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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Nighthawks [Blu-ray]


(Bruce Malmuth, Gary Nelson, 1981)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Universal

Video: Shout! Factory



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:39:14.448 

Disc Size: 45,346,788,330 bytes

Feature Size: 28,931,788,800 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 18th, 2016



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1891 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1891 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English, none



• Lights Camera Action interview with producer Herb Nanas (16:10 - audio only)

• We Gotta Shoot This - interview with DoP James A. Contner (24:37)

• A Sign of the Times - interview with actress Lindsay Wagner (10:29)

• Not the Other Girls - interview with actress Catherine Mary Stewart (4:24)

• Nighthawks - The First Draft - interview with writer Paul Sylbert (9:50)

• It Was Hell - interview with Technical Advisor Randy Jurgensen (10:50)

• Theatrical Trailer (1:43)

• Radio Spots (1:35)

• Stills Gallery





Description: Sylvester Stallone and Rutger Hauer star in this riveting story of suspense and intrigue that starts in London, continues in Paris and reaches its chilling conclusion on the streets of New York.

When Europe’s most feared terrorist (Hauer , The Hitcher) explosively announces his presence in Manhattan, two elite undercover cops (Stallone and Billy Dee Williams) are assigned to stop him before he strikes again. But the ruthless terrorist has other plans for the city: and the detectives.

This edge-of-your-seat thriller, directed by Bruce Malmuth (Hard to Kill), also stars Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman), Persis Khambatta (Star Trek: The Motion Picture), Nigel Davenport (The Island of Dr. Moreau) and Joe Spinell (Maniac).



The Film:

Deke DaSilva (Sylvester Stallone) and Matthew Fox (Billy Dee Williams) are New York police officers specially assigned to a special multi-national team dedicated to tracking down terrorist Wulfgar (Rutger Hauer). Wulfgar planted a bomb in a London department store, killing several children and he is now an outcast, hunted by both the police and his fellow gang members. He has extensive plastic surgery and resumes his activities aided by Shakka (Persis Khambutta), a completely psychotic fellow outcast. Soon DaSilva and Wulfgar are engaged in a violent battle of wits as Wulfgar resumes his terrorist activities and threatens New York . This very effective thriller features a chilling performance by Rutger Hauer as the handsome, ruthless cold-blooded killer who charms women into helping him and then kills them. Sylvester Stallone gives an unusually understated emotionally vulnerable performance as a man trying to save lives while he saves his own marriage. The film makes excellent use of New York locales, particularly during a terrifying hijacking of a cable car where Wulfgar coolly decides which of the hostages will live or die.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

There are also, in ''Nighthawks,'' a subway chase, a drug bust, a final slow-motion shooting and the hijacking of a Roosevelt Island cable car. All of these things are familiar (although the subway car is absolutely clean of graffiti, and the Roosevelt Island tram may not have been used before). And yet, as directed by Bruce Malmuth, the movie is clumsy but fast, and very vividly etched, with plenty of excitement and spark.

Mr. Hauer's terrorist, in particular, is a sharply drawn character who acts as a driving force within the movie's scheme. Sadism and bloodlessness are his only identifiable characteristics, and yet he behaves memorably wherever he goes. ''You're going to a better life,'' he repeatedly tells victims-to-be. Without exception, they are. Even the terrorist's single-minded determination to taunt Mr. Stallone's cop becomes something more than the weary clich-e it might ordinarily be. Mr. Hauer is so sleekly diabolical, Mr. Stallone so bearish and enraged, that their antagonism works in physical terms even if it hasn't been keenly established in dramatic ones.

Excerpt from the NYTimes located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Nighthawks looks pristine on a dual-layered Blu-ray with a max'ed out bitrate from Shout! Factory.  The 1080P image supports the frequent dark sequences of the film without issue.  Colors appear true - many warm skin tones - and detail at the high-end. Contrast is adept but there is not an abundance of depth. Grain is fine and consistent looking very pleasing adding some texture to the visuals. There are no flaws - the video is clean and produces, what appears to be, an authentic and buoyant video presentation.





Burned-in subtitle sample for the non-English dialogue





















Audio :

A lossless DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel stereo track at 1891 kbps (24-bit) supports keyboard legend Keith Emerson's score (Dario Argento's Inferno, Lucio Fulci's Murder-Rock: Dancing Death) and it's filled with action and drama sounding impressively deep in the lossless. It adds significantly to the viewing experience, IMO. Effects - like guns - can sound cannon-like. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'A' Blu-ray disc.


Extras :

This 'Collector's Edition' is filled with supplements - mostly in the form of interviews. Lights Camera Action spends time with producer Herb Nanas for over 1/4 hour on the phone. We Gotta Shoot This is a 25-minute piece with DoP James A. Contner. A Sign of the Times is a 10-minute interview with the lovely Lindsay Wagner. Not the Other Girls spends a brief 5-minutes with actress Catherine Mary Stewart. Nighthawks - The First Draft gives us 10-minutes with writer Paul Sylbert and It Was Hell - talks with Technical Advisor Randy Jurgensen for just over 10-minutes. There is also a theatrical trailer, Radio Spots and a stills gallery..



Nighthawks seemed to have a lot of potential and works as a straight actioner. I always kept thinking of it moving in less-obvious directions and the conflicts were fairly predictable which seemed to holdback the film with an air of artificial grittiness. But for the pace and thriller aspects - it works well for mainstream Hollywood expectations. In fact - it is quite professionally made, in that regard, with a strong production budget and solid performances. Effects were rendered well and the score helped carry its tension and gravitas. The Shout! Factory Blu-ray does all it can for the film presentation while garnering appreciation with the many supplements. It's as good as it will probably ever get for home theatre acknowledgment of Nighthawks. If you give yourself over to the plot - it's quite a ride! 

Gary Tooze

October 13th, 2016


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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Gary W. Tooze






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