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The Hard Way
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Hard Way More at IMDbPro »

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19 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

A Surprisingly Good Comedy...

10/10
Author: MovieAddict2014 from UK
6 December 2002

"The Hard Way" stars Michael J. Fox as Nick Lang/Ray Casanov -- a big-time film star who is good-natured and eager to follow around real-life Detective Lt. John Moss, NYPD, played by James Woods.

When I first saw previews for this film, I thought I knew what it would be: another clichéd film, involving a snobby film star getting teamed with a cop who hates him. I was wrong.

This film, in a way, blew me out of the water, because when I viewed the film I realized that Michael J. Fox's character was not snobby, nor ignorant. He was more-or-less run by Hollywood, instead of vice versa. He is what you would call, simply put, innocent. Not in a holy context like we are used to when we hear that word in films these days, but almost like an innocent child. He really can't wait to watch, hear and learn from John Moss. Granted, he does usually mess up Moss' assignments, but not from ignorance or not caring. He messes up the assignments trying to help Woods and learn…

Woods, on the other hand, is partly what I expected, yet better. He fits into his character perfectly and plays it with such sickness towards Fox's character, that you sometimes feel like yelling at the guy for being such a jerk. I have always liked James Woods' performances in films. He just fits into his certain 'trademark' characters.

Unfortunately, the end of the film seems to stain the rest of the film's surprises, and slip into our average cop-buddy comedy, with a ridiculous climax. Luckily the very, very end of the film is slightly predictable, but Woods' outlook on Fox, while he respects him more, still hasn't changed a whole lot. He still doesn't really like the guy as a friend, but almost puts up with him because of what he did for Woods. It's a bit hard to explain, especially without throwing away the ending, but when you see it, you'll understand.

So, with that in mind, the very end of the film redeems the short five minutes or so of Hollywood cop-buddy film clichés.

'The Hard Way' was a major surprise for me, and turned out to be a very enjoyable comedy. I wouldn't really classify it in the 'cop-buddy' genre. It's too unpredictable (to a certain degree) and enjoyable.

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14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Woods and Fox make it worthwhile

7/10
Author: foley1-1
10 January 2002

Truth be known this would be a fairly average action comedy if it wasn't for the performances of James Woods and Micheal J.Fox, both of whom are perfectly cast here. Woods plays detective John Moss, a hard boiled cop who's trying to catch a killer known as the party crasher. Fox plays film star Nick Lang, who wants to play the part of a police officer in an upcoming film. After seeing Moss being interviewed on the news, Lang feels that if he were to hang around with him and get to known what motivates him, what makes him tick etc then he would be well prepared to audition for the part. So Lang arranges to be Moss's partner. However, Moss isn't so keen on the idea as he still has his sights set on catching the party crasher(cue a series of highly amusing interactions between Woods and Fox).So with Lang as his new partner, Moss continues his investigation on the party crasher. Out of the two, Woods takes the acting honours, as his John Moss character is by far the more entertaining. I read somewhere that this film didn't do so well at the box office, which is a real shame given the performances of it's leading stars.

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

It's "The Odd Couple" meets "Dirty Harry" head-on.

8/10
Author: mhasheider from Sauk City, Wisconsin
25 April 2001

Wildly violent, but hilarious comedy about a showboat-like Hollywood action star (Michael J. Fox) who in order to prepare for his next film, comes to the Big Apple and tags along with a hard-boiled police detective (James Woods) who is desperately determined to nab a notorious killer dubbed "The Party Crasher" (Stephen Lang) despite nearly getting himself killed in the process. Fox and Woods certainly make an interesting comedy team. There's no way that this movie could without the presence of a seriously funny actor like Woods to be included in the film. The film has a few great moments including one where the Woods character impolitely asks the captain (Delroy Lindo) to get the Fox character off his back and the film's climax is exciting and makes a great reference to "North by Northwest". It's the "The Odd Couple" meets "Dirty Harry" head-on.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Funny action flick

Author: Petri Pelkonen (petri_pelkonen@hotmail.com) from Finland
13 September 1999

The Hard Way is a great action comedy, but totally underrated. In this film Michael J. Fox plays an action actor Nick Lang, who wants in his next film play the New York cop John Moss, played by James Woods.So Nick spends some time with Moss, like lives in the same apartment with him.Moss doesn't like this at all, he's not such a big fan of Lang.And then there is also a bad guy, played by Stephen Lang.So there are two problems that Moss has to get rid of.And John has a girlfriend Susan, who is played by Annabella Sciorra.And John's having some problems with her too.But everything turns out fine with Moss, Lang and Susan, but not so fine with the crook. This was a great film with great actors.Michael J. Fox was great as usual and it was nice to see James Woods in a comedy.It would be nice to see a sequel for this, but the movie wasn't so successful as it should have been, so maybe not then.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

"Do you notice anything different about our car?"

