The world lost an action icon this week with passing of legendary Patrick Swayze, who had been battling pancreatic cancer since 2008. As we mourn his death, we thought we'd take a look back at his career as a certifiable badass. Some may remember him for his dance moves in DIRTY DANCING, or his pottery-style love-making in GHOST, but for us here at AITH, we remember The Swayze for his roles as the action hero in a few action classics we've since featured here on REEL ACTION, specifically RED DAWN (1984), ROAD HOUSE (1989), and POINT BREAK (1991).
READ THE RA REVIEW HERE
After busting on the scene with THE OUTSIDERS, The Swayze took a turn with some real action in John Milius' RED DAWN, about what would happen if Commies attacked Colorado, and only a group of High School kids hiding out in the mountains were up to the job of saving the day.
The Swayze portrayed Jed, the oldest of the kids and the obvious choice as the group's leader. He was cool, he was collected, and when the shit hit the fan, he was out there fighting fire with fire. He lead the group of teens to not only surivive alone in the wilderness, but to fight back, kill some Russian / Cuban scum, and claim victory.
Only a guy with the charisma of The Swayze could have led the likes of Charlie Sheen and C. Thomas Howell into the bowels of combat hell and come out on top. This was The Swayze's first taste of action, a taste that he wouldn't be able to shake, thus changing the future of his film career forever.
Trailer for RED DAWN
READ THE RA REVIEW HERE
A few years later, after becoming a superstar with the success of DIRTY DANCING, The Swayze returned to action with one of his most memorable and iconic characters to date: Dalton in 1989's ROAD HOUSE. The Swayze proved that action hero's could be lovers and fighters, that with a set of ground rules an action hero could fight with words, and if it becomes absolutely necessary, you can throw down and f*ck sh*t up.
The Swayze's portrayal of Dalton gave the world a new kind of badass. One with good looks, an appeal to the ladies, and one that can rock a black T-shirt while busting out a spin-kick with tight jeans and some cowboy boots. He was into Thai-Chi, and reading literature. And he wasn't afraid of taking on the riff-raff head on. He was loyal to his employer, his friends, and he always treated the ladies with respect. He was an action hero with more than one dimension, one that had the muscles to pack the punch, and the brains to back it up. In essence, Datlon was the f*ckin' man!
From my original RA review of ROAD HOUSE: "The Swayze will forever be known as Dalton, the no-shit taking bar bouncer who will go down in history books for being a legendary badass."
Quote from the Arrow's DVD review of ROAD HOUSE is featured on the film's Special Edition DVD.
Trailer for ROAD HOUSE
READ THE RA REVIEW HERE
The Swayze was now a bonafide superstar, and followed ROAD HOUSE with NEXT OF KIN (great movie), and a little movie called GHOST, which not only made a shitload of money, but launched The Swayze into cinematic history forever. At this point, The Swayze could've picked any role he wanted... so he went with another action movie, an action movie that beats most (if not all) action movies... Kathryn Bigelow's POINT BREAK!
How do you follow up such a badass character like Dalton? You take on a guy like Bodhi, an adrenaline junkie, a surfer messiah, the man everyone looks up to, and one with a 5 o'clock shadow and a mop of hair like no other. The Swayze's Bodhi was a different direction than Dalton, but in some ways he was the same. He kicked ass when he needed to, but most importantly, he was loyal to his friends, to the earth, and the things he believed in. And he could f*ck sh*t up with the drop of a dime.
Bodhi may have been the film's "villain," but I never saw him that way. He was the father figure, the leader of the pack, the guy who's so cool that you not only want to hang around him all the time, but you want to be him. He was wise beyond his years, and when it came to using a shotgun, a make-shift flame-thrower, jumping out of airplanes, riding giant waves, or throwing pit-bulls at Keanu Reeves while in a hot pursuit, he did it with such ease that, once again, The Swayze gave the world another character for us action fans to latch onto.
you gotta be prepared to pay the ultimate price."
Trailer for POINT BREAK
The Swayze later rocked the house with roles in BLACK DOG and DONNIE DARKO, but he will always be remembered for his portrayal of stand-up characters, characters that were likable and badass, and characters who knew how to throw a punch and kick some ass. The world suffered a great loss with the departure of Patrick Swayze, so show some respect for the man and celebrate his life with these superior action flicks.
Words I try to live by every day.
Thank you Dalton, you will be missed.