Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Good Action: Nighthawks

Well hello there! I bet you were expecting some Obscure Italian Horror movie. Nah, I think I got my point across but dammit I do need input on the flow of reviews, what you think I should be tackling and what really makes for good TV, Movie and Video Games. That being said, the story we are about to take on what intended to be the third in the French Connection that would have teamed up Gene Hackman's Popeye Doyle with a wisecracking smart ass cop probably played by Richard Pryor. Hackman showed next to no interest in doing a third movie so writer David Shaber (Such Good Friends, The Warriors, Last Embrace, Rollover and Flight of the Intruder) bought the rights to it, tinkered with it and released it under the title it is better known for. This is Nighthawks.

We in the club!..  I'll slap myself for that one.

There are approximately 2 major stories as well as 3 sub-stories in our films so if you get lost, I will toss you a Marty McFly life jacket. Our main story revolves around the ruthless terrorist Wulfgar (Rutger Hauer of LadyHawke, Bladerunner, The Hitcher, Blind Fury, Split Second, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Batman Begins) a marksman and demolition expert whose only cause is himself and striking fear into those that wronged him. After a department store bombing in London goes awry, Wulfgar needs a new identity, papers and even a new face to stay off the grid.

In the streets of New York, two street crime cops pull stings to rid of muggers, rapists and gangers as Detective Sergeants DaSilva (Slyvester Stallone of Rocky, First Blood, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Cliffhanger, Daylight, Copland and The Expendables) and Fox (Billy Dee Williams of Carter's Army, Hit!, The Take, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Fear City, Batman, Mask of Death and Steel Sharks) pull up the scum off the ground like so much chewing gum and toss it in the trash...or jail if you prefer. No sooner are they serving a high-risk warrant, our boys discover there are corrupt cops in with the dealers and all Hell breaks loose. 

Why yes, I was in The Hitcher.

Wulfgar meets with his contacts for papers and cash when the delivery man takes too long and sweats. Wulfgar senses a trap and smokes him along with three constables from London Metro. Chief Inspector Hartman (Nigel Davenport of Play Dirty, A Man for All Seasons, Phase IV, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Chariots of Fire and Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes) knows Wulfgar in and out and finds from his documents he is making his way to New York.

With the brewing storm of NYPD corruption going to be proved in what the fellas saw, their lieutenant sends them to Hartman as a division of an counter-terrorist task force given their experience in Vietnam. What you call Hell, Rambo calls New York. With their street savvy, knowledge of the fences, middlemen and weapons dealers, they hope to capture Wulfgar once and for all.

But hey we haven't had any ladies in this thus far. Enter DaSilva's estranged ex-wife Irene (Lindsay Wagner of The Paper Chase, The Bionic Woman, Ricochet, Thicker Than Water and Warehouse 13) attempts to deal with her ex-hubby's high-risk work and the fear of him dying on the streets broke them up in the first place but they both want to try to put things back together.

Meanwhile, Wulfgar's partner, in every sense of the word, Shakka (Persis Khambatta of Conduct Unbecoming, The Man with the Power, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Megaforce and Warrior of the Lost World) tells Wulfgar his methods that slaughtered children were just too risque for his fellow terrorists so they wash their hands of him. In case that did read a bit wacky, HIS METHODS DID NOT WORK WELL WITH TERRORISTS.

Hartman and DaSilva seem to be on the same page with Wulfgar and they want him dead or alive at this point. Will they succeed? Will Wulfgar escape and get to plow Shakka?

The film had a "Rocky" start to begin with when director Gary Nelson (Get Smart, Freaky Friday, The Black Hole, Allan Quartermain and the Lost City of Gold and Early Edition) was let go from the project after a week's production to be replaced by Bruce Malmuth, who at the time only been a second unit director for a couple of scenes of Foreplay, was unable to shoot the first day after Nelson was canned, so Stallone stepped up to shoot a scene for the day, being the chase in the subway. Yes they got fined for it by the Directors Guild of America due to "burning daylight" is not considered an emergency.

Rutger Hauer was injured on the set thanks to a malfunctioning squib (bullet wound triggered by remote control with a blood pack) burned him and getting yanked on a harness line through a window (with spun sugar glass) that jacked his back. Hauer and Stallone apparently had shouting matches that would have made Christian Bale blush at the choice metaphors.

Nothing more vicious in this flick than the damn MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) that gave the original cut of the movie an X rating due to its gore and graphic content that is actually nowhere near as bloody as say Dirty Harry, The Mechanic or even The French Connection. Re-editing and new submission was still deemed too violent for even an R rating.