And now for a trip down memory lane: Back when I was a young lad, my dad used to look for kids movies we could watch whenever we were up to no good and around our block there was a store that had an incredible collection of movies for sale. The selection was absolutely fantastic, with movies that were very hard to find and rare, and became even more so once the Blockbuster’s and Netflix’s of the world choked them out. Either way, he bought us this movie called “Hawk Jones” on VHS for a mere five bucks and boasted about its surefire entertainment value. Well, he wasn’t incorrect.
“Hawk Jones” is an intrinsically awful movie in its essence, and boasts about being one of the only movies with an all children cast, which is pretty incorrect when you consider “Bugsy Malone,” but while it is awful to the normal viewer, it’s also rather ambitious. As one of the first independent films I’ve ever seen, “Hawk Jones” is a very rare and almost forgotten low budget kids film that implements an all children’s cast featured in a rather cliché story of cops fighting a local mob boss. This is just as terrible as you’d expect but you tend to display some exception toward it when all is said and done. Quite frankly, if you have no nostalgia for it, you simply won’t enjoy it.
But as someone who frequently watched it on VHS, it still has some small degree of value, in the end. The acting is atrocious, but then again these are children who seem very poorly coached. The writing is terrible, but it is intent on telling a story without resorting to vicious violence, and its entire special effects budget revolves around cartoon bubbles that read “Bam!,” “Boom!”, and other assorted onomatopoeias while the props are quite obviously store bought toys. “Hawk Jones” is a local crime fighter for Minitropolis and a renegade cop who is constantly ragged on by his fellow officers for being such a loose cannon, and maintains a calm degree until you mention his mamma and then he gets pissed.
The attempted dichotomy here is between Hawk and his long time partner who obviously has a thing for him, while he’s dating a femme fatale Lola, a cute little blond girl who wants to go out with him, while he vows to protect her from the local mob boss who will stop at nothing to end Jones. During this time he enlists “The Destroyer” a really big kid with typical eighties punk attire who is a behemoth—or as much of a behemoth as an eight year old can be—and attempts constant assassination attempts on Lola. Even though every production aspect is dreadful, Lowry’s film has an interesting goal at hand to tell this hilarious story while also implementing these children to their strengths.
It’s non-violent even in spite of the gun battles, and fist fights, and the kids look like they’re having a good time during the shoot. It’s all capped off with a great stand off as Hawk goes renegade with a huge array of plastic weapons at his disposal and takes down Coppola, all with a blooper reel in the end credits. This may not be a masterpiece, but I think it still has something to offer and wouldn’t be so bad as a remake. You can either get this for 40-90 bucks on online stores still selling VHS, or on Ebay for an equal amount cited above or on unofficial DVD in the Lowry brothers website. Just the same if you approach it with an open mind, “Hawk Jones” may just entertain you, in the end. Watching an old copy, I found myself horrified but slightly amused at what the Lowry brothers were going for. It’s a tasty bit of nostalgia.