They arrive at Mayflower Headquarters, which looks like a redressed art museum with a giant “M” statue out front. Cut to them entering the boardroom, which is decorated much the same way as the boardrooms of James Bond villains: Lots of shiny stone and dark woods. Do all megalomaniacs use the same contractor?
Darwin introduces Hawk to the crowd of seated board members, and they all applaud. Um, okay.
Minerva, dressed in a hideous red dress, is sitting right on the big M-shaped boardroom table, listening to Snap’s “The Power” on headphones and caterwauling along. You know, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they had Sandra Bernhard sing just so they could make Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello sound better by comparison. At least we don’t have to hear the whole song, because Darwin shuts off her Walkman so she can greet Hawk.
“No, you idiot! The mating call in this culture is ‘I’m sooooo drunk!’“
Minerva’s small dog is also here in the boardroom, and we now learn its name is Bunny. Minerva tosses a tennis ball down some steps and cries out, “Bunny, ball-ball!” This phrase is repeated often during the remainder of the film, and even though it does sound funny enough, it’s a shame this is the closest thing the film has to a memorable catchphrase. Well, maybe it’s in a close race with “Slurp my butt.”
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Darwin tells Hawk that he’ll be getting a great hotel room, great clothes, and 250,000 lira per diem as an employee of theirs, but Minerva vetoes this idea. This inspires Hawk to remark that he now knows “who wears the penis in this family”.
An annoyed Minerva shoves him into a chair, commanding Alfred to “chain this convict”. Alfred does so with a strange set of handcuffs; Instead of the usual chain binding the cuffs, there are odd colored buttons and flashing lights on a keypad that require a code to lock and unlock them.
(*Again referencing the IMDb, the tones the keypad buttons make are another film reference, this time to Coburn’s two “Flint” spy caper movies from the ‘60s. The tones are the ones that the telephones in those films made. I haven’t seen them, but I actually remembered the tones referenced somewhere else, though it took me a while to remember the source: Mystery Science Theater 3000, in the Brain That Wouldn’t Die episode. The Mads’ Dream Buster makes the same sounds when activated.)
Darwin continues: “This may be hard to believe, but I’m just a regular Joe. I just want to be happy.” As he sees it, happiness comes from achieving goals, but he’s come so far in his life (he made his first billion dollars by the age of 19; I think the Olsen twins did the same) that he’s running out of goals to reach.
But now he has a new one: “WORLD DOMINATION!” And the gesture he makes on those two words is like the Bob Fosse version of Nixon’s “I am not a crook” stance, and enough in itself to out-ham most Tim Curry performances.
“I don’t know what I’m looking at, but it’s got a pair!”
As everyone applauds, we get our first good look at two bodyguards standing at the back of the room. They’re twins who look a lot like Agent Smith, especially with their sunglasses, haircuts, attitudes, and black and white clothes (though theirs are more European jet-set than business suit-like). But we’ll be getting to know them a lot better in just a few minutes.
But first, it’s time for more jokes involving genitals! As Darwin cuts off the applause, Bunny the Dog approaches the trapped Hawk and begins to gnaw at his crotch. Both Mayflowers are perturbed by this, but not as much as Hawk: “I think Bunny’s found his ball-balls for today!”
Minerva manages to call the dog off, though Hawk asks for “two more minutes! I was so close!” And if you think that’s kinky, just stay tuned.
Hawk asks to be sent home, even if it means going back to jail. One of the more nauseating moments follows as Minerva slaps him around a bit, and explains that maybe he can go back to jail and the gay sex it entails, but Hawk’s good friend Tommy can’t. Trust me, the actual dialogue is much ickier than how I’m describing it. And that’s not even taking into account how she’s chewing on his ear and puling on his cheeks the whole time.
“This is not your mother, it’s a man, bay-bee!”
Hawk says they have no proof Tommy was in on the robbery. But then Darwin turns him around to a screen and gives an apt description of what he’s about to see, and what we’re already seeing.
Darwin: It’s veja du, Hawk-Head: Something you wish never did happen!
