Blood, Androids & Bigger Guns - A Rutger Hauer Retrospective

Rutger Hauer has passed.  The prolific actor who defined genre character work transcended classification by carving out his own niche within the industry.  If you grew up in the '80s and '90s and consumed late night cable delights, Hauer was a formative part of your cinematic education.  A towering blond with unforgettable presence, Hauer drifted in and out of blockbusters and B movies for the duration of his legendary career.  What follows is a journey through some of his (in)famous roles and esoteric films.  While the grief of his death may never truly pass, the adoration of his fans and celebrations of his remarkable contributions to film and the world are bright reminders of his immortal legacy.  

The Blood of Heroes 

One of the forgotten films of '80s, this cult cinematic jewel turned the post-apocalyptic genre on its head with a story about a team of athletes vying for fame and fortune in The Game.  Hauer stars as the veteran of the team, fallen from grace.  The chemistry between the heroes is especially of import, particularly Hauer and screen legend Joan Chen.  

Blind Fury 

Arguably Hauer's most "fun" role, it was also one of his most challenging.  Featuring a veritable who's who of '80s character actors, thrilling swordplay, and a genuine heartfelt script, this is an excellent starting place for someone looking to explore Hauer's filmography.  

Blade Runner 

Hauer’s memorable rebel android Batty has the honor of the film’s most memorable dialogue and his precious screen time with Ford is outstanding, perfectly summarizing the gargantuan concepts preceding the finale with verbal poetry uncommon to a picture such as this.  Hauer’s blazing white hair and piercing eyes overshadow his towering physique, presenting him as a fallen angel, an outsider looking for acceptance who understands the evils of the world who will never him embrace him.  

Wanted: Dead or Alive 

One of many films that attempted to recapture the Rambo zeitgeist, this is pure violent excess.  The magic, aside from Gene Simmons woefully miscast as a terrorist leader, is watching Hauer chew the scenery in virtually every sequence, particularly the pitch perfect finale.  

Split Second 

An absolutely ludicrous neo-noir Alien rip off, Split Second is also a wonderful example of world building and production design.  Hauer embodies detective Harley Stone (yes, that's his name) with his usual panache, but its his chemistry with Alistair Duncan that sets this one ahead of the pack, coupled with the infamous "Bigger Guns" line.  


Vintage Hauer.  The haunted, lone swordsman at odds with the world and himself.  Ladyhawke divisive upon its release, but sterling performances and outright beautiful cinematography have allowed the film to remain a centerpiece of '80s fantasy films. 

The Hitcher 

Eric Red struggled to get his dangerous script produced for years.  The final result is both a terrifying experience and Hauer's greatest performance.  Nihilism stains every scene, with Hauer's malevolent John Ryder serving as the murderous eye of the storm.  

 Hobo with a Shotgun

A masterwork of exploitation, this is the height of Hauer's total commitment to a role.  This is both a throwback to the days of grindhouse and a celebration of a time when creativity and rebellion were the most important commodities in Hollywood.  Be warned: Despite the premise, this is not for the faint of heart. 

Flesh and Blood

Paul Verhoeven's charming historical epic is anchored by Hauer's leading role as Martin.   Telling the story of mercenaries, love triangles, and various duplicities, Flesh and Blood has achieved cult status over the years since its release.  


A 1996 straight to DVD affair, this is another perfect example of Hauer's timelessness, and perhaps also a sobering reminder of his typecasting during the height of his career.  Hauer stars as yet another tragic adventurer, however he's having so much fun it doesn't matter.  His performance, and the "this would never get made" cheesy goodness of late the 20th century Blockbuster science fiction shelves. 

--Kyle Jonathan