6 December 2002 | MovieAddict2016
A Surprisingly Good Comedy...
"The Hard Way" stars Michael J. Fox as Nick Lang/Ray Casanov -- a big-time film star who is good-natured and eager to follow around real-life Detective Lt. John Moss, NYPD, played by James Woods.
When I first saw previews for this film, I thought I knew what it would be: another clichéd film, involving a snobby film star getting teamed with a cop who hates him. I was wrong.
This film, in a way, blew me out of the water, because when I viewed the film I realized that Michael J. Fox's character was not snobby, nor ignorant. He was more-or-less run by Hollywood, instead of vice versa. He is what you would call, simply put, innocent. Not in a holy context like we are used to when we hear that word in films these days, but almost like an innocent child. He really can't wait to watch, hear and learn from John Moss. Granted, he does usually mess up Moss' assignments, but not from ignorance or not caring. He messes up the assignments trying to help Woods and learn
Woods, on the other hand, is partly what I expected, yet better. He fits into his character perfectly and plays it with such sickness towards Fox's character, that you sometimes feel like yelling at the guy for being such a jerk. I have always liked James Woods' performances in films. He just fits into his certain 'trademark' characters.
Unfortunately, the end of the film seems to stain the rest of the film's surprises, and slip into our average cop-buddy comedy, with a ridiculous climax. Luckily the very, very end of the film is slightly predictable, but Woods' outlook on Fox, while he respects him more, still hasn't changed a whole lot. He still doesn't really like the guy as a friend, but almost puts up with him because of what he did for Woods. It's a bit hard to explain, especially without throwing away the ending, but when you see it, you'll understand.
So, with that in mind, the very end of the film redeems the short five minutes or so of Hollywood cop-buddy film clichés.
'The Hard Way' was a major surprise for me, and turned out to be a very enjoyable comedy. I wouldn't really classify it in the 'cop-buddy' genre. It's too unpredictable (to a certain degree) and enjoyable.