R.I.P. Rutger Hauer, as the news reaches us today that the Dutch actor has passed away at home, after a long illness, aged 75.
Although his iconic turn as replicant Roy Batty in Blade Runner will be his most remembered role, he had a great and varied filmography that is so much more than “C-Beams glitter [ing] in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.” That famous monologue, by the way, was unscripted and came from Hauer himself. Watch it below.
He always did it weird. The series of esoteric Guinness adverts he did in the ‘80s are still stuck in my head, and his performances in Wanted: Dead Or Alive and Split Second remain somewhat bizarre and yet still crazily watchable. But whether he was a corporate dirtbag in Batman Begins or a direct-to-video convict in Wedlock, Rutger Hauer’s name on the cast list was always a sure sign of quality.
As a villain, he turned in a memorable performance as the terrorist, Wulfgar, opposite Sylvester Stallone in Nighthawks, and terrified everyone who ever got behind the wheel of a car, as the unstoppable manic in Robert Harmon’s peerless road trip horror movie The Hitcher.
But there are two more shining gems in Hauer’s back catalogue. The post-apocalyptic sports movie Salute of the Jugger (a.k.a. The Blood of Heroes), shot in Australia, saw Hauer captain a rag-tag nomadic sports team to the championship finals in an underground citadel. The team is a nuclear-blasted version of American football using a dog’s skull instead of a ball. It is fantastic.
The other is Blind Fury. Updating the Japanese Zatoichi story to the modern-day U.S., Hauer played a blind Vietnam veteran and master swordsman going up against nefarious drug lords. A top-tier slice of 90s action comedy.
So, we’ll leave it to his most well known film to sign off, and my favourite line of his, from Blade Runner:
“I want more life, fucker”.
Don’t we all, Rutger. Rest In Power.