7/10
Author: gridoon
15 May 2002

Entertaining mix of action and comedy, at least for the first two-thirds of its length. Then there are some rather overextended action sequences and the film loses some of its comic edge. Still, the acting is first-rate all around, with Fox and Woods offering many laughs when the script gives them the chance, and Stephen Lang a highly enjoyable, totally loony villain. (**1/2)

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Wham! Pow! Bam!

7/10
Author: George Parker from Orange County, CA USA
5 January 2002

"The Hard Way" is a good old fashioned popcorn flick which gets off to a fast start and keeps moving until the credits roll. Fox plays an Indiana Jones type adventure movie star who goes to NYC to hang with a badass cop (Woods) to learn what being a cop is like and becomes embroiled in a serial killer caper. The well crafted, unpredictable screenplay is chock full of action, comedy, stunts, suspense, light drama, etc. with nary a dull moment to be found. Good not-to-be-taken-seriously Hollywood fun stuff worth a second look for those who saw it a decade ago.

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Lightweight But Entertaining

6/10
Author: Theo Robertson from Isle Of Bute, Scotland
18 July 2004

THE HARD WAY was made at the tail end of the buddy flick phenomena . It uses the formula fairly well of having a street smart hardened cop who has seen everything and pairs him up with a partner who is the complete opposite . These type of movies aren`t so hit and miss but you do get the feeling that when you`ve seen one you`ve seen them all .

This movie is actually better than most down to the fact the two stars James Wood and Michael J Fox are two entirely different type of actors who suit there roles perfectly . It`s also a movie that doesn`t take itself or Hollywood seriously , check out the line about that little Scottish fella Henry the Fifth . Unfortunately the dialogue isn`t the greatest that`s ever been written for the screen with Woods tough cop spouting " Dammit " and " F**k " in equal measure . Take it from me that if someone curses with the F word they never EVER say " Dammit " and vice versa . Some people may also complain that THE HARD WAY is somewhat lightweight when compared to something like 48 HOURS and I suppose it is but there`s no real jarring in serious scenes and the more humourous ones unlike some buddy movies

THE HARD WAY isn`t a movie that`s going to change your life but it is entertaining , especially if you like James Woods or Michael J Fox

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Hard Way

7/10
Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
7 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Michael J Fox. What a star. I think you look back to The Hard Way and it makes you really hate the disease that takes away not just from him but us as comedy fans. So full of energy and vitality, a very physical actor, a gifted comedian; Michael J Fox made even the more routine of comedies (this one a take on the street police buddy action comedy so popular in the 80s) palatable. James Woods has always been a star. A "powerhouse" as Leonard Maltin likes to refer to Woods, he commands and impresses with that intensity and charisma at all times. Here, it was his chance to play a cop—a good one who is after an unstable, blond-haired, wicked-grinned Stephen Lang (he carved himself a niche for villainy of all sorts; the moment he shows up in Seagal's Fire Down Below you know he's no good, or his military hard-ass in Avatar) picking off "street criminals" (pimp, drug dealer, underground gun-maker)—tasked with the burden of shouldering a prima-donna diva action star, played by Fox. Fox is about to star in a film about a cop, and it is part of Fox's "method" to follow Woods, so he can get down the mannerisms, speech, and personality of the real deal. Woods, of course, would rather focus on catching a killer on the street, not carrying around a egotistical actor (obviously, Fox is too likable and endearing to be as annoying and grating as real ego-rich Hollywood stars) hoping to hone his craft by following close to the hip of an authentic streetwise detective. So that's the film in a nutshell. Toss in a hot Annabella Sciorra as Woods' romantic interest (she was in EVERYTHING at this time in the early 90s), Delroy Lindo as Woods' boss (and Fox supporter), and plenty of shootouts, explosions, and car destruction (Guess what? Yep, you, got it; a fruit stand is barreled through and a cop car takes a couple flips!), The Hard Way has plenty to offer those with an affinity for action buddy comedies that involve two totally different guys, such polar opposites, eventually coming together to stop a killer.

