Richard Donner's stab at the world of romantic fantasy is resoundingly realized in the underappreciated gem Ladyhawke. With Matthew Broderick channeling his splendid young comic timing, the film has a wit that nicely balances out the yearning love story, played to the hilt by a striking Michelle Pfeiffer and in one of his most powerful roles, Rutger Hauer. Ironically, Hauer only was given the part after Kurt Russell dropped out of the production, thereby giving the thespian the role that he was denied almost a year before when originally approached by Donner to play the main villain. For that, the steel-eyed actor should be eternally grateful, for the character busted him out of the string of memorable villain pieces that broke him in the industry (Blade Runner, Nighthawks). Ladyhawke as a film exists in its own place and time, with stylized armor set against authentic locales that paint a picture of a singular medieval world unlike any other. While the romantic tale fares strong with the female audience, the males will undoubtedly be drawn to its action, though that's not to say that the pic does not have its downsides. First off, the pulsating synth score by Andrew Powell has aged terribly and consistently feels out of step with the rest of the picture. Then there's the issue of Broderick's accent, which switches from British to American at the drop of a dime and shines through no matter how charming he may be. Still, with a juicy supporting cast, delicious villains, and a bravura finale, Ladyhawke stands as a shining example of pure escapist fantasy.
by Jeremy Wheeler review