Film / Hudson Hawk

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mp_hudsonhawk_1036.jpg

"Hi! I'm being blackmailed into robbing the Vatican by a psychotic American corporation and the CIA!"
Hudson Hawk

Hudson Hawk is a 1991 film starring Bruce Willis while he was still making the transition from comedy roles like Moonlighting to his Action Hero typecasting. Older tropers experienced with the actor's pre-Die Hard career will know this means he mugs a lot and does just about anything for a laugh. And he still has hair (well, mostly... reportedly, a significant part of why the film went over budget was that Willis inisted on CGI to hide his thinning hairline).

Gentleman Thief extraordinaire Eddie "Hudson Hawk" Hawkins has just gotten out of prison, and all he really wants is a cappuccino and an honest job. However, his parole officer has teamed up with two Italian brothers with the surname "Mario" to force him to do one last job that leads to a madcap series of capers that do all they can to defy summation.

Before it's over, Eddie will hurtle down a freeway on a gurney, unknowingly flirt with a nun, burgle the Vatican with fifty bucks worth of seemingly random items, discover Leonardo da Vinci's secret formula for turning lead into gold, battle candy-bar codenamed CIA agents (and one damned annoying crotch-biting dog), and if he survives all of this, then he can have his coffee.


This film provides examples of:

  • The '80s: Bookended by the fact that at the start and end of the film, after being released from prison after several years, Eddie has no idea what "playing Nintendo" is.
  • Affably Evil: George Kaplan; picture an evil version of Derek Flint.
    Kaplan: The last time you saw me, I was bald, with a beard and no mustache, and I had a different nose. So if you don't recognize me, I won't be offended.
  • Afraid of Needles: Cesar Mario's reaction to his brother's face in the ambulance.
  • Alliterative Name: Eddie's nickname: Hudson Hawk.
  • Almost Kiss: After their date, Eddie and Anna go back to her apartment, where she gives him a backrub. He says he needs to whisper something to her, their faces come together and Eddie tries to kiss her. She pulls away, breaking the moment.
  • Artistic License – Economics: The Mayflowers.
    • They want to make the world currency market collapse by making so much gold that it turns all of the stuff into Worthless Yellow Rocks. That might have worked in, say, 1965. However, ever since Richard Nixon took the US off the gold standard in 1971, no currency has any significant links whatsoever to gold, and making lots and lots of gold would only collapse the gold market - though the shockwaves from that will do a lot of damage.
    • The idea that their own fortune would be unaffected also falls short especially in that light; they're basically planning on causing an economic apocalypse, and they're investing in non-gold stocks instead of canned food and shotguns. They aren't even doing the "smart" financial move if you know that the price of a commodity is about to drop sharply, i.e. trying to short that commodity (in this case, gold).
    • There's some implications that "most of" their fortune is in physical commodities and properties whose relative value would be unchanged... Which doesn't explain how they can throw around money like it's already worthless pieces of paper.
  • Artistic License – Geology: Hudson Hawk is given a brick of gold and a brick of lead while blindfolded, to demonstrate that they are indistinguishable. Gold is 70% denser than lead, and the weight difference would be easily noticed. The gold brick would weigh about 30 pounds, but they handle it as if it weighs a couple of pounds. They also mention that gold and lead differ by one proton on the periodic table of elements. The difference is actually 3 protons and 7 neutrons. Perhaps most blatantly, gold is a far better heat sink than lead; Hawk should have noticed the lead brick warming in his hand almost instantly while the gold one stayed cold.
  • Auction: While Eddie and Anna Baragli are at an auction for the statue of a horse, the Mayflowers kill the auctioneer with an bomb placed in his gavel to disrupt the auction.
  • Badass Boast: "We blow up space shuttles for breakfast. You and your friend Tommy are nothing more than a mid-afternoon Triscuit."
  • Badass Longcoat: Eddie wears it at the end.
  • Ball Cannon: During the movie, the Mayflowers' evil dog Bunny performs a Groin Attack on Hudson Hawk and bites the neck of Hawk's girlfriend Anna Baragli. Eddie eventually gets his revenge, using a tennis ball launching machine to fire a ball at Bunny and knock her out a window and over a cliff to a Disney Villain Death.
