In the wake of the passing last week of famed actor Rutger Hauer, there’s been a consciousness for one to revisit his work again, or at best discuss his long and expansive career. While most people would be wont to mention the arguable apex of his career with the apocalyptic classic Blade Runner, the film that he did right before it, Nighthawks, is another standout, albeit extremely underrated and one that introduced him to American audiences.
Nighthawks, originally released in mid 1981, is a crime thriller starring Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams as two NYC cops on a hunt for a global terrorist (chillingly played by Hauer), who has already made his explosive mark in his native town of London and is now firmly entrenched in the teeming metropolis that is New York City. The movie took its cues from the classic gritty inner city cop films of the previous decade, like The French Connection, Dirty Harry, Serpico and others, still holds up today, and in a way, is even more harrowing, mirror image of today’s society than ever.
Rutger Hauer, the Dutch wunderkind of an actor whose steely intensity made his presence unforgettable in films like Blade Runner, Nighthawks, and other challenging projects, died on July 19 2019 at his home in the Netherlands after a short illness, per Variety. He was 75.
The blond-haired actor with piercing blue eyes was a force majure on screens big and small. There was always an expected nervousness he gave the viewer when playing characters, there was always a wonderful unsettling feeling he gave to the energy of whatever might have been going on in a picture, and his magnetism went toe to toe with screen stalwarts like Harrison Ford in Blade Runner and Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams in the underrated crime yarn Nighthawks.