Review: I AM PATRICK SWAYZE Is A Shallow Tribute To A Great Actor’s Legacy


Though it isn't as impactful as it should be, I Am Patrick Swayze is nonetheless a nice tribute to an extremely talented actor who was taken too soon.
Entertainment Value
Technical Merit

The newest documentary in Paramount Network’s I Am series, I Am Patrick Swayze, focuses on the legendary actor of Dirty Dancing, Ghost, and Road House fame. A touching, if shallow and sometimes overly sentimental celebration of a talent gone too soon, this documentary is made for fans of the actor or any of his aforementioned films.

If you are aware of Swayze and his body of work, then you will likely also be familiar with his story. He began as a ballet dancer, made his way into acting, and then passed away at a young age from cancer. Although the end to his story is certainly tragic, the things he was able to accomplish and the impact he made on the people around him are moving and wonderful. The movie focuses on these aspects of Swayze’s story, and you will be left wishing he were still around to see this tribute.

However, you can’t help but feel like this film could have been something more. After his diagnosis, Swayze became a very vocal activist supporting cancer research. Yet the movie only spends ten or so minutes on the last part of his life. Although it is understandable why the filmmakers would want to emphasize his career and personality, this documentary could have served as a valuable tool to increase awareness of a terrible disease.

Additionally, the film doesn’t feel like it goes deep enough into Swayze’s personal life, simply providing a cursory glance over his biographical information. At many points in the movie, it will seem like there is more to the story than is being shown, and frequently there is. Although anecdotes from his family members and people who worked with him give us an illusion of closeness to Swayze, this illusion does not hold up under scrutiny.

i am patrick swayze road house
Patrick Swayze / Credit:

Because of these reasons, the film doesn’t have the full emotional impact that it should. Of course, by the end of the movie, you will admire Swayze if you didn’t already, and you will be sad that he is no longer with us, but this film simply isn’t as heartbreaking as other recent tribute documentaries. You will be entertained and informed, but the likelihood of being caught teary-eyed, unlike other entries in the I Am series, is slim.

The movie’s use of interviews also comes with mixed success. Those interviews with Swayze’s family members, such as his widow or his brother, are most impactful because they feel the most personal. Interviews with other Hollywood figures, Swayze’s co-stars, aren’t as effective. Swayze’s Youngblood co-star Rob Lowe is featured prominently in the documentary, yet adds very little to the film’s narrative.

On a technical level, the documentary is well-made but unmemorable. Director Adrian Buitenhuis’s style is straightforward and traditional. Buitenhuis is able to convey the story, but not in a way that will stick with you long after watching the movie. Ultimately, this film serves as a nice way to remind people of Swayze’s legacy, and little else.

It isn’t the best or most in-depth documentary paying respect to a lost talent, but I Am Patrick Swayze is an all-around solid movie that allows fans the chance to reminisce about the life and career of the great actor. One day, Swayze’s story will be told in the way that he deserves, but this will do for now.

I Am Patrick Swayze airs on the Paramount Network on August 18 at 9pm ET/PT.


Silicon Valley: PiperNet Final Build Party (Season 6 Episode 7 Clip) | HBO

Spoiler alert: Richard is in the cake. #HBO #SiliconValleyHBO Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: From Mike Judge (Office Space, Beavis & Butthead) comes this tech-savvy satire about programmer Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch), whose game-changing compression algorithm becomes the subject of a valley-wide bidding war. Silicon Valley is available to stream now on Get…

What To Watch In January | Netflix

What To Watch In January | Netflix Drama - 00:15 Comedy - 02:12 Family - 03:58 Non-Fiction - 05:15 Anime - 06:44 SUBSCRIBE: About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety…

Katy Keene | New Name | Season Trailer | The CW

Katy Keene premieres Thursday, February 6 on The CW! Stream free next day only on The CW App. SUBSCRIBE: About KATY KEENE: Fashion legend-to-be Katy Keene (Lucy Hale), singer/songwriter Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray), performer Jorge Lopez/Ginger, and “It Girl” Pepper Smith — as they chase their twenty-something dreams in New York City…together. Connect with…

Little Fires Everywhere – Date Announcement (Official) • A Hulu Original

ABOUT LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE: Based on Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestseller, Little Fires Everywhere follows the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and an enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. The story explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger in…

Supernatural | Season 15 Episode 9 | The Trap Promo | The CW

Stream new episodes of Supernatural Fridays, free only on The CW App: SUBSCRIBE: About SUPERNATURAL: The thrilling and terrifying journey of the Winchester brothers continues as SUPERNATURAL enters its thirteenth season. Sam and Dean have spent their lives on the road, battling supernatural threats that include everything from the demon that killed their…

Space & Separation: MARRIAGE STORY Production Designer Jade Healy

MARRIAGE STORY is filmmaker Noah Baumbach's portrait of a marriage breaking up and a family staying together. The film stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta co-star with an original score from Randy Newman. Production Designer Jade Healy explores ideas of space and separation, limbo and new beginnings and…

Dynasty | Season 3 Episode 9 | The Caviar, I Trust, Is Not Burned Promo | The CW

Stream new episodes of Dynasty Saturdays, free only on The CW App: SUBSCRIBE: About DYNASTY: Fallon Carrington is charismatic, cunning, and poised to become the new COO of her father’s global energy empire – or so she thinks. When her father, Blake Carrington, summons Fallon and her brother, Steven, home in Atlanta, Fallon…

The Outsider: Invitation to the set | HBO

Stephen King and members of the cast and crew share what viewers can expect from The Outsider. Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King, The Outsider premieres January 12 at 9pm on HBO. #HBO #TheOutsiderHBO Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: Don’t have HBO? Order Now: Get More HBO: Get HBO GO:…
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here