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The Hard Way

The Hard Way


Title - The Hard Way
My Admission - $4.50
One Line Review - It’s Great Saturday Afternoon Cinema Fare.


Review – To begin this review in perspective let me state that on its opening weekend in 1991, “The Hard Way” debuted 3rd; behind “New Jack City” and “Silence of the Lambs”.  Quite an actor’s weekend I’d say, and to give credit where it’s due, at least as far as acting is concerned, the performances by Michael J. Fox and James Woods are the strongest and most fun thing about John Badham’s film (not that the rest of the film is bad, mind you).

Looking back over John Badham’s career you can expect a certain level of quality from his product. Referenceing: “Satrurday Night Fever,” “Whose Life Is It Anyway?,” “Blue Thunder,” “War Games,” “American Flyers” (a personal favorite), “Short Circuit,” “Stakeout,” “Bird On a Wire,” “Point of No Return,” and “Drop Zone,” I mean c’mon…! Looking at these titles you see the acting talent that wants to work with him, and you yourself have ponied up plenty of bread to see at least half of these movies.

And while those films are not heavy, dramatic, psychologically deep thrillers they each have been great Cineplex experiences. They’re all big screen good times, right? Right. “The Hard Way” simply carries on the tradition.

Michael J. Fox stars a Nick Lang, the biggest Hollywood movie star of the moment. He’s desperate to get the starring role in Steven Spielberg’s newest cop drama believing the role would give him the acting meat his chops deserve, and make a legitimate name for himself amongst his peers. To do so he enlists the real-life services of Detective John Moss played by James Woods. Moss of course, is currently benched from his high profile murder case and therefore full of piss and resentment. Action, dating, wordy banter, and comedy all ensue.

“The Hard Way” plays out like a James Patterson novel for me. Quick, rough, honest, and comedic within its reality, yet still serious about the reality of its own reality; you follow me? I mean this isn’t rocket science and these guys don’t dig terribly deep to give an emotionally satisfying performance, nor do they need to you to enjoy the film. This is great Saturday afternoon cinema fare and these guys (including the rest of the cast, Penny Marshall, Delroy Lindo, LL Cool J, Stephan Lang, Anabella Sciora) do it expertly. They still exist as surface characters, but one’s with hearts you know they have because you’ve been witness to them.


Movie Information

Distributor: Universal Pictures
MPAA Rating: R for strong language
Starring:  Michael J. Fox, James Woods, Stephen Lang, Annabella Sciorra, Luis Guzmán, LL Cool J, Delroy Lindo, Penny Marshall, Christina Ricci
Director: John Badham
Producers:  Rob Cohen, William Sackheim
Screenwriter: Daniel Pyne, Lem Dobbs
Cinematographer:  Don McAlpine, Robert Primes
Composer: Arthur B. Rubinstein
Editor: Tony Lombardo, Frank Morriss
Art Director: John Kasarda
Running Time: 111 minutes
Genre: Crime, Action, Comedy

Turn Down The Lights, Turn Up The Sound.

Matthew Gilbert © 1999-2015 All Rights Reserved

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