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Robert Allen Schnitzer
Deke DaSilva and Matthew Fox are two New York cops who get transferred to an elite anti-terrorism squad. About this same time, an infamous international terrorist shows up in New York looking to cause some chaos. It's up to DaSilva and Fox to stop him, but will they be in time...? Written by
The meaning and relevance of this movie's Nighthawks (1981) title is that 'Nighthawks' refer to the men and women street cops of the New York City Crime Unit who patrol the city at night-time. See more »
During the subway sequence, the storm door on the last car of the train has a large single pane of glass in some scenes and two smaller panes in other scenes. See more »
Remember a day when Rutger Hauer starred in good movies that actually saw wide theatrical release? No. Hmmmm. Hauer is one of my favorite actors and stars in two of my top ten favorite movies (Blade Runner and The Osterman Weekend), so it's hard not to already be slightly biased about the movie. I remember first hearing about Nighthawks on the Headliners and Legends biography of Stallone and how it was not as well received as his Rocky and First Blood movies. For shame, because Nighthawks does manage to be a top notch thriller most of the time. I could go into the plot, but I believe in telling people what I liked and disliked instead of parroting the plot details like almost every other review. (See, a movie to me is more fun when I only know a little about the story, instead of the first hour or so, because someone felt that they had to readers digest the entire film.)
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
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