removed great deal of plot and most of the violence, then the MPAA did the rest of the job by demanding even more cuts to be made which made what was at one point very brutal and violent thriller into average movie which thankfully still got recognition over the years and many fans which would definitely love to see special edition of it.
Although it's a fairly decent action/suspense effort, NIGHTHAWKS is difficult to recommend unconditionally. The performances are certainly solid; in fact, it's hard to remember Stallone, here sporting a thin beard, being so effective outside of boxing trunks. The action is crisp and exhilarating, with one pursuit through subterranean New York deserving of a place in the Chase Hall of Fame. The story is original and much of the plot intriguing. And Hauer, in his American film debut, is a suitably hateful villain, with his motives all to familiar to contemporary audiences.
Yet NIGHTHAWKS is not quite as good as the sum of its parts. Even though the film starts out with a bang -- literally -- there's somehow too much build-up and not enough execution. The movie has not aged particularly well, and despite its 1981 release date has the feel of a '70s period piece. And as good as Hauer is, his character is a little too incredible to believe as he pulls off massive acts of terror with little or no sponsorship; what should take a team of experts is accomplished by one man wanted by countless law enforcement agencies.
In the end, NIGHTHAWKS is a movie you're bound to like -- either a little bit or a lot. Considering the high ratio of garbage that has and will continue to spew out of Hollywood, I guess that's not such a bad thing.
The film is combined of unstopped action ,shootouts , violence , fighting , adequate characterization and breathtakingly suspenseful denouement .It's a run-of-the-mill action movie because from start with its explosive first scene to finish the action packed is continued ,in fact ,the final confrontation is impressive and extremely violent , including plot twists . Prior to it's theatrical release, Nighthawks was severely cut for violence by both Universal studio and MPAA. Amongst the scenes that were cut are disco shootout which originally had Wufgar shooting and killing more people, and Wufgar's death scene in the ending which was almost completely cut out . Amongst the scenes which were deleted from original cut of the movie are almost all scenes between Sylvester Stallone and Lindsey Wagner, Rutger Hauer and Persis Khambatta, more scenes explaining the plot better, and many other scenes because Universal wanted fast paced action movie . They also cut most of the graphic and gory scenes due to the concern that movie will get X rating . In preparation for their roles as New York street cops, actors Billy Dee Williams and Sylvester Stallone spent a number of weeks working at night with the New York Street Crime Unit . Nice acting by Sylvester Stallone as conservative street cop DaSilva reluctantly agrees to terminate an international terrorist who has demanded media attention , but is Rutger Hauer who steals the show as a cruel terrorist . The film is from Sylvester's first period after his secondary interpretations in Mandingo , Bananas , Farewell my lovely , Capone, Death race 2000 , and during his successful Rocky I , II , Paradise alley and Fist acting.
This supercharged action motion picture was well directed by Bruce Malmuth , including hair-raising moments along the way . When the original director, Gary Nelson, left the project, Bruce Malmuth took over production. When he couldn't make it on his first day to shoot the train chase, Sylvester Stallone directed the chase himself to not miss a day of shooting. Malmuth made his film directorial debut with Sylvester Stallone in this classic thriller Nighthawks (1981), followed by Mary Higgins Clark's best seller, Where Are the Children? (1986) with Jill Clayburgh, and the popular action film dealing with political corruption, Hard to kill (1990) with Steven Seagal and Pentathlon (1994) with Dolph Lundgren, as well a number of other feature films and documentaries until his early death.
Hauer is also perfect, playing what he does best, an oily villian. He might look very suave at first in this film, but when he shows his true colors, you better watch out. Last but not least is Billy Dee Williams, who does a cool Roger Murtaughesque cop who relies on his partner Sly to do the job.
If you're in the mood for suspense and good chase scenes, "Nighthawks" is your gameplan. Look out for the great conclusion. It might cause you a great deal of shock!
Wulfgar travels to New York City where he plans to carry out a series of attacks,
Stallone' is detective Deke DeSilva and his partner Fox (Billy Dee Williams) are taken off their usual street work and are assigned by their boss Joe Spinell ( Maniac, Paradise Alley) to be indoctrinated in Anti Terrorisim techniques led by the late Nigel Davenport who is on the task force charged with hunting down and 'terminating' Wulfgar.
Nighthawks is a very solid thriller featuring some excellent chases and a tense showdown centred around a cable car at Roosevelt Island( which was famously used in Spider-Man) Lindsay Wagner also starts as Stallones estranged wife.
Nighthawks is criminally short at 99mins, it is alleged that their is a longer cut of the film languishing away in Universal's vault, their is also many scenes edited For Gore Dick Smith was responsible for the effects.
Stallone plays a NY cop who is handed over to Interpol to help track down a freelance terrorist in the Big Apple. At first, his over-cautious "cop-on-the-beat mentality" lands him at odds with the lead investigator who explains that "to combat violence, you need greater violence". This is a nice little clash of ideals that allows for a little more character development that you'd expect.
