Reel Bad Dudes: Sergeant Deke DaSilva – NIGHTHAWKS (1981)

Chase Whale

by: Chase Whale
July 4th, 2011

I've been toying with the name Reel Bad Dudes for a little over two years now. Conversing back and forth with Micah from Reel Distraction and GATW's horror guru, Damon Swindall, we started a WordPress and Twitter, reviewing genre-based movie's by rating them with the number of "s's" in Badass, scaling out of 10. That kind of came and went and later I thought it would be fun to do a RBD podcast but nobody really had any time. Finally I figured out the Reel Bad Dudes niche. When I moved to Austin where everyone loves badass cinema, I learned that the movie enthusiasts here love watching and talking about the same films I grew up watching - and finally, the definitive idea of Reel Bad Dudes was born. Now we're turning Reel Bad Dudes into a bi-monthly tribute to our favorite badasses in cinema. We hope you enjoy.

Since today is July 4th, or Blow Shit Up For America Day, we figured the best way to kick this series off is by saluting an american hero in cinema who takes on an international terrorist. After narrowing it down to a few characters, I decided my first entry in the Reel Bad Dudes collection is NIGHTHAWKS' Sergeant Deke DaSilva, played by a young, fit, and very bearded Sylvester Stallone.

DaSilva is one tough cop who makes up his rules as he goes and is resistant to others except for his partner-in-justice, Sergeant Matthew Fox (Billy Dee Williams). DaSilva is also a badass who will go to great lengths to catch his criminals and has zero concern how he looks in the process. In the first ten minutes of the opening scene, DaSilva is dressed in drag chasing down a would-be purse snatcher. When cornering, our thief pulls out a knife and DaSilva taunts him by repeating, "cut me, badass."

DaSilva finally meets his match when international terrorist Wulfgar (Rutger Hauer in his first American feature film) crosses over to American soil to wreck some shit. He's smooth, likes to party and smother beautiful women with compliments and a pillow. Embedded below is one of the most intense scenes in the film, where DaSilva first sees Wulgar in a popular nightclub. With The Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar" blaring in the background, our two rivals stare down one another for close to three minutes.

A lot of work went into making this film. It took two directors and a day of Stallone sitting in the director's chair to complete the film, which caused a temporary fuss with the Director's Guild. This was Stallone's first role as a cop, so it's fitting that he paroled the streets with the New York Street Crime Unit to better understand his character, making DaSilva a Reel Bad Dude.

Hat tip to Noah Segan for recommending this film to me.

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  • Mestizo1972!

    Good to see such a forgotten Sly film make the first character profile. Could have been so easy to go the Rambo route.
    I’ll be checking in to see how the rest of your posts develop.
    Ps. I’m reading this from Australia.

    • Chase Whale


      We’re going to do our best to showcase a lot of hidden gems out there.

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