In life, there are often enemies that one cannot prepare for, see, or fight against, even after you understand you’re in a battle not just to win, but to live.
This week, we revel in the life and career of Patrick Swayze, a fallen on and off-screen soldier, who took an imposed 4-month death sentence, and turned it into almost 2 years of life that sealed the deal on a legacy full of integrity, memorable roles and scenes that will continue to push the envelope of television and cinema for many years to come.
Swayze started his acting career 30 years ago in a little film called Skatetown U.S.A. – tearing up the hardwood with white ball-bearinged wheels, a black leather outfit and a belt ready to smackdown each and every opponent who dared cross his path. His final career crescendo, the A&E TV series The Beast, showcased Swayze as a wayward FBI agent harnessing rage and righteousness to make the world a better place: the sweet irony is that both in real life, and on the small and silver screens, Patrick Swayze did just that.
We at Screen Rant are proud to take you on a journey of outstanding entertainment experiences, courtesy of a gone-too-soon actor that will be remembered for a long time. Please read on below as we remember the celluloid life (beyond Ghost and Dirty Dancing) of Patrick Wayne Swayze.
Ahh, the perfect zen of starting a listing of great Swayze performances with a film that includes the word, “uncommon.” This 1983 action/drama/thriller featured a very young, fit, determined marine named Kevin Scott, who tries valiantly to get a collected team of past-their-prime misfits into shape to rescue comrades left behind. The mission? WIN. Period. It’s one of Swayze’s initial smaller performances that becomes a piece of exquisite fabric as he joins an all-star cast, and it is not to be missed.
In 1984, The Cold War was ablaze. All sides were talking about the threat of invasion and mutually assured destruction and in my freshman year, high school was literally invaded by military paratroopers – in the movie Red Dawn. Swayze played Jed, the eldest of two experienced outdoorsman brothers. He leads a team of invasion survivors/saboteurs called “WOLVERINES” who resist the collective invasion of America. It’s truly some of the strongest acting in his career. The realization of knowing that you’re seeing your father for the last time – ever; The anguish of having to execute a previous best friend-turned traitor – but not being able to pull the trigger; The passion for explaining why people must die because they’ve chosen to invade your home, and the endearing final shot where a soldier realizes a larger brotherhood exists. They are probably the strongest memories I have of when I was a teenager and they live on in me. I only hope I too can convey their meaning in articles like this and more.
NORTH AND SOUTH
It’s not every man’s dream to use the word “smitten” inside an action hero’s book-turned-television series, but audiences were at least as smitten with Swayze’s portrayal as Orry, in the 1985-86 epic mini-series North and South. The confidence and achievement conveyed in this role of a man instantly “smitten” with a Juliet-like damsel in distress is an epic character for an actor that oozed honor. Swayze in period costume and long flowing locks in this series is something that will be remembered forever.
Does anyone think of a bar fight – ever – and not think of “Dalton” – Swayze’s alter-ego in 1989s Road House? Swayze’s penchant for being the lone man left to take on “the man” and his gang of goons is the true showcase of grace under pressure, letting loose at the perfect moment to levy justice, revenge and satisfaction for all movie-goers. The tearing of henchmen 13’s throat is of particularly satisfying note. Steven Segal should have been taking notes long ago on how to be a lone wolf amongst helpless lambs.