Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nighthawks (1981)

One year before he had the double knockout of First Blood and Rocky III, Sylvester Stallone starred in this gritty action thriller about international terrorism.  Nighthawks stars Sly as NYPD plainclothes undercover detective Deke DaSilva who we first meet posing as a woman (in full drag no less) in order to bust a purse snatcher.  He is recruited, along with his partner Matthew Fox and some other cops to help track down international terrorist Wulfgar (Rutger Hauer) and his accomplice Shakka (Persis Khambatta.

Tension flares up between Deke and the British agent in charge of the operation (Nigel Davenport) as Deke doesn't feel comfortable being told to "shoot to kill" when he finds Wulfgar.  A cat and mouse game between cop and terrorist ensues and it all ends with a nicely bloody ambush by Deke which ends the movie with a bang.

I really, like this one as it shows a slightly different side of Stallone's standard hard-ass character than we usually get.  Instead of a muscle-bound superhero, we get a reasonably down to earth man who has doubts about his job as well as his ability to carry it out.  This leads to a little bad blood between him and Williams but that isn't really focused on too much.

Overall, the film is about ratcheting up the suspense, which it does very well with a great hostage situation on a cable car and a nice foot pursuit.  Performances are quite good with Stallone and Hauer coming out the best.  Stallone is shockingly good in his role and Hauer, as usual, brings a sense of cool menace to his part.

The other actors are fine as well though Persis Khambatta, while very beautiful was never the best actress.  I also enjoy the look of the movie as you can tell they shot on location in New York.  In the early 80's, the place was a bit of a hellhole and it is shown pretty nicely here.

Action is pretty good, though to be frank the film seems a bit rushed in parts, especially towards the end.  The running time clocks in at a lean 99 minutes but I think it could have done with another five or six and not been the worse for it.  The ending is also rather awkward as Hauer is shot multiple times in a very bloody death scene, though in the cut I have Deke only fires twice which makes it look like Deke's gun has magic bullets.  I think there was some cutting in post which makes for a rather odd end to an underrated movie that is, for the most part quite good.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.