Follow TV Tropes


Film / Hudson Hawk

Go To

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

Hudson Hawk is a 1991 action comedy film directed by Michael Lehmann and starring Bruce Willis in the title role, with a supporting cast that includes Danny Aiello, Andie MacDowell, James Coburn, Richard E. Grant, and Sandra Bernhard.

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 dollars' 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.

The film was made at a time when Bruce Willis 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 insisted on CGI to hide his thinning hairline).

It was William Conrad's final film appearance before his death in 1994.

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.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Actually Pretty Funny: While Eddie is being threatened by the Mayflowers, Darwin tells Hawk "I'll torture you so slowly you'll think its a career. I'll kill your friends, your family and the bitch you took to the prom!" Eddie responds with "Betty Jo Biarsky? I can get you an address on that if you want." to which George Kaplan can't help but grin and salute Hawk for.
  • 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.
  • Alliterative Title: Due to Alliterative Name-type Protagonist Title.
  • 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.
  • Amusingly Awful Aim: While Eddie and the butler are fighting, Anna Baragli tries to shoot the butler but misses, hitting Eddie's belt buckle instead.
    Anna: Sorry!
  • And Starring: The opening cast roll ends with "and James Coburn."
  • Artistic License – Chemistry: 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. Minerva also states that gold and lead differ by one proton on the periodic table of elements. The difference is actually 3 protons not to mention 8 neutrons (on average). 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.
  • Artistic License – Economics: The Mayflowers' plan has this by the bucketful.
    • 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 – History: The horse Da Vinci made out of clay is the target of a heist in the film...but said horse shouldn't even exist, since it never got further than a clay model (a full-size one), and said model was destroyed in 1499 by French soldiers, who used it as a target for archery practice. Similarly, Leonardo's flying machine exists as a drawing only, not as an actual model (let alone functioning one).
    • And unless it's a sophisticated joke, "Sforza" is the last name of the patron duke of Milan who funded the sculpture, not of the horse itself (which is referred to by art historians as, well, "Horse").
    • Also, the entire plot is centered around Da Vinci’s machine that somehow acts like the Philosopher’s Stone ... but Da Vinci wasn’t an alchemist and didn’t have a high opinion of the craft.
  • Asshole Victim: Eddie's corrupt parole officer Gates, who gets his throat cut by Alfred after he starts berating him for being British.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bar Slide: A bartender at the Five-Tone sends Eddie a cappuccino this way. Unfortunately, it’s shot out of his hand by Antony Mario.
  • Battle Butler: Alfred, the Mayflowers' butler who's a knife expert with a Blade Below the Shoulder; "A cross between Alistair Cooke and a Cuisinart."
  • Becoming the Mask: Anna falls in love with Hudson after seducing him for the Vatican.
  • 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: Butterfinger’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
    • After Alfred slits Gates' throat: "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.
    • Played With in-universe when Mayflower facetiously translates an Italian term "for those at home."
  • 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?"
    • Hudson Hawk deliberately sabotaging the assembly of the crystal causes Minerva to be coated in bronze, which was the machine's original purpose in the prologue.
  • The Butler Did It: Quoted by Eddie when telling Tommy about Gates' death at the hands of Alfred, who is a butler.
  • Camera Spoofing: The "play back old footage" version is used in the auction house robbery. Unfortunately, two of the guards just saw an overweight colleague break a chair, which shows up intact on the spoofed images and reveals the trick.
  • 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?"
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Mayflowers. "What can I say? I'm the villain!"
  • Catchphrase: Tommy has one. Can you believe it?!
  • Character Title: "Hudson Hawk"
  • Check, Please!: While Eddie and Anna are in a café, Anna says that knowing he was in prison excites her. Eddie: "Check please!"
  • Christianity is Catholic: The Vatican itself is involved - Anna is secretly an intelligence agent for the Holy See. She's also a nun, veering close enough to Naughty Nun territory that her superior (an unnamed Cardinal) warns her about getting too close to Hawk.
    Cardinal: Remember, sister, you have your oath to God, as well as your mission to the world.
  • 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!"
    • The Pope's postal subway.
  • Church Police: or in this case, more like Church Counterespionage; the "Vatican Organization" that Anna works for, which is ostensibly working with Kaplan's team to prevent the Mayflowers' plans later discovering that Kaplan & co. are in on it.
  • Code Name: The Candy Bars, as their name indicates, are codenamed after famous candy bars: Snickers, Butterfinger, Kit Kat, and 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.
  • Confessional: Anna gives a confessional to her priest, who is also her spy handler.
  • Cool Car: The Mayflower's 1955 Imperial Crown Imperial Limousine definitely qualifies as one of the coolest and prettiest stretch limos to grace the silver screen.
  • Cover Drop: For the rope-swinging one.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Kit Kat communicates solely through pre-printed notecards, of which somehow he has one ready for every occasion he encounters.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: "I will torture you so slowly you'll think it's a career!"
  • Damsel in Distress: Anna needs rescuing a few times, though she knows she doesn't make a very good one.
  • 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.
