I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Vern makes DIRECT CONTACT with Dolph Lundgren!

tn_directcontactDIRECT CONTACT is the new Dolph Lundgren DTV movie directed by Danny Lerner (SHARKS IN VENICE) and written by Les Weldon (RAGING SHARKS). It comes out in the US on Tuesday and has already been released in Thailand, Kuwait, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Sweden.When we first meet Dolph as Mike Riggins, life is not the best. #1, he lives in a Balkan prison. #2, he owes a bunch of gangsters money, and some guy spits in his food, so he has to fight everybody and stab a dude in the eyeball. #3, the screws come in and club him like a baby seal. #4, he gets put in solitary. #5, when he pukes up blood a rat comes over and starts eating it.

On the other hand, it’s kind of a cute rat eating the blood he puked up. Not RATATOUILLE cute, but he doesn’t look like he has fleas. Well-groomed. So it could be worse.

mp_directcontactRiggins was an ex special forces soldier busted for weapons smuggling. (We later learn that he was smuggling weapons out, to stop the violence.) But a mysterious CIA type gets him out and offers him enough money to pay off his debts if he’ll rescue some kidnapped girl. So he goes for it.

He doesn’t break out the strawberries and cream right away though. He gets beat up again. He gets tossed out of a car. When he finds the girl she knees him in the balls. He throws her in the trunk and when he takes her out he learns that she was there willingly, she hadn’t been kidnapped, not until he came along and threw her in his trunk.

So he brings the girl around trying to figure out why they wanted her so bad, who to trust and how to get his money without throwing her to the wolves. Along the way of course there are some huge explosions, some cars flipping through the air (both with and without flames), a motorcycle chase, etc. He does some karate, some shooting, lucks out and gets missed by snipers. There’s a respectable amount of violence. Most of it’s not that memorable except the guy who set him up, who goes out like one of Gallagher’s watermelons.

This is completely competent DTV action with a fairly involving (if generic) plot and the usual solid performance by Dolph as a gruff but sweet-hearted tough guy. But in DTV it’s nice to have at least a couple unintentional laughs, so I was happy for the scene that in Seagalogy I’d call the “Just How Badass Is He?” scene. This is the moment where a bad guy looks at the hero’s file and freaks out at how badass he is, listing his areas of expert training, medals, wars he was in, etc. For example, in UNDER SIEGE they say, “Expert in martial arts, explosives, weapons and tactics. Silver Star. Navy Cross. Purple Heart with cluster. Security clearance revoked after Panama.”

But for Riggins all they got is “Ex marine corps, weapons transporter, honorable discharge, prison time, solitary. Guy’s a god damn out of control mercenary! This is worse than we thought!”

Like he’s about to shit his pants because the guy was in both the marines and prison. Funny scene.

This is definitely a decent and watchable DTV, but I prefer more flair. More rats eating bloody puke, more mid-air body explosions. The only other thing that seemed very unique to me is an irony in the story involving Helsinki Syndrome. In the beginning the CIA prick warns that the girl may have developed feelings for her kidnappers, and that’s a lie because she hasn’t really been kidnapped. But then Riggins accidentally kidnaps her himself, and sure enough she develops feelings for her kidnapper. And yes, they consummate their kidnapper-kidnapee relationship using adult situations.

But I don’t know, Dolph is handsome enough that I can buy it when he has relations with much younger women. If there are any straight women or gay men in the talkback maybe they can help me out. What do you think: Helsinki, or pure Dolph magic?

Dolph seems determined to replace Seagal as the most prolific DTV star. This year he already released an older (and terrible) one called RETROGRADE, and he still has three more on deck: COMMAND PERFORMANCE, ICARUS (both directed by him) and a UNIVERSAL SOLDIER sequel. Then of course next year he has THE EXPENDABLES. More than any of the other ’80s action stars I think Dolph deserves a comeback. He’s worked hard on the fringes while maintaining dignity, and he looks more badass now than he did in his so-called prime.

I hope THE EXPENDABLES will knock down some doors for him. Shit man, Stallone should make IVAN DRAGO to go alongside ROCKY BALBOA. Somebody should at least give him some supporting roles in some real theatrical movies and see if he knocks ’em on their asses. I bet he would, but oh well. If that never happens at least he has a good record of mostly watchable DTV and seems to be having fun as a director. Long live Dolph, and may a rat never eat his bloody puke.

Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/41247

View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback

  • May 31, 2009, 2:02 a.m. CST

    VERN ROCK AICN!!!

    by The_Man_Behind_The_Curtain

    You know it. I know it. Harry knows. Stevey Segal knows it.

  • May 31, 2009, 2:02 a.m. CST

    VERN ROCK AICN!!!

    by The_Man_Behind_The_Curtain

    You know it. I know it. Harry knows it. Stevey Segal knows it.

  • May 31, 2009, 2:04 a.m. CST

    F*ck. Not only did I double post but…

    by The_Man_Behind_The_Curtain

    ..I also put “rock” instead of “rocks”. What a fucking twiglet I am. I hope I get skin cancer and die.

