You could be forgiven for thinking that the title is a typo, and that it should really be called The Half Way, such is the feeling that so many areas in the film are underdone.
The film has a glamorous movie star trying to toughen up his image by going on a ride along with a genuine hard ass detective. Michael J. Fox is the spoiled rotten movie star Nick Lang. James Caan is John Moss, the man with the badge that you don’t wanna mess with.
So far, so good.
Of course what starts as a routine police favour to the stars becomes a bona fide case, when Moss refuses to play by the babysitting rules and doggedly pursues a psychopathic attention seeking killer, grating all the while at having to coddle the diva who wants to play tough cop.
The film is a reasonable facsimile of a mismatched buddy cop flick. The action is solid but too intermittent. The comedy more frequent but lacking the same punch. Ideally there would be a 50:50 split, but somewhere along the line the priorities got muddled, wasting decent performances from Caan and Fox, and the bad guy whose names can’t be bothered looking up.
The Hard Way is a film that wants to have its cake and eat it too. It wants to be bright and shiny with a hard edge, but can’t quite pull off the combination.
Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. Can’t help but feel that this would be a better film if they only tried the Easy Way, namely using the cast and the material’s strengths, instead of playing against them.