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The Hard Way (1991) R2 Retail DVD
Action, Comedy, Crime
It's not one of the more prominent feathers in Michael J. Fox's cap, but The Hard Way is a perfectly entertaining film with plenty of action and more than a few laughs. The plot certainly doesn't break any new ground, there aren't any real surprises along the way, and the ending definitely qualifies as over-the-top, but the whole thing works pretty darn well - thanks largely to the performances of Fox and James Woods. Michael J. Fox plays box-office sensation Nick Lang, star of The Smoking Gunn movies; he has it all, but he wants more. He's tired of playing Indiana Jones clones and yearns formore… a more serious role - such as the part of tough cop Ray Casanov in an upcoming film. He wants it so badly that, after seeing a television interview with Detective Lt. John Moss (James Woods) of NYPD, he uses his star power clout to get himself riding shotgun with Moss for two weeks in order to prepare himself for the audition. Moss, as you might imagine, is none too happy about having to baby-sit a movie star he doesn't even like - especially since it takes him off a big case. The Party Crasher (Stephen Lang) has been killing indiscriminately, and the whole case has become personal for Moss. The guy calls in his crimes before he commits them, and he's been eyeball to eyeball with Moss, yet he keeps getting away. Moss is determined to get rid of his new partner "Ray Casanov" as soon as possible so that he can get back to the case he considers his own.The new partners get into a number of situations, as you might expect, with Casanov always getting in the way or - worse yet - actually trying to play the part of a real cop. Moss can't even shake the guy away from work, as Lang tries to spend every moment studying the cop's life firsthand - including Moss' flailing relationship with his girlfriend Susan (Annabella Sciorra). It's easy to predict how everything will turn out in the end, yet the journey to that ending turns out to be surprisingly entertaining. I'm not sure how successful this film was at the box office - heck, I don't even remember hearing about this film back in 1991. It's sort of a sleeper, though - the kind of film that appears to be too buried in clichés and predictability to really succeed, yet succeed it does. Maybe it's Woods' intense performance that never crosses the fine line between realism and farce, or Fox's energetic performance as the spoiled actor who really wants to learn the ropes from a cop he genuinely admires (no matter how badly Moss treats him). Whatever it is, The Hard Way is a surprisingly enjoyable romp of a film.
|Michael J. Fox|
- The Hard Way (1991) R2 Retail DVD
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- 22/02/07 by bki
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