At the time of writing this I have just found out (and no doubt the world has also) that Patrick Swayze has just lost his battle with cancer, and this has more then likely spawned a whole cavalcade of remembrances and blog posts about his classic and most remembered films “Ghost” and “Dirty Dancing”. But I thought id take the time to be a little more unconventional and write about what I love about Swayze , because underneath the chick flicks (which still hold up amazingly to this day which doesn’t say much about the recent Hollywood tripe) there lay the heart of a beating action star. Come with me now as I throw you head first into the Swayze’s bar table of action brilliance, forever emulated but never beaten.
In 1984 Swayze stared in John Milius (of Conan the Barbarian fame) Red Dawn, based around an alternative reality where the communist ideals have taken root within America due to an economic crisis as a batch of High school teens who are behind enemy lines in the Arapaho national forest (the base of the Russian army) try to counter the home threat, calling themselves the Wolverines (which is the name of their school team).
This is a pretty good film if not defiantly a thought provoking action thriller, it does shy away from killing off its lead characters and asks the question what would you do if your home was invaded. Swayze stars as Jed Eckert who is sort of the unofficial leader of this rag tag band of firepower welding teen army.
Basically this is a more politically charged Rambo-esque thriller, and the first film to have Swayze and his future Dirty Dancing co-star Jennifer Gray in, there are some great bits in it, these are 2 of my favourites
Not a sequel to the above film but a post-apocalyptic mad max like action adventure, Swayze is Nomad, a wondering soul in a desolate waste land searching for the killer of his mentor. This is a great action adventure film particularly considering its directed by Missing in Action 2: The Beginning helmer Lance Hool, there is some great action sequences and if you have ever played Fallout 3, this is basically the film version. I tend to do this on a double bill with Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior both are enjoyable and contain similar elements but there is a certain charm that Swayze carries through the film (got to love the side somersault over an attacker) , check it out if have yet to see it, highly enjoyable and a little underrated.
This is where Swayze showed his complete badass side, brutal, unapologetic, bare knuckle mysticism. Here he stars as James Dalton a professional bouncer hired by club owner Frank Tilghman to run The Double Deuce bar in Missouri only problem being that the locals don’t take too kindly to Daltons presence. This is an absolutely brutal gem Swayze oozes testosterone in each scene, while being able to take down men twice his size. This is a classic 80’s action thriller and next to Point Break one of my favourite Swayze films, because I think like his character in Point Break there is a lot more to him, there is not an over reliance for the character to batter people , but focuses more on the spiritual side of himself and the attempt to find an inner peace which separates him from other 80’s action characters.
By far in my all time top 5 film list and certainly in my opinion one of the best action films which is again elevated by Swayzes performance as Bodhi, the surfing Zen master who robs banks with his cohorts as the Ex-Presidents , the FBI’s most wanted.
A truly great action film which shows great relationship between Swayzes Bodhi and Reeves Johnny Utah instead of each being police partners or brothers, but is a bit more spiritual so to speak. Top 5 on my all time list of films full stop long live Bodhi and his spiritual insight into surfing.
“Little hand says its time to rock and roll!!”