One of Hollywood’s many under-appreciated actors is in one of my favorite underrated dramadies of all time.
I remember watching “The Hard Way” for the first time with one of my best friends. He was always a good sport. He would see movies well before I ever could and he never cared when I asked him to watch them over again with me at my house on VHS.
I think he enjoyed watching my reaction to fresh movies as much he enjoyed watching a movie himself for the first time.
I remember when we were at the video rental store (yes, VHS…get over it) and I had asked him if he’d seen it–picking up the empty case.
“Yes,” he said. “Michael J. Fox plays Harrison Ford in it.”
*Eyebrow raised. Jaw slightly dropped.*
“I know,” he said to me. “It’ll make sense when we watch it.”
And that we did…
Mr. Fox actually plays Nick Lang–a Hollywood action movie star that is looking for a “real” role of a “real person.” Something with substance.
Enter James Woods (Mr. Under-appreciated) as John Moss–one stern cop that will be tasked with having the spoiled Hollywood actor shadow him for research.
Moss is all business–tough, smart, focused, and he has a bit of a mean streak in him after working so many years “on the street.”
I remember watching the trailers for Nick Lang’s movies within the storyline of “The Hard Way.” I know that they were meant to be heavy on the satire…Michael J. is perfect in a role like that. His charisma in a comedy when quirks are required is unmatched. His performance in the trailers are campy, but we buy it because it’s Michael J. after all.
Over the years I have learned to enjoy many of the performances of James Woods. He is such an interesting actor. He has the presence to play a leading man and even carry a movie (such as this), but he is great as a character actor as well.
As you can imagine, Moss is very resistant to taking on Lang as his shadow. Lang is naive to Moss’s detest for him. I mean, he’s a famous Hollywood actor…who wouldn’t be flattered to have him follow them around all day. What an honor…
Lang’s happy-go-lucky is a great foil to Moss’s cranky old cynicism.
The movie isn’t just another “buddy cop” movie (trust me, I use that phrase lightly). There is a murderer that Moss has been after for some time. We get to meet Moss’s love interest and see how she interacts with Lang…I think you’ll be surprised.
Lang’s journey is a real one. There are real threats, lessons learned, and growth on both sides of the relationship.
I remember feeling like I had seen a very Great! story unfold in front of me. The film was much better than I expected and I am so thankful that I had a friend that refused to spoil it for me.
…so you know now…
…there’s no way I’ll spoil it for you…go see it…totally worth your time…