The Hard Way (1991) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hard Way1991

The Hard Way (1991)




Critic Consensus: The Hard Way's overly familiar formula is enlivened by a witty script and the excellent comedic chemistry between Michael J. Fox and James Woods.

The Hard Way Photos

Movie Info

Action film director John Badham bites the hand that feeds him in this action movie spoof that features ribbing of pretty-boy Hollywood action stars by Michael J. Fox and a parody of colorful, hair-trigger James Woods types by the man himself. Woods plays New York homicide detective John Moss, who is within an inch of closing in on a serial killer who calls himself The Party Crasher (Stephen Lang) because his specialty is shooting his victims in the middle of discos. Chasing The Party Crasher after his latest victim has been dispatched, Moss finds himself hanging onto the door of a speeding truck with The Party Crasher at the wheel. When Moss is thrown off the truck and nearly killed, The Party Crasher escapes, and Moss is taken off the case. Moss is given a new assignment --to tag around with Hollywood action film star Nick Lang (Michael J. Fox), the popular hero of the "Smoking Gun" movies. Lang spotted Moss on a television news show and thinks he would be the ideal cop to study for adding authenticity to an up-coming police action picture. Posing as Moss's rookie partner, Lang follows Moss everywhere, proceeding to spoil his pursuit of The Party Crasher and interfering with Moss's burgeoning affair with his girlfriend Susan (Anabella Sciorra).

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Michael J. Fox
as Nick Lang
James Woods
as John Moss
Stephen Lang
as Party Crasher
LL Cool J
as Billy
Mary Mara
as China
Delroy Lindo
as Captain Brix
Conrad Roberts
as Witherspoon
George Cheung
as Drug Dealer
Frank Geraci
as Newsman
Sophie Maletsky
as Pizza Waitress
Kathy Najimy
as Lang's Girl Friday
Dante Smith
as Dead Romeo
Dwayne McClary
as Dead Romeo
Sharrieff Pugh
as Dead Romeo
Anthony Thomas
as Dead Romeo
Shawn McLean
as Dead Romeo
Keenan Leung
as Asian Gang Leader
Bill Cobbs
as Raggedy Man
as Diner Waitress
John Costelloe
as Fake Dead Guy/Cop
Jack Gindi
as Ticket Taker
Leif Riddell
as Head Mugger
Karen Lynn Gorney
as Woman in Subway
Janet Sarno
as Continental Representative
Jan Speck
as TV Reporter
Holly Kuespert
as `Smoking Gunn' Girl
John Ring
as Homeboy Cop
William Truesdale
as Witherspoon's Bodyguard
Mark Woodcock
as Clothing Salesman
Ed Setrakian
as Chief Villain
David O. Sosna
as Frog Dog Vendor
Adore O'Hara
as Dead Entertainer
Merrill Witten
as Scared Subway Woman
Mario Bosco
as Boy in Theater
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Critic Reviews for The Hard Way

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (3)

There is nothing very remarkable about The Hard Way, except for its comic energy, but the energy of this movie is everything, reminding me of the wisecracking, hard-boiled screwball comedies of the 1940s.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Everyone in the formidable cast of The Hard Way seems to have gotten the memo that this was to be a "good time at the movies".

October 9, 2020 | Full Review…

The formula of pairing a seasoned, serious, violent, tough-guy with a goofy, inexperienced youngster has been done before, yet there's still something humorous about it.

September 13, 2020 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…

...a high concept premise that's employed to somewhat bloated yet predominantly entertaining effect by Badham...

February 12, 2020 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Along with some good laughs, there's also a bit of effective tension.

May 15, 2007 | Rating: 75/100

An underrated buddy flick with an original twist and some outstanding stunt work.

March 4, 2006 | Rating: 7/10

Audience Reviews for The Hard Way


While it's nothing revolutionary, The Hard Way does what it does well. It's your fairly typical buddy cop film but with some nice moments and surprises in the first hour and change. The climax is a little cliche-tastic, but delivers some fun action.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

Funny action flivk. James Woods is great in this one.

Jason Spencer
Jason Spencer

Super Reviewer

One of my favorite buddy/comedies ever made.

Michael S
Michael S

Super Reviewer

The Hard Way Quotes

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