Bullet Points: Nighthawks
The problem when you are a Sylvester Stallone movie not named Rocky or Rambo is you can easily get overlooked.
That is most definitely the case with the subject of this edition of Bullet Points, Nighthawks.
- Our Hero: Stallone plays New York City cop, Deke DaSilva. He’s a member of the street crime unit, but is transferred by his superiors to a new division called A.T.A.C. (Anti-Terrorist Action Command). DaSilva is not happy with the move and is stuck in his ways, this causes him to butt heads with Peter Hartman (Nigel Davenport), an Interpol agent that has come in to train the A.T.A.C. team. And while DaSilva is a decorated war veteran with over 50 confirmed kills, he always plays it safe as a cop, never wanting to put an innocent bystander at risk. This too causes him conflict both with Hartman and with himself.
- The Mission: The A.T.A.C. team has been assembled after Interpol learns that Heymar “Wulfgar” Reinhardt has escaped Europe and is looking to grab some headlines by terrorizing New York City.
- Our Villain: Rutger Hauer made his American feature film debut in Nighthawks and he does an outstanding job. Rumor has it that he was so good, Stallone felt intimidated by his performance and actually used his Hollywood clout to edit down some of Hauer’s scenes. Hauer plays Wulfgar. Not only is that a great name for a villain, he’s more than just a cool name. He’s the type of villain who would bomb a department store in London for some press, go to a plastic surgeon to alter his looks so he can leave Europe and cause trouble in America, only to kill the surgeon when he’s done. He’s the type of villain who befriends unsuspecting women so he can stash his arsenal in their apartment and he’s even the type of villain who would take hostages in a tram that is stopped hanging high above the East River.
- Supporting Cast: DaSilva’s partner is Matthew Fox played by the great Billy Dee Williams. As a kid I was very intrigued with the concept of Rocky Balboa and Lando Calrissian teaming up, but the R rating prevented me from checking it out back then. DaSilva and Fox’s captain in the film is played by Joe Spinell. Spinell worked with Stallone in the first two Rocky movies as Gazzo the loan shark. And he is also famous for playing Willi Cicci in the first two Godfather movies. Lastly, DaSilva’s ex-wife is played by Lindsay Wagner of Bionic Woman and Sleep Number bed fame.
Nighthawks was made early enough in the 80’s that it still has some of the 70’s grit to it and it is still grounded in reality, not the over the top spectacles that action movies became as the 80’s wore on.
If you call yourself a Sylvester Stallone fan and have not seen this one, you definitely need to. Sly plays plays a cop for the first time in his career and delivers a solid performance. He has a great villain to play off of and the movie has a quality ending. You can also see Stallone in drag beating up muggers. You’re not going to find that in any Rocky or Rambo movie.