So we didn't get a 'Semi-Obscure Action Star of the Week' last Wednesday since I was out of town, but lucky for you guys I'm bringin' it twice as hard this week, unveiling a post on one of the greatest super-obscure action stars of all time.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...
Most of you are probably familiar with Don's slightly better-known brother Patrick (who we are all rooting for in his ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer), but Donald Carl Swayze has actually had a long and illustrious film and television career as well. For instance, did you know that Don has appeared in episodes of Hunter (in 1989), Renegade (1993), Murder, She Wrote (1991 and 1993), and Matlock (1989)? Because he did.
And that's just in TV!!!
Don has also starred in several low-budget action flicks, such as 1991's Edge of Honor (with Corey Feldman!), Forced To Kill (1993), Payback (1990), and Eye of the Stranger (1993), whose tagline sells itself: "A terrifying secret. An unforgiven past. If he can't get justice... He'll take revenge!"
Due to his rough appearance and redneck demeanor, Don has been cast in several "dirtbag"-type roles (see Money To Burn, left), which only adds to his tough-guy mystique. His 5 O'clock shadow and majestic mullet might have kept him from playing "leading man"-type roles, but he's much more at home playing bikers, bouncers and backwoods warriors.
Of particular interest is Mr. Swayze's run of nepotism-based action films in the early 90's, in which he often co-starred with actors such as Mike Norris (son of Chuck) and Chad McQueen (son of Steve). All three actually appeared together in 1992's Death Ring (right), a film whose "humans-being-hunted-for-sport" premise was ripped off two years later in the Ice-T vehicle Surviving The Game.
But much like Nicholas Cage (aka Nicholas Coppola), Don never used his family connections for personal gain. In fact, the first time that he ever shared the screen with his brother is in the film Powder Blue, set for release in 2009 and co-starring Forrest Whitaker, Ray Liotta, and Jessica Biel.
Trailer for Powder Blue (Don pops up as a bouncer at about the 0:55 mark, but all in all this movie doesn't look so great.):
Special mention must also be given to Don's co-starring role in the 1989 film Trapper County War (above, directed by Worth Keeter), in which he plays a shotgun-toting redneck harassing a couple of city boys in the North Carolina countryside. This movie is quite possible Don Swayze's finest hour, and I must recommend it wholeheartedly to any cinephile. I couldn't find even one review for this film anywhere, but you can read up about it on Rotten Tomatoes and then buy it here.
Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to find a video of Don Swayze kicking anyone's ass on YouTube, but here's the trailer for Forced To Kill, in which he can be seen throwing a girl over his shoulder and then, um, kissing her ass at the 0:40 mark:
Added bonus: A couple shots of the Brothers Swayze, havin' a goof in the costume shop on the set of Powder Blue.
Next week: DONALD GIBB!