What kind of guy does it take to beat down Arnold Schwarzenegger in the prime of the muscleman’s career? Someone that may not look altogether terrifying, that is until he has you in his sights and you suddenly realize you are f*cked. The actor that was ably equipped to take that on is Robert Patrick when he was hired on as the T-1000 in the James Cameron’s classic TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY. Compared to the bigger and buffer Schwarzenegger, lean and mean Patrick didn’t seem like much of a threat. That is until you saw that the dude had some serious acting chops, even in a role such as this with very little dialogue. You could tell there was something going on with this young actor. Thankfully, T2 started him off in what would be a very long career through sci-fi, action, drama and whatever the hell else he wanted to do.
Since Patrick has a lengthy resume as you can tell from his IMDB page, it is near impossible to narrow down a select few of his performances that stand out. Thankfully this is Arrow in the Head so we can steer towards his genre specific work and believe me there is a ton of it (sorry if I miss a favorite of yours). There is one underrated film however that seems to get forgotten about due to its more subtle exploration of alien abduction. Anybody remember the 1993 film FIRE IN THE SKY? If you don’t, it is definitely worth checking out. Besides the rough and rugged Patrick, the film also stars D.B. Sweeney, Peter Berg, Craig Sheffer and Henry Thomas. Based on a supposedly true story, FIRE tells of a group of friends ordeal after one of them is abducted by aliens. The cinematic telling of this is especially creepy, and Patrick is damn terrific as one of the guys blamed for the disappearance.
Throughout the 90’s Patrick worked… All the time! Yet aside from possibly DOUBLE DRAGON in 1994, STRIPTEASE with Demi Moore in 1996 and COP LAND with Sly Stallone in 1997, the actor seemed to be appearing in a number of flicks that could barely catch a spark. Then in 1998, he joined a solid ensemble in another cool alien thriller, this time more body snatchers than abduction. THE FACULTY also starred Elijah Wood, Jordana Brewster, Salma Hayek, Clea DuVall and a slew of other awesome folks. Directed by Robert Rodriguez – with screenplay credit going to Kevin Williamson – this creature feature once again proved how insanely badass Mr. Patrick could be as Coach Joe Willis. It’s been awhile since I visited THE FACULTY, but I’d be very curious to see how well it holds up.
While Patrick was no stranger to television thanks to his work on the animated series “The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest” in 1996 – 1997 as well as a handful of episodes back in 2000 of “The Sopranos”, he was about to face a whole new group of fans. “The X-Files” was changing as both Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny were looking for bigger and better things. Thankfully, Patrick became a series regular in 2000 up until 2002 as John Doggett. As much a fan I was of this cultishly clever series, by the time Patrick had joined in along with Annabeth Gish, I had moved on from my beloved show. However there is always time to return and I’m willing to bet that Patrick and Gish would have been worth sticking around for.
The man, the myth, the legend – and of course the T-1000 – has had an amazing career. Yet it was in the 2000’s that it seems he really found himself as a major character actor. From feature film like CHARLIE’S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE in 2003, LADDER 49 in 2004, WALK THE LINE in 2005, FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS in 2006 and the list goes on and on and on. The actor even continued to work in television as well where he continued to impress with his amazing talent, and his intensely gritty charisma. Hell, he even showed up in the low-budget horror flick THE BLACK WATER’S OF ECHOES POND in 2009 and he was pretty f*cking good. It’s always nice to see somebody find success in other genre’s yet still grace all of the horror fans with their presence every once in a while.
You have to respect a career that can move from one medium to another and that is exactly what Patrick has done for a long time now. While it may not be horror or science fiction, I have to mention his work on the CBS series “The Unit.” While the show may not have been perfect, he was wonderfully cast as Colonel Tom Ryan and as a fan of David Mamet, it wasn’t too shabby for CBS. The series began in 2006 and took a leave of absence in 2009. However he didn’t stray too far with his next television series, the short lived 2012 - 2013 series LAST RESORT. As Master Chief Joseph Prosser he continued to take charge in a way that only this brute force of a fellow can.
Truth be told you could easily argue that Robert Patrick hasn’t gone anywhere and there is no need to cover him in a column called “Where in the Horror has he gone?” but what the hell! It has been a blast looking back at his career and coming to the realization that he has really taken off as of late. Hell, this year alone he has appeared in IDENTITY THIEF, GANGSTER SQUAD and the upcoming LOVELACE which I will be checking out when I return from Comic Con. So clearly Robert Patrick hasn’t gone anywhere.
For all of you “True Blood” fans out there - which sadly I am not one – he appeared on nine episodes in 2012 – 2013. On the show he plays Jackson Herveaux and I’m willing to wager the dude is rocking it. That may not whet the appetite of all genre fans myself included, but at least he continues to step into the wonderful world of horror and science fiction. Next up the actor will be starring opposite Alex Pettyfer in the remake of the Brooke Shields – Martin Hewitt teen romance ENDLESS LOVE scheduled for a 2014 release. As well he will be appearing in UNDISCOVERED GYRL possibly later this year. I’d love to see Patrick somehow be a part of the next TERMINATOR film, but if not, at least he doesn’t seem to have any intention of slowing down. Robert Patrick is the ultimate badass and I’m pleased as punch to see the guy work as much as he continues to do.
Do you need more Robert Patrick in your life? You can follow him on Twitter and this I can highly recommend!