Some actors you get to watch evolve as time goes on, and you tend to get a nice surprise as they get better and better. Others might spike a few times in their career and then head on towards a very distinct downward trend. Those in between however will have hits and they will have misses, and this would describe Dolph Lundgren to a tee. When he’s on he’s one of the most enjoyable actors to watch, but when he’s given a lousy script and a B-rated movie, there’s not much else to do but wince and cringe your way through it. (cough, cough, Kindergarten Cop 2, cough, cough). Anyway, Lundgren has made his mark in some of the most iconic films to date, so it’s easy to see why he’s worth remembering.
Despite having such a long resume, here are just a few of the more notable roles that Dolph Lundgren has taken on and dominated.
5. Gunner Jensen – The Expendables
Remember how I spoke of the evolution of an actor? You might not think it to look at him, but Lundgren is a very smart person. The man has a Masters degree in chemical engineering, which, as Gunner Jensen, he gets to flex just a little bit in the first and following films. He’s also deeply entrenched in martial arts and has served in the military. So in all honesty this guy is a lot more rounded out then a lot of people might have believed. In fact it’s safe to say that he doesn’t even have to act all that much in this role, he just needs to be himself.
4. Men of War – Nick Gunar
In some movies a person has to really take a look at their character and understand what they’re supposed to be doing to another person in order to understand the motivation. In this film a band of mercenaries is set upon the island home of a peaceful tribe of villagers to get them to move in the interest of corporate greed. When Nick refuses to do the job he was paid to do, a war between his small band of mercenaries and those of his rival breaks out, with the island as their battleground.
3. Andrew Scott/GR13 – Universal Soldier
It didn’t have the best acting, the most refined plot, or even the greatest dialogue, but it didn’t matter. This movie just flat out rocked. The first sequence shows Andrew Scott and his “trophies”, a string packed with severed ears from Vietnam villagers and his own men. Luc confronts Andrew and the two end up killing one another only to reanimated years later as “super soldiers” that feel no pain, no emotion, and show no mercy. As their memories begin to come back however, the action really begins as Andrew and Luc begin to remember the last moments of their former lives.
2. Frank Castle – The Punisher
He wasn’t the archetypal Punisher from the comics, but he was still tough all the way around in this film. Comic books films have been notorious for steering away from the source material for years, but Lundgren made it work with his dark look and attitude that was and still is a trademark for the Marvel tough guy. Had he been cast a decade later maybe, there’s no telling how much better it would have been. In this version though, he’s definitely not someone you want to mess with.
1. Ivan Drago – Rocky IV
“I must break you.” Those four words set the tone for the entire fight, and they would be tested again and again as Ivan Drago soon found out that Rocky isn’t broken down quite that easily. The words he speaks later into the fight “He’s not human. He’s like a piece of iron.” are all too true it appears as Ivan continually finds that despite his lack of size, Rocky just won’t stay down. Give Ivan props though, he didn’t go down until the last round, even after Rocky started laying into him with absolutely everything.
Dolph Lundgren is an actor that a lot of people probably believed was the big, strong ox that could barely read or write his own name at one time, and yet the man has an IQ of 180, yes it’s that high. How many people saw this guy coming?
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