At some point in its life cycle, a bad movie becomes a cult classic. When exactly that becomes the case is unclear; the moment a film crosses over from being just downright bad to being so bad its good is an indistinct line. Somewhere beyond the line, somewhere in cult classic territory lies the 1991 Bruce Willis feature, Hudson Hawk.
Directed by Michael Lehman, the movie tells the story of a cat burglar, Eddie "Hudson Hawk" Hawkins (Willis), who has just gotten out of prison. On his way out the door, he is approached by his parole officer, who wants him to do one last job. Hawk, trying to go straight, refuses. However, that same night, Hawk is pushed into doing the job by the mob.
While the job goes down without a hitch, soon afterward Hawk's life falls apart. Hawk and his partner, Tommy Five-Tone (Danny Aiello), stole a wooden horse crafted by da Vinci from an auction house, but despite successfully completing the job, Tommy and Hawk read the next day in the paper about how the caper was foiled and the horse will be auctioned as planned.
Going to the art auction, Hawk ends up continuing down a path that quickly finds him kidnapped and brought to Rome. In Rome, Hawk learns that the original heist was requested by Darwin and Minerva Mayflower (Richard E. Grant and Sandra Bernhard, respectively). The husband and wife pair are billionaires with a penchant for insanity. Their current scheme, of which the theft of the horse was but one part, is for world domination.
The basic outline of the Mayflowers' plan is to devalue the price of gold. The horse that Hawk stole was crafted by Leonardo da Vinci, and within the horse lay one part of a crystal that had been split into three by the Master himself. Once the crystal is reunited and placed in a machine created by da Vinci (which, amazingly, is still operational), ordinary lead can be changed to gold. The Mayflowers, Hawk finds out, wish for him to steal the other two parts of the crystal.
Threatened with death by the Mayflowers and a branch of the CIA, headed by George Kaplan (James Coburn), who happens to be the man who got Hawk arrested years ago, Hawk finds himself with little choice for the time being. Eventually, everything becomes more clear to Hawk, including the fact that Tommy was in on the plan from the beginning, and that the woman that Hawk is falling for, Anna Baragli (Andie MacDowell), who works for the Vatican, is also a nun.