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Dissecting Actor Dolph Lundgren

Aug. 21, 2012by: Ammon Gilbert

"DOLPH LUNDGREN"


Buy THE EXPENDABLES here!

THE EXPENDABLES 2 just blew up audiences across the country with its collaboration of the worlds biggest action heroes assembled in one place. And out of all of the Expendables on board, from Sylvester Stallone to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the biggest stand-out to me in terms of performance was the one and only Dolph Lundgren. Coming back as a kinder, gentler, crazier, and funnier Gunner Jensen the second time around put a cheesy smile on my face every time he was on screen, so much so that it made me wish Lundgren had more movies released theatrically. The guy is about as talented as they come, and one of the hardest working dudes in the business: not only does he act, but he also produces, writes, and directs. Looking back at his career in films, one thing is apparent: Dolph Lundgren is f*cking awesome and is still the muscle-bound action hero of his youth.

BEST WORK


Buy UNIVERSAL SOLDIER here!

Lundgrens career kick-started in 1985 with A VIEW TO A KILL and more importantly, ROCKY IV. Over the last 27 years, the dude has starred in more than 40 films and it doesnt look like hes about to slow down. With that many roles under your belt, not all of them are winners, but theres one thing thats apparent to Lundgren: whether or not the film is good, he always delivers a rock solid performance. His best roles/movies range from his pulse-pounding beginning as Ivan Drago in ROCKY IV starring opposite Stallone, as a Russian boxer who kills Carl Weathers in the ring and just about takes Rocky out for good. Its because of Lundgrens strong, silent, and menacing performance that makes this ROCKY my favorite of the series. Finally, an opponent who you actually believe could have destroyed Rocky in the ring for good plus, who will ever forget his most famous line I must break you. Classic!

From there, Lundgren went on to some truly memorable movies, including the first big-screen adaptation of Marvel comic book hero Frank Castle in THE PUNISHER, a film thats flawed but fun, full of over-the-top action and Lundgren sporting jet-black hair. Even that early in his career, Lundgren excelled at playing the tortured soul hero that he plays so damn well. ARMY OF ONE and RED SCORPION also come to mind as some of his best and most memorable movies, as well as the so bad its good SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO alongside fellow ass-kicker Brandon Lee. Filled with enough gay innuendos to become a cult classic, it also shows a lighter side of Lundgren that we hadnt seen before, and (hopefully) a side where he wasnt afraid to laugh at himself (assuming he was in on all the unintentional jokes).

But unlike his fellow action heroes, Lundgren is just as memorable for his villain characters as he is his hero characters, most notably as GR13 in Roland Emmerichs UNIVERSAL SOLDIER starring opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme. On the one hand hes a unstoppable killing machine who acts more or less like a TERMINATOR-like robot as the Universal Soldier in question. But on the other hand, hes a plays a crazed Vietnam Sergeant who has lost his f*cking mind, going on a killing spree of insanity, thus allowing Lundgren to shine as an actor, as his character is both stiff and emotionless as well as totally over-the-top bonkers. And being a hulking mass of muscle helps make him even more menacing and intimidating, especially as he towers over JCVDs small frame.

One last note of greatness: THE PUNISHER. Many agree that Lundgrens take on Frank Castle is as close to the comics as you can get and is incredibly satisfying as an action-packed movie. He sports the look, he rides a badass Harley, and theres an impressive body count.

WORST WORK


Buy IN THE NAME OF THE KING 2 here!

Just as likely as a plethora of good movies bound to happen with such a robust and staggering filmography, theres also bound to be a shit-ton of bad movies, and Lundgren is no stranger to making some stinkers. From HE-MAN to JOHNNY MNEMONIC, the guy isnt immune to starring in a shitty movie, even if the potential of said shitty movie is there. Who didnt want HE-MAN to be awesome? We all did. But goddamn is that movie lame. Same could also be said about JOHNNY MNEMOIC, as it was a techno-punk action flick starring the great Keanu Reeves. The potential for greatness was there, but alas it fell short and resulted in a rather unwatchable movie.

Lundgrens crapfest also continued in his streak of STD flicks, most notably SILENT TRIGGER, PENTATHALON, DIAMOND DOGS, and most recently IN THE NAME OF THE KING 2 (from director Uwe Boll). Whether its the lack of direction or overall weak storytelling, when a Lundgren movie is bad its really bad, and Bolls IN THE NAME OF THE KING 2 is probably up there as his worst. However, I will say this about bad Lundgren movies hes generally not bad in them! Sure, the movie may blow ass, but Lundgren usually gives a solid performance each and every time. Maybe you have to be a fan of the guy to really appreciate his work, but I have yet to see a really bad Lundgren performance. Hes that good even when his movies blow.

TRADEMARKS


Buy SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO here!

When you dive into a Lundgren vehicle, you know exactly what youre going to get. Hes the strong silent type, hes a ladies man, he knows how to throw a punch and kick some ass just as well as he knows how to pop a cap in a mother*cker. He has a hard edge about him that makes you take him a whole helluva lot seriouser than his EXPENDABLE colleagues in fact, he can downright scary when hes in a bad mood (which he usually is). Hiss blond hair, whether dirty or greasy, whether spiked or surfer-style, is always lookin cool they type of hair every dude which he had if he wasnt a fife thinking about other dudes hair.

Lundgren, because of his look and his accent, always plays a European, whether its a Swiss or a German, and because of the budgets of many of his films, a lot of them are also shot in Europe, giving them a slightly sophisticated look to them (if a little cheap). On top of all that, Lundgren is always a ladies man, maybe more than any other EXPENDABLE actor. When hes the star of the show, he gets laid like no other. Even in his fifiest movie (SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO) he was gettin a ton of action.

HIDDEN GEM


Buy COMMAND PERFORMANCE here!

A few years back he released a little movie called COMMAND PERFORMANCE, and while I doubt the majority of people know about this movie, its a f*cking fantastic action flick. Think DIE HARD at a rock concert and you have this flick. Lundgren, showing off his drumming skills, is in a band playing a huge concert when the amphitheater gets taken over by terrorists, its up to the f*cking drummer to save the day. Awesome action sequences, great one-liners, and Lundgren is tough as nails a true throwback to the classic 80s action movies of yesterday. And to top it all off, Lundgren not only starred in the flick but he WROTE and DIRECTED it as well. Its the quintessential Lundgren movie in the true sense of the word. If you havent checked out COMMAND PERFORMANCE yet, do it now. You wont be disappointed.

NEXT PROJECT


Buy ONE IN THE CHAMBER here!

Like any true STD action star, Lundgren has a ton of stuff coming out over the next year. Besides ONE IN THE CHAMBER (hitting video this week) co-starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., he also has SKIN TRADE and BATTLE OF THE DAMNED, both of which he was involved in the writing process on top of starring. And it doesnt look like the man will slow down anytime soon in terms of getting work and releasing entertaining action flicks. At the top of his COMING SOON list of projects is a little movie called UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING, co-starring fellow Expendables Jean-Claude Van Damme and Scott Adkins. Out of everything he has lined up right now, this one is at the top of the Most Anticipated list.

OVERALL


Buy DOLPH LUNDGREN IS THE KILLING MACHINE here!

Dolph Lundgren is a mans man type of action hero. Hes strong, hes silent, hes tough as nails, and he doesnt give a f*ck. While many have written him off as washed-up at this point, the dude is probably still one of the hardest working action stars out there. Writing and directing projects when he can, starring in enough STD flicks to shake a stick at (one even used his name in the title DOLPH LUNDGREN IS THE KILLING MACHINE), the man is as unstoppable in real life as he is in the movies. His role as Gunner in THE EXPENDABLES 2 stole the show for me (hes a crazy drunk most of the time and its f*cking hilarious), making me a true believer in the fact that we need more Lundgren movies in theaters, not just on video. Give him a leading role in a major blockbuster! He should be making like Stallone and Schwarzenegger at this point and getting bigger projects thrown at him. Hes talented enough, so why the f*ck not?

Extra Tidbit: What is your favorite Dolph Lundgren movie?
Tags: dissecting

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3:13PM on 08/22/2012

ANYTHING HE HITS HE DESTROYS!

