HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
Diana's Wedding
Deerskin
Toll, The
Two of Us
Nowhere Special
Rainbow Jacket, The
Crazy Samurai: 400 vs 1
First Cow
Undiscovered Tomb
Being Frank
Occupation: Rainfall
Jeanette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc
   
 
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
   
 
  Hard Way, The Stop That Star
Year: 1991
Director: John Badham
Stars: Michael J. Fox, James Woods, Annabella Sciorra, Stephen Lang, Delroy Lindo, John Capodice, Luis Guzmán, LL Cool J, Mary Mara, Conrad Roberts, Penny Marshall, Christina Ricci, George Cheung, Frank Geraci, Sophie Maletsky, Kathy Najimy, Bill Cobbs
Genre: Comedy, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: John Moss (James Woods) is a cop on the edge, and tonight he is racing through the New York City traffic on a mission, but other drivers keep getting in his way, even with the flashing light on top of his car. The mission? He’s late for a date, but before he can get there his partner Pooley (Luis Guzman) takes an order over the radio: get to Times Square, because the killer known as The Crasher (Stephen Lang) is about to strike again. Moss is furious, mostly because he knows he cannot pass up a chance to catch this criminal, and soon is chasing him through a nightclub, but too late to stop the psychopath claiming his next victim. A vehicular pursuit ensues, with Moss almost getting himself killed – but someone watching on television is very impressed.

That someone isn’t another psychopath but it is someone who will torment Moss to utter distraction, a Hollywood actor named Nick Lang. He was played by Michael J. Fox, at the time still trying to find a success fitting for the leading actor in the Back to the Future franchise and not finding it with The Hard Way, which failed to find an audience on its release but on the plus side did muster a cult following as expensive flops can sometimes. Was its initial failure justified? You can see why it did, as its commentary on the world of movies was very reminiscent of a work to come a few years later, Last Action Hero, which shared thematic similarities and if anything was even more of a step back and look askance at action blockbusters.

That was one of those shoot ‘em ups with a maverick lone wolf at its heart, no matter that he had a sidekick in the shape of a small boy, but The Hard Way was far more of a buddy movie as had come into vogue in the previous decade where the genre had really established itself as we know it today. These tend to be only as good as the chemistry between the buddies, and in this case Woods and Fox were by far the strongest element, sparking off each other with profane and absurd dialogue and demonstrating a real spiky rapport pitched exactly right to deliver the requisite laughs. The premise is that Lang is one of those pampered stars who wishes to prove himself as a serious thespian, which means one thing: the R word.

Research, that is, and what better method of applying the method than being partner to a genuine New York cop? So it is that Lang is teamed with an aggravated Moss and begins to copy his every move, only with a clueless twist, thinking imitation is the next best thing to actually living the life, which Moss is only too happy to tell him it isn’t. The key line here was when Lang enters the police station and states the experience is “like a movie, it’s so real”, which in a wink to the audience, one of many, indicates the filmmakers were well aware of how artificial the whole thing was, creating a medium that observes itself and takes notes to share with you in the hope you’d chuckle at its self-awareness. Naturally, the settings depicted here look even less like real life today than they did back in the nineties.

To humanise the two cartoonish lead performances Annabella Sciorra was brought in as Moss’s love interest Susan, single mother (to Christina Ricci) and wanting to settle down with someone who can look after her, but not sure he is as reliable as she would want him to be. It would be nice to say this character added depth to what was a macho swear-off, but in the main she was required to look pained from the sidelines and all-too-predictably get kidnapped in typical action movie treatment of females, but against the odds Sciorra managed to make an impression, if only because she seemed like the only sane voice in the whole of the city. One of the insane voices was provided by Lang, who went nuts with his villainous role, only the kind of person you’d find in a nineties psychothriller – we don’t even get to find out his actual purpose in killing these people. If it ran too long in its bloated fashion, at least we were in good company for the duration, marking The Hard Way out as a smart comedy conscious of its own clichés and how to send them up with skill. Music by Arthur B. Rubinstein.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1829 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

John Badham  (1939 - )

British-born, American-raised director of mostly medium-sized hits. He progressed from television in the 1970s to direct The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings, but his second film was the blockbuster Saturday Night Fever. After that came a remake of Dracula, Blue Thunder, classic Cold War sci-fi WarGames, Short Circuit, Stakeout, the underrated The Hard Way, Nick of Time and Drop Zone, amongst others. He moved back into TV in the 2000s.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: