The Hard Way Reviews

  • Jan 30, 2021

    A serial killer-vigilante known as the "Party Crasher" (Stephen Lang) telephones the police, notifying them that he is about to kill another person at a night club, daring them to stop him. Police converge on the night club, but the officers, including cynical NYPD Lieutenant John Moss (James Woods), are unable to stop the murder. The Party Crasher flees in the ensuing chaos, and Moss is thrown off a car while trying to stop the killer. While Moss has his injuries tended to, he makes obscene comments to the media. In Hollywood, Nick Lang (Michael J. Fox) is a pampered and capricious movie star who is best known as "Smoking" Joe Gunn, the Indiana Jones-like title character in a series of highly popular action films. In order to be taken more seriously as an actor, he is vying for the leading role in the heavy cop drama Blood on the Asphalt, which he believes will be a more realistic role. Nick vows to "prepare" for the role by attempting to act as an actual police officer with the rest of the NYPD. After seeing Moss's outburst on television, Nick pulls strings with New York City Mayor David Dinkins to be assigned as Moss's new partner. Moss wants no part of the deal, but is forced to comply by his captain, who is a Nick Lang fan. To make matters worse, looking after Nick means that Moss will have to be removed from the Party Crasher case... Rotten Tomatoes consensus said, "The Hard Way's overly familiar formula is enlivened by a witty script and the excellent comedic chemistry between Michael J. Fox and James Woods." Vincent Canby of The New York Times said that it is "not a perfect comedy by any means, but it is a very entertaining one" and commended its "pure Hollywood" sensibility, writing that it is "sometimes slapdash in execution and sloppy in coherence, but it's written, directed and performed with a redeeming, self-mocking zest." Time Out called it a "light, bright comedy" that "counterbalances Hollywood convention with some very funny swipes at the film industry" and stated, "Badham handles the numerous action sequences with confidence, but the real enjoyment comes from the interplay between the two leads, who revel in the opportunity to send up their images." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it three-and-a-half out of four stars and praised its "comic energy", calling the film "funny, fun, exciting, and [...] an example of professionals who know their crafts and enjoy doing them well." Ebert said the stunts, special effects, and second unit work were "all seamless and exciting", and viewed that the actors elevate the film's plot with their performances: I do like this John Badham action comedy. There´s great and funny interactions between James Woods and Michael J. Fox, they have great chemistry and they fit their roles perfectly. While Stephen Lang is equally great as the psychotic "Party Crasher" and the lovely Anna-Bella Sciorra is fine as well as Susan. I would say that James Woods and Michael J. Fox makes this film great. With other actors in their roles this film might not have been as good. "The Hard Way" was really nice to re-see. Trivia: Universal Studios originally wanted Kevin Kline and Gene Hackman to star. According to James Woods, his role in this film was one of his toughest because his character had to constantly be angry with Michael J. Fox's character, who he found very likeable in real life.

    A serial killer-vigilante known as the "Party Crasher" (Stephen Lang) telephones the police, notifying them that he is about to kill another person at a night club, daring them to stop him. Police converge on the night club, but the officers, including cynical NYPD Lieutenant John Moss (James Woods), are unable to stop the murder. The Party Crasher flees in the ensuing chaos, and Moss is thrown off a car while trying to stop the killer. While Moss has his injuries tended to, he makes obscene comments to the media. In Hollywood, Nick Lang (Michael J. Fox) is a pampered and capricious movie star who is best known as "Smoking" Joe Gunn, the Indiana Jones-like title character in a series of highly popular action films. In order to be taken more seriously as an actor, he is vying for the leading role in the heavy cop drama Blood on the Asphalt, which he believes will be a more realistic role. Nick vows to "prepare" for the role by attempting to act as an actual police officer with the rest of the NYPD. After seeing Moss's outburst on television, Nick pulls strings with New York City Mayor David Dinkins to be assigned as Moss's new partner. Moss wants no part of the deal, but is forced to comply by his captain, who is a Nick Lang fan. To make matters worse, looking after Nick means that Moss will have to be removed from the Party Crasher case... Rotten Tomatoes consensus said, "The Hard Way's overly familiar formula is enlivened by a witty script and the excellent comedic chemistry between Michael J. Fox and James Woods." Vincent Canby of The New York Times said that it is "not a perfect comedy by any means, but it is a very entertaining one" and commended its "pure Hollywood" sensibility, writing that it is "sometimes slapdash in execution and sloppy in coherence, but it's written, directed and performed with a redeeming, self-mocking zest." Time Out called it a "light, bright comedy" that "counterbalances Hollywood convention with some very funny swipes at the film industry" and stated, "Badham handles the numerous action sequences with confidence, but the real enjoyment comes from the interplay between the two leads, who revel in the opportunity to send up their images." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it three-and-a-half out of four stars and praised its "comic energy", calling the film "funny, fun, exciting, and [...] an example of professionals who know their crafts and enjoy doing them well." Ebert said the stunts, special effects, and second unit work were "all seamless and exciting", and viewed that the actors elevate the film's plot with their performances: I do like this John Badham action comedy. There´s great and funny interactions between James Woods and Michael J. Fox, they have great chemistry and they fit their roles perfectly. While Stephen Lang is equally great as the psychotic "Party Crasher" and the lovely Anna-Bella Sciorra is fine as well as Susan. I would say that James Woods and Michael J. Fox makes this film great. With other actors in their roles this film might not have been as good. "The Hard Way" was really nice to re-see. Trivia: Universal Studios originally wanted Kevin Kline and Gene Hackman to star. According to James Woods, his role in this film was one of his toughest because his character had to constantly be angry with Michael J. Fox's character, who he found very likeable in real life.

  • Nov 01, 2020

    The movie was much better than anticipated . Michael Fox was great . The scene of him playing Susan was classic 3.7

    The movie was much better than anticipated . Michael Fox was great . The scene of him playing Susan was classic 3.7

  • Jul 10, 2020

    This odd couple doesn't work.

    This odd couple doesn't work.

  • Jul 20, 2019

    Lot of people find funny, but the way James Woods' character behaves is not okay. Like slam the door in Nick's face, handcuff him the bed, and somewhat be rude to him.

    Lot of people find funny, but the way James Woods' character behaves is not okay. Like slam the door in Nick's face, handcuff him the bed, and somewhat be rude to him.

  • Aug 13, 2017

    Very funny film, especially the first hour or so, a bit more serious towards the end but it was very good.

    Very funny film, especially the first hour or so, a bit more serious towards the end but it was very good.

  • Jan 18, 2017

    The unlikely paring of Michael J Fox and James Woods works like a charm in this excellent and largely overlooked "buddy cop" comedy thriller. With great, crackling performances from all concerned, a well written script and fun action, I find myself rewatching this movie at least every couple of years.

    The unlikely paring of Michael J Fox and James Woods works like a charm in this excellent and largely overlooked "buddy cop" comedy thriller. With great, crackling performances from all concerned, a well written script and fun action, I find myself rewatching this movie at least every couple of years.

  • Jul 10, 2016

    Probably the worst buddcy-cop I've ever seen.

    Probably the worst buddcy-cop I've ever seen.

  • Jun 30, 2016

    I haven't seen this since the days of video rentals. It still holds up and James Woods is on fine form with loads of oneliners. Great chemistry between him and Michael J. Fox.

    I haven't seen this since the days of video rentals. It still holds up and James Woods is on fine form with loads of oneliners. Great chemistry between him and Michael J. Fox.

  • Jun 18, 2016

    Totally underrated film. Great acting by Michael J Fox, however James Woods, for me, steals the show. Although a 90s feel film, script is still so funny. This is a witty, fast well written, action packed, silly and great fun - please - - - watch it.

    Totally underrated film. Great acting by Michael J Fox, however James Woods, for me, steals the show. Although a 90s feel film, script is still so funny. This is a witty, fast well written, action packed, silly and great fun - please - - - watch it.

  • Sep 08, 2015

    Cool and even somewhat original, beautifully shot in noirish style.

    Cool and even somewhat original, beautifully shot in noirish style.