DL is the man. Not a great actor by any stretch but truly a great action performer. He is not a bad director either. The Russian Mechanik in particular was very well styled and Command Performance was a lot of fun too. I'd love to see him get some better roles and bigger budgets to work with. Too bad so many tools out there stayed home watching HGTV with their wives and did not get out to support Expendable 2 last weekend. You are DISGRACES!!!!
DL is the man. Not a great actor by any stretch but truly a great action performer. He is not a bad director either. The Russian Mechanik in particular was very well styled and Command Performance was a lot of fun too. I'd love to see him get some better roles and bigger budgets to work with. Too bad so many tools out there stayed home watching HGTV with their wives and did not get out to support Expendable 2 last weekend. You are DISGRACES!!!!
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5:13PM on 08/21/2012

In College I watched nearly every Dolph Movie

Another Hidden Gem is Men of War, its by the numbers, but numbers are all treated well. As a bonus, the main badguy is Kane from Mortal Kombat
Another Hidden Gem is Men of War, its by the numbers, but numbers are all treated well. As a bonus, the main badguy is Kane from Mortal Kombat
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5:29PM on 08/21/2012
Yeah, I just recently watched Men of War. Probably his last big budget action movie before his STD days. The supporting cast in this is great (that Kano guy nearly stole the show as the main villain), the locations are great and the last 30 minutes are nonstop action "Commando"-style.
Yeah, I just recently watched Men of War. Probably his last big budget action movie before his STD days. The supporting cast in this is great (that Kano guy nearly stole the show as the main villain), the locations are great and the last 30 minutes are nonstop action "Commando"-style.
3:38PM on 08/21/2012

F*ck yeah! Loved Command Performance!

Die Hard at a rock concert, what's not to love?!

I've always have been a big fan of Lundgren, he's actually alum of Washington State University, the same college I did back in the day and was in the flippin' marching band, go Cougs! He's also scary smart and Time Magazine listed him among the 10 smartest working actors and he allegedly sports an I.Q. somewhere in the 160 range, has a degree in chemistry, received multiple degrees from Swedens Royal Institute of Technology and obtained a
Die Hard at a rock concert, what's not to love?!

I've always have been a big fan of Lundgren, he's actually alum of Washington State University, the same college I did back in the day and was in the flippin' marching band, go Cougs! He's also scary smart and Time Magazine listed him among the 10 smartest working actors and he allegedly sports an I.Q. somewhere in the 160 range, has a degree in chemistry, received multiple degrees from Swedens Royal Institute of Technology and obtained a damn Fulbright scholarship to study at M.I.T. which he would turn down to pursue his acting career. Holy sh*t right?!

Also you got to love this: [link]


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3:41PM on 08/21/2012
Oh, and also this: [link]
Oh, and also this: [link]
12:35PM on 08/21/2012
I agree that Dolph portrayed Frank Castle the best as a hulking emotionless slow moving killing machine. Its hard to judge The Punisher 1989 especially when there is a uncut version circulating in underground theaters. This goes for Johnny Mnemonic. Most of Dolph's (Street Preacher) scenes were cut out of the main film because they were to racy. You can find an uncut version on the internet. Dolph is preaching in the nude inside a church full of people.
With all the Universal Soldier sequels
I agree that Dolph portrayed Frank Castle the best as a hulking emotionless slow moving killing machine. Its hard to judge The Punisher 1989 especially when there is a uncut version circulating in underground theaters. This goes for Johnny Mnemonic. Most of Dolph's (Street Preacher) scenes were cut out of the main film because they were to racy. You can find an uncut version on the internet. Dolph is preaching in the nude inside a church full of people.
With all the Universal Soldier sequels made they should of made one specifically about Andrew Scott (GR13).
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9:31AM on 08/21/2012
I'm in the midst of a Dolph kick. I just watched One In The Chamber. Not a bad little flick. Dolph's role isn't that big, but he has some cool fight scenes.
I'm in the midst of a Dolph kick. I just watched One In The Chamber. Not a bad little flick. Dolph's role isn't that big, but he has some cool fight scenes.
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9:18AM on 08/21/2012
Oh Yeah, Dolph stands tall with his portray of The Punisher. I'm not sure if it's a TV movie or direct-to-video movie but he was in a movie called "Blackjack" around 1997 or 1998, I think, and it's one of his great action films. My favorite of his works are The Punisher and Rocky IV.
Oh Yeah, Dolph stands tall with his portray of The Punisher. I'm not sure if it's a TV movie or direct-to-video movie but he was in a movie called "Blackjack" around 1997 or 1998, I think, and it's one of his great action films. My favorite of his works are The Punisher and Rocky IV.
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9:31AM on 08/21/2012
I love Blackjack! John Woo directed it. I believe it was originally a pilot to test the waters and see if it had potential to be a series.
I love Blackjack! John Woo directed it. I believe it was originally a pilot to test the waters and see if it had potential to be a series.
9:50AM on 08/21/2012
Oh yeah! It was John Woo. So that explains why I saw the movie on cable long long time ago.
Oh yeah! It was John Woo. So that explains why I saw the movie on cable long long time ago.
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