When Stallone wasn’t boxing the entire country of Russia, he was busy fighting terrorists. He was also busy being jealous of Rutger Hauer stealing the limelight in a movie they were filming together. That film was Nighthawks. Released in 1981, Nighthawks seems like a lesser known Stallone film, but for most of the people that watched it, they enjoy it. Shout! Factory see the potential in releasing the film on Blu-ray, through their Shout! Select line (Number 6 for those who are collecting), but unfortunately, we only get the theatrical cut. Nighthawks had quite a troubled production, with fired directors, pouting action stars and jealous feelings. The end result was a film that could have been better, but still managed to give action junkies a good time waster.
DISCS: 1 RUN-TIME: 100 min ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1 RESOLUTION: 1080p AUDIO: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 LANGUAGE: English SUBTITLES: English REGION: A/1 RATING: R PRODUCTION DATE: 1981 RELEASE DATE: Oct 18, 2016
Sylvester Stallone and Rutger Hauer star in this riveting story of suspense and intrigue that starts in London, continues in Paris and reaches its chilling conclusion on the streets of New York.
When Europe’s most feared terrorist (Hauer – The Hitcher) explosively announces his presence in Manhattan, two elite undercover cops (Stallone and Billy Dee Williams) are assigned to stop him before he strikes again. But the ruthless terrorist has other plans for the city – and the detectives.
This edge-of-your-seat thriller, directed by Bruce Malmuth (Hard to Kill), also stars Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman), Persis Khambatta (Star Trek: The Motion Picture), Nigel Davenport (The Island of Dr. Moreau) and Joe Spinell (Maniac).
In Nighthawks, Sylvester Stallone plays Deke DaSilva, a detective who rocks an amazing beard and hair cut. When he and his partner, Lando Calrissian, get reassigned to the anti-terrorist squad, they learn of the ruthless terrorist Wulfgar (Rutger Hauer), who has made his way to New York after having done a little too much violence in London. Wulfgar manages to get the quickest face change ever, but in somewhat of a big coincidence, DaSilva is able to figure out what Wulfgar looks like and tracks him down to a nightclub. A pretty intense chase scene takes place and now Wulfgar’s identity ends up being compromised for the second time in a couple of weeks. What is a terrorist supposed to do then? Why, hijack a tram car full of UN delegates, of course.
Nighthawks burns slow and isn’t as over the top in the action department as one would think. It takes its time to establish Rutger Hauer as a ruthless killer, with who hardly has a conscience. Rutger is phenomenal in this movie and it’s easy to see why action star Stallone was jealous of him.
The original cut of Nighthawks was much more violent and featured more scenes of Rutger’s character, but after some behind the scenes trimming, the final result was a nearly bloodless action flick, that still keeps the viewer interested. It’s interesting to know that one of the main reasons for original director Gary Nelson getting shitcanned from the film was Stallone’s refusal to let a woman be disguised as another woman in the flick. Instead, Stallone said he wanted to do it, which gave us this wonderful image to burn into our brains forever.
I enjoyed Nighthawks, but I would have enjoyed the more violent, Wulfgar heavier version a lot better. It’s a damn shame we didn’t get the chance to see the original version today with the new Blu given to us by Shout! Select being the best option. Nevertheless, the version we got is worth checking out.
Shout! Select releases Nighthawk through their Shout! Select line and I have to say, the Blu is well done, but not perfect. The transfer and audio are certainly fine, but the special features lack in areas. Interviews with leading actors Stallone, Rutger Hauer and Billy Dee Williams are missing (NOTE – Shout! Factory says this: We tried for months to make those interviews happen, but in the end they declined). Instead, we get interviews with actors who are barely in the film. Thankfully, we do get some interviews with the crew behind the scenes, who provide a wonderful amount of information on what exactly happened during this troubled production. Rounding the features out is your standard Trailer, gallery and TV spots.
NEW Lights, Camera, Action! – An Audio Interview With Producer Herb Nanas
NEW Nighthawks: The First Draft – An Interview With Writer Paul Sylbert
NEW We Gotta Shoot This! – An Interview With Director Of Photography James A. Contner
NEW A Sign Of The Times – An Interview With Actress Lindsay Wagner
NEW Not The Other Girls – An Interview With Actress Catherine Mary Stewart
NEW It Was Hell – An Interview With Technical Adviser Randy Jurgensen
Nighthawks comes across as a worthwhile action flick, but definitely as something that could have been more. The recipe for a successful suspenseful action film, starring some pretty awesome talent was almost complete, but never fully realised. Nonetheless, I still liked the movie and I do recommend checking out Shout! Factory’s Blu.