Rutger Hauer: Goodbye to the Best Bad Guy Ever…

I think I first encountered Rutger Hauer in the movie Nighthawks, but of course we all remember him as Roy in Bladerunner and as the ill-fated captain of the guard in Ladyhawke who got to act alongside one of the most beautiful women in show business, Michelle Pfeiffer.  I remember several sort of B-movies that he starred in, including something where he was fighting battles next to an Asian woman, but those were probably the lean years.

Most Memorable Roles:

Roy in Blade Runner – His character was a real study in contrasts, full of a particular sort of bonhomie, but with a blade ready to cut you if you didn’t do what he wanted.  His performance showed immense range, from pleading with his victims, to cold rage, careless homicide and finally a level of compassion for the human he could have killed that surprised us all.

His most memorable moment came when he was doing the final scene on the roof where he spares Decker’s life, and he utters a few lines that stand out in their intensity much like the glittering c-beams he opined about:

I’ve seen things, you people wouldn’t believe, hmm … Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion … I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate … All those moments, will be lost in time like tears in rain…

Captain Navarre in LadyHawke – This was a more human role than the one in Blade Runner, in all the most important aspects, love, loss, acceptance, hope, desire, fatalism, revenge and finally justice.  His portrayal of the fallen and exiled ex-captain of the guard who wanders the wilderness living as a man by day and a wolf by night is both haunting and somehow quite believable.

His seeming acceptance of his fate of being damned to a half-life that keeps him from his one true love is like a lion who is waiting his time, and suddenly he explodes in a scene into the fullness of the man he really is.  A masterful performance, and one that simply guaranteed his place in the acting world.

So long, Rutger, Roy, Etienne, you leave behind a great legacy of memorable and well-acted roles.  Rest well.

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