  • Deliberately Bad Example: The CIA guys were already well-shown to be villains throughout the episode, but they also show that they don't have any of Hawk's scruples or care when their (off-screen) Louvre heist involves performing a terrorist attack that damages the museum and kills a lot of people so they can nab Da Vinci's artifact in the confusion.
  • Disney Villain Death:
    • Kaplan falls to his death along with the exploding limousine.
    • Since he was in the backseat of the limo, so does Tommy, except it's subverted, thanks to Mayflower's preparedness - the backseat had airbags and a sprinkler system!
    • 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.
  • Distant Prologue: The film opens with a scene of Leonardo da Vinci creating the transmutation device.
  • 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.
  • Dresses the Same: Kit Kat wears is own regular suit at the auction of the fake Sforza. After that, every time he appears he's either dressed the same as another character in the scene, or an object in the room.
    • Also, Igg and Ook, twin henchmen
  • 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.
  • Embarrassing Slide: The Mayflowers document their robbery with a slide show, but their S&M play gets accidentally included in the presentation. "Damned Fotomat assholes!"
  • 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.
  • Evil Is Hammy: The Mayflowers are perhaps the most ludicrously hammy villains of all time.
  • 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.
  • Fantastic Catholicism:
  • Fast-Roping: This is how Kit Kat makes his first appearance.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Darwin and Minerva Mayflower.
    Darwin: What can I say? I'm the villain.
  • The Foreign Subtitle: Varied versions of "The Master Thief" were added to the title abroad.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Snickers, the bespectacled CIA agent, has fewer Affably Evil moments than his companions and is happy to try and incapacitate Hawk and let him know a time bomb is about to kill him.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Tommy smashes a bottle of champagne over the head of one of the Mario Brothers when they try to rough up Hawk in a Bar Fight.
  • 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 genitals as a threat.
    Darwin: Come to think of it, there is a part of your body that you won't be needing for your next job.
    • 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.
  • Handwave: Tommy survives being inside of a limousine that was set on fire and tossed down a very tall cliff by telling that it had air bags and fire extinguishers. He even says a very surprised "can you believe it!?" and Hawk's face, as he says, "yeah, I believe it" reads definitely "I don't"note 
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Once Kit Kat is shot by the Mayflowers, he unties Anna and gives her a card saying "I always liked you" before he dies.
  • 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.
    • Cesar and Antony Mario, after setting up the explosion at the auction house, die in a fiery explosion when their ambulance flips over.
    • Darwin and Minerva Mayflower both die from the gold machine they have been spending all film trying to make work.
  • 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.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Eddie manages to toss exact change into a toll road meter while careening down the highway on a gurney.
  • 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.
  • Indecisive Parody: Though the film was pitched as a parody of action and heist movies, the end product doesn't really specifically parody all that many tropes of these genres and just goes for a generally wacky and over-the-top approach, resulting in the few occasional bits of actual parody (such as the deliberately lame Bond One-Liner that Eddie gives after killing Alfred) feeling jarringly out of place.
  • 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.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Tommy and Eddie are some of the closest friends imaginable despite the former clearly being much older than the latter.
  • 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.
  • Ironic Echo: "Bunny...ball ball." Said by Hawk as a Pre-Mortem One-Liner as he gets ready to blast the villains' dog out a window with a tennis ball launcher.
  • I Was Just Joking: Darwin jokes about killing two of their goons, causing Minerva to immediately execute them. They laugh it off by dancing.
  • 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.
  • Master of Unlocking: Hawk is an expert at this, which is why all of the bad guys try their damnedest to force him to steal for them.
  • Meaningful Name: The Candy Bars -
    • Butterfinger is clumsy.
    • Snickers constantly chuckles under his breath.
    • Almond Joy takes great pleasure at the misfortune of others.
    • Kit Kat always looks like someone else in the room. Like Kit Kat bars look like every other Kit Kat in the pack.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Minerva shoots two goons after Darwin jokes about killing them.
  • Narrator: William Conrad narrates the film.
  • 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.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Kit Kat disguises himself as a Greek statue in the castle.
  • Noodle Incident: Captain Bob's steering wheel.
    • Also, the story that Tommy and Hudson are telling Anna the night they stay over at her place.
      Hudson: He had this look on his face when we caught him. He was like, "bee bee bee beep, bee bee bee beep." I never saw a look like it.
    • The job in which Hudson first met Kaplan.
      "I'm the guy who tricked you into robbing a government installation and then had you sent to prison for it."
      • Also Kaplan's former appearance in that job.
      "The last time you saw me I was bald with a beard and no moustache, and I had a different nose."
    • Hudson's evidently memorable prom-date with Betty Jo Biarski.
  • 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.
    • Butterfinger, when Minerva shoots him with the double crossbow. He looks mostly just confused. Confounded, she shoots him again, but he spits out a little blood, then walks out into the hallway to talk to Kaplan before finally collapsing.
    • Butterfinger handles a fight with Hawk pretty well until the latter resorts to a Groin Attack.