Hawk is shown photo slides of the robbery, secretly taken by Kaplan and the Candy Bar Brigade, implicating both Hawk and Tommy. Also, it seems the Crew were the ones who planted the fake horse statue in the safe while the guards were chasing the guys. If Kaplan and his agents were able to do all that, why didn’t they just steal the damn thing themselves?
The effectiveness of the slideshow is somewhat diminished when, due to what Darwin calls those “damn Fotomat assholes”, the robbery slides are followed by pictures of Darwin and Minerva at an S&M party. Which means we get to see both of them, along with Alfred the Butler, in leather, fishnets, and bondage gear.
Geez, Darwin’s feyness, Minerva’s butchness, all the jokes about genitals and prison rape, and now this. Sure, one expects a little sexual content in an action movie. But not like this.
You really have to wonder why they didn’t just go with Tim Curry.
Minerva gets things back on track by explaining Hawk’s next assignment: he’s going to “hit a church!” And by “a church”, she means the Vatican. She tells Hawk that he has to break into the Vatican and steal Da Vinci’s priceless sketchbook, the Codex. Oh, that’s all?
Cut to Hawk being driven to the Vatican in the limo, with the Agent Smith bodyguards accompanying him. He asks the two mute, stone-faced men, “What are your names, Igg and Ook?” They just look at each other for a moment, confused, much like any two people watching this movie.
As soon as they’re inside the Vatican, they end up in a small crowd of tourists, and Hawk immediately makes a break for it. He runs up a spiral staircase, getting a floor or two ahead of Igg and Ook, while giving a peculiar Woody Woodpecker-esque laugh to no one in particular.
Hawk tries to be nonchalant as he goes up to a guard to explain his somewhat unique situation of being forced by a corporation and the CIA to rob the place. But the guard doesn’t speak English, so Hawk gives up. Soon, he’s casing the place as best he can, scribbling cryptic notes on a pad and staying a few steps ahead of Igg and Ook.
Hawk reaches the Codex room, and notices a nasty, ugly little girl pounding on the wall with a plush toy elephant. Her mother drags the brat aside, telling “Courtney” that “You’re embarrassing your country!” I’m going to take the high road for once and not apply this comment to the filmmakers. It’s just too easy!
Also, “Courtney”, who’s listed in the credits as “Bratty Kid”, is actually Courtenay Semel, the daughter of Terry Semel, who was chairman of Warner Brothers at the time this movie was made. Nepotism: 2, Audience: 0.
The Ugly American concept taken to the next level.
Hawk examines the roped-off case containing the Codex. It’s open to the sketch that everyone knows, of the male human physique. I don’t know the name of it offhand, but you’d know it if you saw it, if only from those old Soloflex commercials.
A tour group enters. And the tour guide... is Anna. Small world, huh? She notices Hawk, and there’s another forgettable attempt at banter between Bruce Willis and Andie MacDowell. She calmly continues her rehearsed spiel about Da Vinci, putting special emphasis on the Codex having been at the Vatican for centuries, and how it will be here “for centuries more.”
Hawk quietly sings [?] in a high-pitched voice, “That’s what you think!” Very subtle, Hawk. Anna asks if he has a question, and of course, he asks what time she gets off work. She ignores him. Good for her.
Hawk catches the unwelcome eye of Courtenay and sticks his tongue out at her, and she replies in kind. So I guess Hawk has finally met his match in terms of emotional maturity. But her stuffed elephant gives him an idea. He grabs it from her and tosses it through the air, where it bounces off the glass case containing the Codex.
This triggers the room’s alarm system, and as sirens ah-wooga away, the room’s chandelier-like lighting fixture descends, revealing itself to be a nested set of cages that surround the case. Smoke fills the room, and arriving security guards put on gas masks, and Hawk asks if the gas is dangerous. Well, duh! Though, to be fair, we never find out exactly what it does.
Anna tells everyone to get out, and the crowd complies, including Igg and Ook. Courtenay is dragged off, screaming for her “Pokey”, which we see trapped under one of the falling cages. Anna tells Hawk to come with her. She leads him through a side door, and Igg and Ook arrive in the hall too late to see where they went.
With their escape made, I now make my hasty escape from this recap.