Three Italian-American brothers, living in the slums of 1940's New York City, try to help each other with one's wrestling career using one brother's promotional skills and another brother's con-artist tactics to thwart a sleazy manager.
Deke DaSilva (Sylvester Stallone) and Matthew Fox (Billy Dee Williams) are two New York City cops who get transferred to an elite anti-terrorism squad. About this same time, an infamous international terrorist shows up in New York City looking to cause some chaos. It's up to DaSilva and Fox to stop him, but will they be in time?Written by
Rutger Hauer also always thought that this movie missed a good opportunity. According to him, the issue of international terrorism could have been handled more accurately. Instead, "We had only to play tags - the written story was much more dangerous." See more »
DaSilva chases the thief to the 174th Street station in the Bronx, a Queens street sign is visible in the background. See more »
Long before terrorism was on the minds of most Americans, NIGHTHAWKS tackled the thorny topic. Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams are decoy cops -- that is, they venture into rough neighborhoods to bait muggers and other forms of scum -- assigned to track down the cold and calculating Rutger Hauer. It seems the devious mastermind has landed in the media capital of the world, New York City, to try and regain his place among the terrorist elite.
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.
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