There are a lot of fantastic old school actors out there , such as Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, and many many more. They have brought us a lot of classics, and they still work in the movie industry to bring us more quality films. Then there are actors, who are true legends, and i am especially thinking about one iconic actor who changed the world with his characters. I am of course talking about Rutger Hauer, who recently passed away. When i got the news, i felt so sad. Rutger Hauer was a big part of my childhood, and i used to buy every film i could find with him on VHS, even in my teenage years. I still keep the VHS tapes with his films, and i have some titles on DVD and on Blu Ray as well. When i think back at some of my favourite Rutger Hauer films, i have so many titles to choose between. I think he was excellent in the action film Nighthawks as a terrorist, being chased by Sylvester Stallone. Directed by Bruce Malmuth, this film is a real old school treat for 80´s nostalgia fans. Who can forget his performance in Ridley Scott´s cult classic Blade Runner, released in 1982. Rutger played the replicant character Roy Batty. I don´t think Blade Runner would have turned out to be such a cult classic, without the fantastic performance from Rutger Hauer. As i Heard the news about Rutger Hauer passed away, i started to think that i should do a memory review for him. And when i went through all the films he made, i felt that The Hitcher would be perfect. A cult classic from 1986, that is still today considered to be one of the best films in his career. I have not seen this film for probably 10 years, so it was time to see if i would enjoy this film as much as i used to. Is it possible that The Hitcher still is entertaining, or has this film aged a lot over the years ?
Jim Halsey ( C. Thomas Howell ) is delivering a car from Chicago to San Diego. He spots a man hitchhiking in the West Texas and decide to pick him up. The hitchhiker´s name is John Ryder ( Rutger Hauer ). It becomes pretty clear that John is strange. When they pass an abandoned car on the highway, John hit Jim´s leg, to keep going. When Jim ask questions, it becomes clear that there is something wrong with John who begin to threaten him. Jim manage to kick out John out of the car, and is happy to be free. But further down the highway, a family have picked up John, offering him a ride. It seems that John have chosen Jim to play with, and he won´t stop until everything ends the way he planned.
One of the things that strikes me about The Hitcher, is how effective this film is, both as an action film and a horror film. You could say that this is a film that mix different genres into each other, and is really well constructed. The desert areas match perfect with the action scenes, and having a serial killer on the loose makes this film even more effective, when Rutger Hauer gives such a strong performance as John Ryder. Let´s get into the characters a bit more. C. Thomas Howell ( who i especially remember from the 1986 comedy Soul Man ) did his best performance in his career in The Hitcher as the character Jim Halsey. Thomas really goes deep into his character, and he makes sure that you feel connected with him on his horrible journey. I mentioned the performance of Rutger Hauer earlier, but it is important to say that this is one of the performances that i will always remember in his amazing career. Rutger does not only know how to act as a serial killer, he also knows how to say the dialogue in a certain way that only he can do. His facial expressions, his way to play with John Ryders emotions and clearly have no emotions about what he does. The scene where Jim asks serial killer John why he is doing this to him, and he answeres very cold:- You´re a smart kid....figure it out, is so effective. Actress Jennifer Jason Leigh is also in this film as the character Nash, who helps Jim. Even if this is not the best performance i have seen her do, i still feel she does a good job with her character. One of the things that The Hitcher does well, is delivering great looking action scenes on the desert highway. You can feel the rush, as Jim is trying to find a way out of this hell. Director Robert Harmon ( who directed the Jean-Claude Van Damme classic Nowhere To Run ) made this film special, in the sense that he knows how to give us a brutal but effective serial killer story, and combine this with some very powerful action scenes. The Hitcher will always be one of the 80´s cult films that will live on for many generations, and especially fans of Rutger Hauer. This is a must have on DVD or Blu Ray, and a perfect Christmas gift to the whole family this Christmas. Because let´s be honest, who would not want John Ryder cutting the Turkey at the Christmas table ?