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5 Underrated Richard Donner Movies You Must See




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5 Underrated Richard Donner Movies You Must See
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Ladyhawke starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Rutger Hauer

Ladyhawke

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.

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5 Underrated Richard Donner Movies You Must See

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.

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