John Enos III
I will give props to Lundgren, who’s been actively writing and directing his own movies for the past few years. I actually thought his last venture, THE RUSSIAN SPECIALIST, was pretty good. Sadly, MISSIONARY MAN was thoroughly average. It’s your traditional “tough guy comes to clean up a corrupt town” story without much wavering from the Direct To Video formula. It’s very low budget with a simple story and not much of a script. (Lundgren especially has minimal dialogue.) It did have a very western vibe to it that I enjoyed though. Lundgren doesn’t bother giving the hero some useless, convenient backstory; he’s just a spiritual dude who shows up to do what we paid to see…kick bad guy ass. In fact, story-wise it feels very similar to Clint Eastwood’s PALE RIDER (the main character is even named Ryder); so similar that I think it’s less “coincidence” and more “tribute” to a genre Lundgren obviously respects.
The film starts off a bit slow and takes its time with its characters. But once it kicks in to high gear towards the end, there’s still some fun to be had. (Best line: “I’m going to ask you to beg the good Lord’s forgiveness, but not before I take this knee and break that nose.”) Even at 50, Lundgren is still in great shape and still quite the badass. The final show down is nice and violent, with the hero being a one man assault force against an entire motorcycle gang. It also features one of the best executed kills I’ve seen in a long time.
MISSIONARY MAN is not a bad movie; it’s just a very familiar DTV one. Still, it’s definitely better than anything Steven Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Wesley Snipes or Chuck Norris have done in the past five years.
Some Previews, including a serious Awfully Good contender called ZOMBIE STRIPPERS.
Extra Tidbit: Dolph Lundgren has a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering and was later accepted to MIT on a Fulbright Scholarship. Dolph Lundgren speaks five languages and reportedly has an IQ of 160. Dolph Lundgren is smarter than you, me and your mother combined.