Memorable moments include Fox awakening to find himself handcuffed to a bed (with Woods leaving behind a sign to mock him), Woods staging a faux "accidental murder" to frighten Fox away (going so far as to use a cop portraying an innocent bystander shot by Fox in a staged "collateral damage" ruse!), Fox exchanging gunfire with a hood (running with two other punks) in a subway station (with Woods coming to the rescue), and the climactic billboard sign overlooking the city scene where Lang is responsible for Sciorra hanging for dear life from a giant cigarette, Woods having to grab hold to the bill of a hat (granted it's a HUGE hat), and Fox grabbing hold to his own eye (granted this eye is slightly larger) with a rope he swings across his face (granted…okay, you get the picture) to rescue Sciorra before her cigarette snaps into. Fox gives us the expected laughs, but Woods isn't too shabby as the straight part of the act, his frustrations and aggravation at enduring such a tag-along leading to some fun moments, too. Woods has always been a phenomenal heavy, but this proves he can take on the part of one of the good guys...I really liked this one scene where Woods calls out Sciorra for the old argument of "I don't want to attach myself to the man who may never come home" by retorting, "We are always the one, though, depended upon with the bad goes down." Fox and Woods have some solid chemistry, which certainly doesn't hurt. Lang plays the part of the colorful lunatic (the one you would see mocked in "Last Action Hero"), with no restraint.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A damn entertaining action-comedy.

8/10
Author: Scott LeBrun (Hey_Sweden) from Canada
5 August 2013

The buddy-cop action movie certainly has been a staple in cinema for a while now. And the makers of this film know that the success lies in a successful clash of well-defined personalities. That's the appeal of this long, loud, silly, over the top, but very fun slick picture from mainstream action specialist John Badham ("Stakeout", etc.). It's got some hilarious lines (the script is by Daniel Pyne and Lem Dobbs, based on a story by Dobbs and Michael Kozoll) perfectly delivered by its well cast stars.

James Woods is John Moss, a hard charging, volatile NYC detective hot on the trail of utterly deranged serial killer The Party Crasher (Stephen Lang), who kills innocent children and lowlife criminals with equal fervor. The already ill-tempered Moss has his patience tested even further when he's ordered to chaperone a spoiled-brat Hollywood star, Nick Lang (Michael J. Fox), who wants to do research for a role he covets and has decided that Moss will provide the perfect inspiration.

The high strung Woods and the endearingly annoying Fox are an ideal pairing; they're both perfectly cast. They're supported by a rich lineup of top character players. Annabella Sciorra is absolutely lovely as Moss' frustrated potential girlfriend. Lang is a riot as the unhinged villain; wait until you get a load of the kinds of things he does. Delroy Lindo is Moss' starstruck boss, and Luis Guzman, LL Cool J, Mary Mara and John Capodice play his colleagues. A young Christina Ricci is amusing as Sciorra's daughter. Penny Marshall has a fun cameo as Langs' agent.

As Nick notices, Moss is a very quotable guy, such as when he's lecturing the naive Nick on what being a *real* cop is like. "We don't get 17 takes to get it right!" But it's also a hoot to see a pampered, naive person like Nick get plunged into the realities of life on the streets of NYC. Another of the highlights is when Nick insists on playing the part of Susan as he attempts to tell Moss what he's doing wrong with his lady.

It all culminates in one of those great movie moments where our heroes are doing battle with the psycho on an enormous replication of Nick's head and hand, created to advertise his latest film vehicle.

Highly recommended to action-comedy fans.

Eight out of 10.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Works!

Author: SPaS from Finland
8 June 2003

When I saw this, I didn't expect much from it. However, it turned out to be just great - it just happened so to press all the right buttons!

Michael J. Fox plays a PG-movie star (think Brendan Fraser) who wants to star in a serious cop flick. For this, he tags along with a real cop for a few days. But the real cop assigned to baby-sit him isn't exactly a fan of his, instead, he sees the wimsy character of Fox as a leech in his balls. This may sound like just any other buddy-movie "yea, they don't match from the starters but in the end, learn to get along", but give this little movie a chance, because: As bold as the casting, at least for what it comes to Fox, may sound, the chemistry really works here- you can almost see the sparks flying between the stars! Woods gives a powerhouse performance as a very "Dirty Harry" - like cop almost on the verge of a nervous breakdown because of his BS assignment. Fox is surprisingly good as his counter-part. And the directing is the usual good Badham- stuff, where a good action -comedy is spiced up with a little bad language and violent themes. I just don't understand how come he nowadays seems to have lost his touch? The man who did this and "Stakeout"? Even "Another stakeout" had it's moments...

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