  • 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.
    • Eddie in the auction house, when he realizes he just accidentally called Anna a constipated warthog.
    • Eddie again, while Anna is inspecting the fake Sforza and makes a face.
  • 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.
  • Percussive Maintenance: The Pope's attempt to fix a malfunctioning TV by hitting it — with the Staff of the Papal Office, no less.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Almond Joy's curare-tipped blowgun darts, which she uses to knock out 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.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Igg and Oook receive them.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Butterfinger is a murderous CIA agent with the mind of a child.
  • Punctuated Pounding: Tommy Five Tone to Darwin Mayflower.
  • 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, Kaplan's mooks who have candy bar-themed codenames.
  • 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
    • The Distant Prologue takes place in Leonardo da Vinci's castle workshops during a day in his life. Plenty of Italian is spoken, along with a few other languages from other workers including English - mostly exclaiming surprise that the Bronze Machine is actually producing "GOLD!". None of it is subtitled.
    • 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.
  • Redundant Rescue: Anna. "I got bored, so I saved myself."
  • 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!
  • Rule of Three: Hudson takes on three heists.
    • Subverted: Only two of Hudson's heists are with Tommy, thus only two capers have the "trademark" synchronized singing. Meanwhile, a fourth heist is done offscreen by Kaplan's crew.
  • 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 brakes, spilling the drink.
      • 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.
    • Kit Kat only "speaks" via pre-printed cards. He also often dresses as the other characters; once as Hudson, once as Anna, and he also disguised himself as a living statue in the castle.
  • 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. After that, the action slowly grows more cartoony.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The locks on the Mayflowers' electronic handcuffs play the ring tone from the Flint Phone in Our Man Flint. Considering James Coburn's in this one, not terribly inappropriate.
    • George Kaplan is the non-existent spy in North By Northwest.
    • Before drinking Anna's coffee with ethyl chloride, Hudson quotes Casablanca:
    Hawk: Here's looking at you, kid.
    • Repeated references to "playing Nintendo." Which doubles as an awkward Double Entendre as having been in prison during its craze, Hudson doesn't know what it is, and assumes it's innuendo.
      • On top of that, Hudson's first antagonists are Antony Mario and Cesar Mario — AKA, the Mario Brothers.
    • The Pope is watching "Mister Ed." Dubbed in Italian.
    • Hudson references "There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight" while rudely manhandling Minerva to push Darwin's buttons.
    • When interrogating Anna, Darwin likens Hudson to a "well-hung Dudley Doright."
    • In the same scene, Darwin calls a dolphin-calling Anna "Flipper."
    • Hudson angrily calls Darwin an "Eddie Munster-looking motherfucker."
    • Similarly, Gates refers to Alfred as, among many other things, as "Sebastian Cabot-looking."
  • Sidekick Song: Played with in that the caper-timing songs double as these.
  • Signature Headgear: Eddie values it, 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.
  • Sinister Spy Agency: Kaplan and the Candy Bars are CIA and very much okay with being hired goons to the psychotic Mayflowers. Kaplan also fondly reminisces his glory days in one scene, pointing out to Hawk that they are standing in the place where he once carried out a memorable assassination.
  • Slashed Throat: The Battle Butler dishes these out.
  • Slipping a Mickey: ...Yeah.
    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.
    • Minerva actually gets coated in bronze, making it a Brick Joke from the prologue (Hawk's sabotage of the crystal assembly makes the machine do what Da Vinci was actually trying to accomplish in the first place).
  • Tap on the Head
    • When Eddie first meets the CIA Candy Bars, Kaplan punches him in the face and knocks him out. Eddie falls backward into a box full of styrofoam peanuts.
    • 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.
  • Toll Booth Antics: The titular character is in an out of control ambulance gurney. He manages to get one arm loose so he can toss change into the toll booth so he can keep careening out of control because the bad guys are after him.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Subverted when Anna gets the jump on the Candy Bars with a gun, but they know she's not going to use it, because she's a nun.
  • Trip Trap: During the theft of the Sforza (horse statue), two guards go after Eddie and Tommy. Tommy runs to one side and pulls on a rope, causing the guards to trip on it and fall down.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Almond Joy is the only African-American member of Kaplan's team, as well as the only woman on it.
  • 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.
  • Use Your Head: When Anna is kept prisoner by Minerva, she escapes by stomping her foot and headbutting her out cold.
  • Villain's Dying Grace: Kit-Kat helps Anna escape from her bindings after being betrayed and 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.
  • Why Won't You Die?: Butterfinger gets nailed in the chest by three arrows fired by Minerva, because the Mayflowers are double-crossing Kaplan and his reaction is to get out of the room to report to Kaplan before dying. While she doesn't say it out loud, Minerva's wide-eyed reaction at Butterfinger not keeling over dead instantly implies she was thinking this.
  • 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.
    • Actually, James Coburn has a few moments where he hams it up quite well.
    George Kaplan: MY PENSION!
    George Kaplan: God, I miss communism. The Red Threat! People were scared, the Agency had some respect, and I got laid every night!
  • 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.