The said terrorist is very well-played by Rutger Hauer in a breakthrough role that gives both charm and menace. Also, there is a nice chemistry between Stallone and his partner Billy Dee Williams.
The plot development is quite old school in the way there's a very long build up before the action kicks in with a lengthy set-piece that tops the film. But there's plenty of four-letter words, terrorist-talk and machismo flying around to fill that time nicely. The soundtrack may be dated now, but gives the film a unique quality and in fact the music is one of the unforgettable elements of the film - which has led to controversy over the DVD release.
There is clearly a lot of footage that was left on the cutting room floor, particularly a love sub-plot that is abandoned quite early on. And let's not even mention that horribly cut-down ending! All in all however, the film is always interesting and has a great old-style of cop thriller to it, perfect for post-pub Friday night fodder!
Wulfgar as the terrorist is -amazing-. He works with the NYC underworld to learn the liabilities/weaknesses of the ATAC squad out to get him. Combined with plastic surgery and a penchant for picking up girls in nightclubs, using them, and killing them, he is a formidable adversary. If that's not enough, when have you ever got to see Stallone in drag, twice, in a movie! All kidding aside, though, this is a great film to rent, but not good enough to buy.
Give it a try!
The story line is a little "cheesy", but acceptable. Stallone and Williams offer fine performances. Rutger Hauer steals the movie as the chilling and truly scary terrorist. He is GREAT!
One of the best scenes ever in a cops 'n robbers movie is the disco scene in which Stallone and Williams have only a composite drawing of the suspect.
For Wulfgar dissembles his identity with several incognitos, thus making him a tougher target to capture.
NIGHTHAWKS is a well-mounted, well-paced thriller that puts the accent on suspense (with some bloodshed of course). NIGHTHAWKS is a neat powerhouse! The movie contains riveting chases, a spectacle for a final confrontation, and an aggressively structured formula throughout the entire film. There are lots of opportunities for combustible moments in this film as well.
What makes NIGHTHAWKS standout even greater and better than the ordinary action flick is its emphasis on characterization and morals. NIGHTHAWKS does a terrific interpretation of how fascinating and surreptitious the terrorist bad guy is compared to a troublesome criminal. Whereas the latter simply relies on survival and desperation in the derelict streets, the former is a very intelligent person with a respectively high I.Q. and an organized purpose. His mission is clear: to fight the oppressors who have destroyed his native land and people. The terrorist covers his tracks well and moves from location and location, making his presence less conspicuous. As for the heroic cops, Deke DaSilva (Stallone) manages to preserve ethics first when making a judgment before decisive action. He knows when to call out the shot. DaSilva refuses to jeopardize innocent lives just for the sake of shooting down the villain, and in most cases, he has earned a level of propriety. DaSilva's testament to moral values is also well demonstrated in NIGHTHAWKS.
Rutger Hauer gave a genuinely eerie and chilling performance as he portrays a very psychotic but also very convincing villain with a substantially bad attitude. Overall, NIGHTHAWKS is a high caliber action film. This "above and beyond the call of duty" type quality of motion picture is a consistently thorough and memorable film. This ranks among the finest cop dramas ever composed and for over a decade, this film's reputation and aura have managed to stand the test of time. NIGHTHAWKS is a recommended hit.
RATING: *** out of ****.
The action takes most of the film up, although it's not overdone too much, sometimes you do wonder if they could have run around for a bit less time. The script is the only thing that lets this down, with some of the events being a bit dubious. You do get the feeling from time to time that the scriptwriter wasn't quite sure how to chain some events so they seem a bit forced. But other ideas are kind of cute to make up for it.
Although it is full of cliches, this is not really a downside to the film, which seems to be shouting out that cliches aren't that bad. And being from the early eighties you could always argue that it was actually laying the ground for cliches to become such.
Acting is good, even from Sly, this really is the role he was born to play. He is the Rocky of the NY street undercover police. Hauer rocks in no small way, and Nigel Davenport shouts like no one (you'll see what I mean).
Watch and enjoy. That's all folks.
"Nighthawks" has nothing to do with the roles Stallone is famous for: His muscles. We don't even see his muscles in this movie. In stead we get a Stallone with a beard and HUGE glasses and acting relaxed.
A lot of people say Stallone can't act. I disagree, just look at this movie.
Stallone plays a street-cop who has to deal with a terrorist played by our national (Dutch) pride: Rutger Hauer.
This is a great action thriller, with great actors like Rutger Hauer, Billy Dee Williams and Joe Spinell (who also had a big part in "Rocky").
The action is great, just look at the sequence when Stallone and Williams are trying to catch Rutger Hauer in the subway. Great music also. The end is nice too, bit of a surprise there.
At the end (when Stallone shoots Hauer) the scene is cut. We see him shooting only two times, but the original scene is with 6 shots. So 4 shots were removed (for television).
Another fact is that Stallone directed a big part of this movie because the original director quit or was fired.
So if you're looking for a good action-thriller with a nice eighties feel and some good acting, look no further.