  • Berserk Button: Caution: Do not insult God in front of a nun. One-Hit Kills can occur.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Darwin and Minerva Mayflower are the main antagonists of the film. They plot to use Da Vinci's secret machine for world domination.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The prologue sequence with Da Vinci is in Italian.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Kit Kat's mouth drips with blood when Minerva shoots him down with arrows.
  • Blow Gun: Used by CIA agents, who should logically have something better, with explicit mention of curare, which is treated as a temporary paralyser. Because it was improperly prepared, the victims recover sooner than anticipated.
  • Bond One-Liner
    • "So much for his cut."
    • Also, after Eddie decapitates Alfred: "You won't be attending that hat convention in July!
  • Brake Angrily: While Eddie is being driven to the bar after being let out of prison, he tells Tommy Five-Tone about Gates' attempt to blackmail him into doing a job. Tommy angrily slams on the brakes, spilling Eddie's cappuccino.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the final shot, Eddie smiles in triumph at the camera after finally getting to drink a cappuccino.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Leonardo da Vinci's 500 year old flying machine, which Eddie and Anna use to escape from the castle.
  • Brick Joke:
    • The duo sings songs to time (and synchronise) their capers. Each time, the song ends before the caper is over. At that very moment, they invariably get caught.
    • "Will you play Nintendo with me?"
  • The Butler Did It: Quoted by Eddie when telling Tommy about Gates' death at the hands of Alfred, who is a butler.
  • Camp: It's basically a live-action cartoon.
  • Captain Obvious:
    • Butterfinger: "Hey coach, it looks bad. I think those Mayflowers set us up..."
    • The Playmate of the Year riding the car next to Hudson as he's rolling on a stretcher: "Hey mister! You gonna die?"
  • Check, Please!: While Eddie and Anna are in a cafe, Anna says that knowing he was in prison excites her. Eddie: "Check please!"
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Anna veers close to being a Naughty Nun, so much that her boss complains. But in reality she is a Good Catholic.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Leonardo da Vinci's castle is a Chekhov's Armory. The opening with Leonardo's lab would make Tom Servo declare "Foreshadowing!"
    • Tommy and Hawk's game of rattling off a song's playing time takes on a whole new meaning during the first robbery.
    • There's a reason why we need to see the otherwise forgettable security guards taunting "Big Stan."
    • "Bunny, ball ball!"
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: FBI isn't featured, but ex-CIA Kaplan is definitely evil.
  • Code Name: The Candy Bars, as their name indicates, are codenamed after famous candy bars: Snickers. Butterfinger. Kit Kat. Almond Joy.
    Almond Joy: Candy bars. Well, it's better than when we first started out. Our code names were diseases. You know what it's like being called Chlamydia for a year?!?
  • Co-Dragons: George Kaplan and Alfred both serve as the Mayflowers' principal henchmen.
  • Concealing Canvas: The auction house Eddie and Tommy break into hides its safe behind a large painting. The safe holds the "Sforza", the horse statuette that they're there to steal.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hudson Hawk's even better at this than cat-burglary.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Kit Kat, after being betrayed and pumped full of arrows, uses his last breath to loosen the ropes on Anna, allowing her to escape.
  • Delayed Explosion: After Snickers' time bomb on his head counts down to zero and is delayed for a few seconds, Eddie and Tommy escape as the bomb then explodes.
  • Disney Villain Death:
    • Kaplan falls to his death along with the exploding limousine.
    • The evil dog Bunny performed a Groin Attack on Eddie and went for Anna Baragli's throat. Eddie uses a tennis-ball-firing device to knock her out a window and she falls to her death.
  • Diving Save: During the auction, the auctioneer' gavel explodes, causing a giant sculpture to swing down toward Anna Baragli. Seeing her in danger, Hudson dives toward her and pulls her out of the way just in time.
  • Dragon His Feet: Hawk kills the Mayflowers by sabotaging the Gold Machine, but their Battle Butler Alfred was far enough away from it that Hawk has to beat him in a hand-to-hand fight before he goes down.
  • Driving into a Truck: The ambulance carrying Eddie and Tommy Five-Tone away from the Mayflowers drives up a ramp into a truck.
