Comes hot on the heels of The Goonies and two years before Deadly Weapon, Ladyhawke represented another important departure for Donner. A dark medieval fantasy centered around Rutger Hauer’s mysterious Captain Etienne Navarre and his female companion Lady Isabeau (Michelle Pfeiffer), a pair of star-crossed lovers on the run from a vengeful bishop who has placed a demonic curse on their heads. While Navarre turns into a wolf at night, Isabeau exists as a hawk during the day. Together with petty thief Philippe Gaston (Matthew Broderick), they embark on a quest to overthrow the evil bishop and break the spell.
Something of a passion project, Donner had been trying to get Ladyhawke several times before they finally got the green light from Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox in the mid-’80s. The film then suffered another setback when Kurt Russell, originally cast as Navarra, dropped out during rehearsals.
That turned out to be a blessing in disguise in the end, as Hauer went on to deliver perhaps his best performance since Blade Runner. Not all about Ladyhawke works – Broderick’s character feels a little too close to Ferris Bueller when the runtime could be shortened – but it remains a beautifully realized fantasy epic, full of memorable action sequences, stunning cinematography and an enchanting twist from Pfeiffer.
A cashier’s bomb upon release, Ladyhawke has also stood the test of time and amassed a cult following as an authentic and fresh take on the sword and sorcery formula.
Independent thinking person
Independent thinking person is the movie Will Smith had hoped for Wild Wild West would be; a funny, clever action comedy based on a classic TV show. In an era when most westerns were deadly serious, Donner’s film also felt like a breath of fresh air, taking huge advantage of a masterful William Goldman script that was both witty and unpredictable.
The latest in a series of films starring Mel Gibson, Donner’s muse, this time Mel plays Bret Maverick, a brilliant card player and equally impressive con man who tries to collect enough money to earn a seat at a high stakes poker game. Along the way, he is forced to contend with a fellow con artist in the form of Jodie Foster’s Annabelle Bransford and lawman Marshal Zane Cooper, played by James Garner, who starred in the original TV series.
Filmy One (FilmyOne.com) – Exclusive Entertainment Site