Deke DaSilva (Sylvester Stallone) and Matthew Fox (Billy Dee Williams) are two undercover NYPD street cops who get enlisted into an elite anti-terrorism squad by Interpol agent Peter Hartman (Nigel Davenport) when murderous German terrorist Heymar Reinhardt – known as “Wulfgar ” (Rutger Hauer in his first American feature film) – shows up to hold New York hostage.
Wulfgar is a psychopath who has blown up London’s prestigious department store, Harrods, and fallen out of favour with his terrorist bosses because many children were killed in the blast. After undergoing plastic surgery, he has shifted his operation to NYC.
Meanwhile, DaSilva is having trouble at home and at work. His ex-wife, Irene (Lindsay Wagner) refuses to try reconciliation and he is at loggerheads with agent Hartman on how to best hunt down Wulfgar and his equally ruthless compatriot Shakka (Persis Khambatta).
While the New York cops receive a quickie crash course in anti-terrorist techniques, Wulfgar is busy picking up young women at discos. What better way for a terrorist to relax after a hard day’s pyrotechnics?
He moves in with air hostess Pam (Hilarie Thompson) but when she gets wise to his line of business she is swiftly dispatched. But Wulfgar carelessly leaves behind an important clue.
From that moment on, the pace is exhilarating with various twists and turns calculated to wring out every drop of tension.
Some of the dialogue is superficial, certain plot elements make little sense and Bruce Malmuth’s direction is a bit stiff but – though vastly flawed – Nighthawks is terrifically suspenseful.
Billy Dee Williams
Wulfgar (Heymar Reinhardt)
E. Brian Dean
Einar Perry Scott