  • Dumb Muscle: Butterfinger is not a very bright henchman.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: The safety features on ambulances are apparently disabled by the presence of stupid mobsters. In the chase scene, an ambulance driven by the bad guys hits a mound of dirt, drives off a ramp, flips over and explodes in mid-air for no reason whatsoever.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: When they're introduced, all Candy Bars are eating or displaying a candy bar of their Code Name's sort.
  • Famous Last Words:
    • Before his time bomb explodes, Snickers takes the time to voice his opinion on it: "Maybe it was a dud."
    • Kaplan yells "MY PENSION!!!" before he and Darwin's limousine are sent over the cliff and the resulting explosion from the limo kills him.
  • Fantastic Catholicism:
  • Fast-Roping: This is how Kit Kat makes his first appearance.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Darwin and Minerva Mayflower.
    What can I say? I'm the villain.
  • Groin Attack
    • While Eddie is secured to a chair, an aggressive dog bites his crotch.
    • After Eddie is knocked down by Butterfingers inside a phone booth, he kicks him in the groin. Butterfingers is fine a minute later.
    • Alfred the Butler presses his blade against Eddie's's genitals as a threat.
      Alfred: Come to think of it, there is one part of your anatomy you won't be needing...
    • And towards the end, Eddie kicks Alfred in the groin just before he decapitates the latter.
  • Hammerspace: One of the villains cuts open the cover of Da Vinci's codex to reveal that the book cover, which was approximately a quarter inch thick, contains a piece of the gold machine reflector which is about the size of a billiard ball.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Eddie and Tommy seem to be a May-December version of this.
  • High Voltage Death: Darwin gets electrocuted when Hawk short-circuits the machine's control panel.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Snickers's second time bomb gets stuck on his head and soon explodes. "He's about to have a bad migrane," indeed.
    • Eddie blows Almond Joy's paralyzing dart into her throat.
    • Alfred gets decapitated by his own knives.
  • Hollywood Glass Cutter: While breaking into the auction house, Eddie uses a suction cup device to cut out a hole in a glass door. It's large enough that he and Tommy Five-Tone can slip inside.
  • Hollywood Nuns: Inverted, as we only see Anna in a habit once. Because she's undercover as... a chaste Catholic girl who works at the Vatican.
  • Human Mail
    • Eddie wakes up in a packing material shipping crate in another country after being rendered unconscious.
    • Hawk later uses this to sneak into the Vatican Museum for the second robbery.
  • Improvised Zipline: While robbing the Vatican, Eddie throws a rope (with a grappling hook on the end) from the top of a building across a street. He then slides down the rope to escape.
  • Instant Sedation
    • Eddie drops like a sack of potatoes just seconds after drinking a cappuccino that tastes a bit too much like ethyl chloride.
    • Anna, Eddie and Tommy are paralyzed instantly by Almond Joy's curare-tipped blowgun darts. Subverted by Eddie and Tommy, who somehow recover within minutes and paralyze Almond Joy.
  • Intimidation Demonstration: Just before Eddie's final battle against Alfred the butler, Alfred snaps out his blades and swings them around in a threatening manner to let Eddie know just what he's up against.
  • Kick the Dog: Darwin leaves Tommy to die towards the end of the film and taunts Eddie over it.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Darwin translates "Macchine d'Oro" into English, he adds a sarcastic "for those at home."
  • Look Behind You: Averted: "Now, George, you don't expect me to fall for that old gag, do you?"
  • Master of Disguise: Kit Kat is known to use disguises to impersonate other citizens.
  • Naughty Nuns: Not that naughty, but Anna, a nun, certainly thinks flirting with Eddie is a guilty pleasure.
  • Neutral Female: Subverted. Anna does free herself. And, during the fight with Alfred at the end, she does try to help Eddie. Unfortunately, her aim sucks, but, to be fair, she is a nun, and therefore probably not particularly experienced in the operation of firearms.
  • Nice Hat: To Eddie at least, as realizing that it has fallen off his head is what allows him to break free from the involuntary movements that Kaplan had him locked in.
  • No-Sell:
    • Almond Joy is not afraid of Anna with a gun.
    • Hudson is almost unfazeable.
