Sylvester Stallone is best known for his iconic roles in franchises like Rocky, Rambo, and (more recently) The Expendables, but for a lot of movie fans, one of Stallone's earliest films remains a beloved cult-classic: Nighthawks. The 1981 crime-thriller starred Stallone, Billy Dee Williams, and the late Rutger Hauer (making his American film debut), in the story of two cops (Stallone and Williams) trying to hunt down a deadly European terrorist (Hauer) in NYC. Now, like so many of Sylvester Stallone's most famous works, Nighthawks is getting a modern reboot. However instead of a new film installment, the Nighthawks remake will be a streaming series, according to Stallone himself:
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Stallone was doing a Q&A on Instagram Live, and one of the questions (around 13:30 in the video above) was whether or not the actor thought his film Paradise Alley was underrated. Stallone's answer was an unequivocal "Yeah," and he then proceeded to jump to another film on his resume he thinks doesn't get enough love: "Same thing happened to Nighthawks. Love that film. By the way: we're remaking that as a streaming series, also at Universal. I'm really proud that all these things are coming back around, because they're holding up."
Nighthawks was a film well ahead of its time - in a lot of respects. It was supposed to be The French Connection III, pairing Gene Hackman's Popeye Doyle with a comedic partner (possibly Richard Pryor). The Neo-Noir feel that director Bruce Malmuth created for what became Nighthawks, perfectly captures the urban grit and edge of early late '70 s / early '80s NYC. The subject matter (an attempted terrorist attack on NYC, local law enforcement combating it) was seen as so unbelievable and outlandish that Universal originally didn't want to support it; now the film looks almost prophetic about the coming decades where New York would be struck by multiple (and continued) terrorist attacks.
Seeing Nighthawks redone as an investigative thriller seems like an easy win for Universal. While casting the lawmen and/or women hunting down the terrorist is key, what really made Nighthawks standout was how good Rutger Hauer's villain, Wulfgar Reinhardt, was. The series has a major legacy to live up to, in that regard.
Finally, this is also a good use of name recognition to create content that Universal can use to fill its newly-launched Peacock streaming service. Because while The Office and Parks and Rec reruns are great, new original programming people care about is worth its weight in gold, right now.
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