      Darwin: I'll kill your friends, your family, and that bitch you took to the prom!
      Hudson: Betty Jo Biarsky? I can get you an address on that one.
  • Novelization: By Geoffrey Marsh. Shockingly, for a novelization of a film that was being rewritten as it was made, the book is incredibly faithful to the final product, aside from including the deleted subplot about Kaplan killing Hawk's pet monkey Little Eddie.
  • Offstage Villainy: The third robbery takes place offscreen by the main villians after Hawk is arrested when Tommy fakes his death as part of their plan to escape the Mayflowers.
  • Off with His Head!: Alfred gets sliced by his own knives after Hudson outsmarts him.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Eddie and Tommy when Almond Joy and Snickers inform them that they have 5 seconds to defuse the time bombs after their paralysis wears off and later when they realize that the time bomb on Snickers's forehead is about to explode.
    • Kit Kat when he gets shot by the Mayflowers.
    • Kaplan and Tommy have a collective moment of horror when they are about to be sent over the cliff along with the exploding limousine. Tommy makes it alive, while Kaplan doesn't.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • Eddie Hawkins, who's called "Hudson Hawk" by everyone except Tommy Five-Tone.
    • We never learn the real names of the Candy Bars.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Almond Joy's curare-tipped blowgun darts, which she uses to knock Anna, Hudson and Tommy.
  • Pokémon Speak: The only sounds that Igg and Ook make in the film is when they die, when they groan "Igg!" and "Ook!", respectively.
  • Put Their Heads Together: During the auction house robbery, Eddie and Tommy Five-Tone are surprised by two guards. After Tommy uses a rope to trip them, Eddie knocks their heads together to render them unconscious so he can handcuff them.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Candy Bars, the Mayflowers' mooks who have candy bar-themed codenames.
  • Raised Catholic:
    • Anna states her Catholicism as the reason she won't shoot Almond Joy. And why Hudson is not allowed in her bed. And why she loves Butterfinger, in a weird Catholic way.
    • Hudson went to Catholic school, so he is conveniently also Raised Catholic. Which might have been a problem for him and Anna's future. That, and her vows of chastity...
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Of the overlapping kind: Tommy and Anna talk over each other after the Tommy-Hudson fight scene.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles
    • While Hudson is making a phone call in Italy, the operator speaks to him in Italian several times before turning him over to the AT&T overseas operator. None of her statements are translated.
    • While Hudson is ordering food at a restaurant he speaks in Italian. At the end of the order he asks for some ketchup and the waiter walks away complaining about the uncultured American. None of their Italian dialogue is subtitled.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The "Da Vinci Codex" is a misnomer, as there are at least 5 codices of Da Vinci's. The one in the film is neither; it is a composite of two recognizable Da Vinci works: the Vitruvian Man on one side, which was never in a codex, and the Study on Muscles on the other, which are among the Windsor Folios. No such codex exists. Nor is there a Da Vinci codex in the Vatican Museum.
  • Religion Is Magic: Spoofed.
    Hawk: The Vatican! I'm robbing the freaking Vatican! The Sisters at St. Agnes' predicted this.
  • Rogue Agent: Kaplan and his minions are ex-CIA agents who went rogue.
  • Rule of Cool: When Eddie and his partner have to synchronize their actions to pull off a heist, do they use their wristwatches? No ... they sing show tunes. While sneaking around inside an occupied building.
  • Rule of Funny: This movie runs with it and the tank is filled baby!
  • Running Gag
    • Eddie can't get an unadulterated cappuccino to save his life. At least, not until the very end. By that point, he's earned it.
      • Tommy comes to prison to pick him up with a cappuccino in a take-away cup. Before he can have a taste, Tommy has to slam on the breaks and spill it all over.
      • At the Five-Tone, Eddie gets one bar-slid to him... only to have it shot out from under his nose by one of the Mario Brothers.
      • After the auction-house job, Eddie decides to make one himself... and the machine shorts out.
      • Eddie gets served one at Anna's place after their date... too bad it tastes too much like ethyl chlorate.
    • The Candy Bars and Kaplan always appear out of nowhere, unexpected and wearing whatever weird clothes they thought about, sometimes trying to fit in, sometimes definitely not.
  • The Series Has Left Reality: The film is realistic up to the point where Eddie and Tommy Five-Tone jump off the building and Eddie ends up falling into a chair in the Mario Brothers' apartment (Tommy ends up back at the bar), with no explanation whatsoever. The movie has a number of reality-defying scenes after that.
  • Sidekick Song: Played with in that the caper-timing songs double as these.
  • Slipping a Mickey: ...Yeah.
    Hudson Hawk: Hey, this doesn't taste like cappuccino.
    Anna: Oh. I guess I put too much ethyl chloride in it.
  • Speak of the Devil: When Gates is talking about Alfred, and the latter immediately enters. A subverted Inadvertent Entrance Cue. Also provides an Answer Cut. (Pun not intended.)
  • Spraying Drink from Nose: In the scene where Eddie and Tommy are paralyzed by curare, they make a number of funny statements while one of their captors (named Butterfinger) is drinking something. He starts laughing and tells them "You made it come out of my nose."
  • Staged Shooting: Hawk shooting Tommy in a brawl.
  • Taken for Granite: During the finale, Minerva gets turned into gold due to the machine's sabotage.
  • Tap on the Head: While Eddie and Tommy are infiltrating Leonardo Da Vinci's castle, they lure two guards over to them and knock each of them out with one punch.
  • Theme Naming: The CIA people are code-named after candy bars; apparently before that, they tried diseases.
    Almond Joy: Do you know what it's like to be called "Chlamydia" for a whole year?
  • Theme Twin Naming: Eddie jokingly asks of the identical twin mooks tasked with following him around, "What do they call you guys? Igg and Ook?" They are credited as such.
  • Threat Backfire
    Darwin Mayflower: I'll kill your friends, your family, and the bitch you took to the prom!
    Hudson Hawk: Betty Jo Biarski? I can get you an address on that if you want.
  • Time Bomb: The rockets, with one case of Delayed Explosion.
  • Time for Plan B:
    • After Hawk and Tommy jump off a balcony:
      Minerva: Plan B, George.
      Kaplan: ...Plan B!
    • Also when Kaplan and Butterfinger are trying to find a way out of the castle, but things keep blowing up each way they pick.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Lampshaded in the most hilarious way.
    Eddie: You're supposed to be all cracked up at the bottom of the hill!
    Tommy: Air bags! Can you fucking believe it?
    Eddie: You're supposed to be blown up into fiery chunks of flesh!
    Tommy: Sprinkler system set up in the back! can you fucking believe it!?
    Eddie: Yyyyeah! That's...probably what happened!
  • Unholy Matrimony: The Mayflowers are a marriage of supercriminals.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Former Trope Namer for the old "Stop Helping Me!" trope: Anna decides to pick up a gun and help Hudson during his fight with Alfred. Unfortunately, she's not the best markswoman in the world.
  • Villain's Dying Grace: Kit-Kat helps Anna escape from her bindings after being mortally wounded.
  • The Voiceless:
    • Kit Kat only communicates through preprinted cards. "MY NAME IS KIT KAT THIS IS NOT A DREAM"
    • Also Igg and Ook until they get shot whereupon for some reason each cries his own name.
  • Why We Are Bummed Communism Fell:
    • Given George Kaplan's ex-CIA, it's not surprising he's awfully bummed about it.
      George Kaplan: Ah, Rome. I did my first bare-handed strangulation here. Communist politician.
      Hudson Hawk: Why, George, you big softie.
      George Kaplan: God, I miss communism. The Red Threat! People were scared, the Agency had some respect, and I got laid every night!
    • About his new, young crew:
      George Kaplan: Punks! They think that the Bay of Pigs is a herbal tea, and the Cold War has something to do with penguins.
  • World of Ham: The entire cast (sans James Coburn) seems to be engaging in a scenery-chewing competition, especially Bruce Willis and Richard E. Grant.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: The movie is very obviously meant to be set in the year it was released (1991), but is said to take place exactly 500 years after 1481.
  • Wrong Restaurant: The Candy Bars are ordering dinner at a restaurant in Italy. Butterfinger, who is very stupid, orders a steakburger and french fries because he thinks they're in France.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/HudsonHawk