  • May 31, 2009, 2:08 a.m. CST

    Dolph kicks ass

    by Toby_FN_Wong

    He will kick ass in The Expendables. But I also hope he will get some big roles after that.

    Dolph deserves a break just like Van Damme and Dacascos.

  • May 31, 2009, 2:13 a.m. CST

    Dolph is a better action star than Segal.

    by RICHARD_GERE_RAPED_MY_GERBIL

    Love you Vern but you gotta admit I’m right here. He has more range, more presence on screen and has at least maintained his physique unlike Segal who has turned into the fat, creepy man with the black jacket who mumbles a lot.<p>All hail Dolph.

  • May 31, 2009, 2:27 a.m. CST

    Stockholm / Helsinki

    by Philo

    What’s the Helsinki syndrome? Is this some wierd ass version of the Stockholm syndrome or did you just screw up?

  • May 31, 2009, 2:59 a.m. CST

    I watched Masters of the Universe yesterday

    by Crooooooow

    Courtney Cox raped my childhood while I was still a child

  • May 31, 2009, 2:59 a.m. CST

    Needs more GIANT PIG

    by GIANT_PIG

    GIANT PIG!!!

  • May 31, 2009, 3:06 a.m. CST

    Please no “Tits Out For Attention Girl” today!

    by NeilF

    DOH! AICN jumps the shark again…

  • May 31, 2009, 3:09 a.m. CST

    Dolph vs. Seagal

    by GhostDad

    I prefer Dolph. I think the problem with Seagal, even in the DTVs he does, is that his primary goal is just to be Steven Seagal. Dolph on the other hand always looks like he’s trying like hell to make the best movie he can given the circumstances. Watch Masters of the Universe and Punisher, you can tell how determined the guy is to make these huge blockbusters. Seagal is just concerned with how badass he looks, Dolph wouldn’t have tried not to die in Executive Decision. So I hope Dolph finally gets a break. He’s no leading man, but no reason he can’t have supporting roles in action flicks.

  • May 31, 2009, 3:55 a.m. CST

    OLEG!

    by travis-dane

    fuck Bale!

  • May 31, 2009, 4:07 a.m. CST

    Dolph vs. Seagal = fine red mist where segal stood

    by ironic_name

    OLEG LIVES!

  • May 31, 2009, 4:08 a.m. CST

    OLEG IS COMING!

    by ironic_name

    http://tinyurl.com/lxqdox

  • May 31, 2009, 4:09 a.m. CST

    http://tinyurl.com/nccqdu

    by ironic_name

    OLEG!

    <P> http://tinyurl.com/cotf4w

  • May 31, 2009, 4:15 a.m. CST

    In another universe it might’ve been Dolph playing Whiplash in I

    by AlienBoy

    Or Crimson Dynamo, or Crimson Lash, or Whipamo/whoever he is.

  • May 31, 2009, 4:16 a.m. CST

    in Iron Man 2….

    by AlienBoy

    …see above

  • May 31, 2009, 4:23 a.m. CST

    for a minute there..

    by The Amazing G

    I was hoping that this was Vern interviewing Dolph

  • May 31, 2009, 5:04 a.m. CST

    Didn’t Dolph play this Jesus guy in Johnny Mnemonic?

    by DerLanghaarige

    I think this was the most unusual use of an action star since Arnie started to make comedies with Ivan Reitman.

  • May 31, 2009, 5:05 a.m. CST

    And rats in movies are always cute.

    by DerLanghaarige

    Everytime they show supposedly filthy sewer rats or something in movies, they look like right ouf the pet shop.

  • May 31, 2009, 6:56 a.m. CST

    More movies need rats eating puke-blood

    by Drunken Rage

    I’ve said it a million times.

  • May 31, 2009, 7:09 a.m. CST

    Is this a remake or a reboot?

    by donkey_lasher

    And will it be a PG13?

  • May 31, 2009, 7:38 a.m. CST

    Helsinki Syndrome

    by Cedar_Room

    I think this is a subtle Vernism on American’s perceived lack of geographical knowledge. Of course he knew it was Stockholm Syndrome. Right Vern??

  • May 31, 2009, 7:43 a.m. CST

    Vern’s confused by the Die Hard anchorman joke.

    by CreasyBear

    And frankly, what stopped me in my tracks in this review was SHARKS IN VENICE, quite possibly the best idea for a movie ever. Gotta see this movie.

  • May 31, 2009, 7:47 a.m. CST

    No Stockholm Syndrome necessary

    by M0SQUIT0

    Dolph is still the sexiest man alive.

  • May 31, 2009, 8:12 a.m. CST

    Yeah he was decent baddie etc in the 80s

    by Sal_Bando

    I actually agree he could and should get a second shot at mainstream non-DTV movies. Why not?

  • May 31, 2009, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Dolph does rock

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    he’s kept in fantastic shape. Kept the standards up in his movies. Even if they are working on a lower budget.<p>

    JCVD unfortunately had a dip in values but has pulled out of the dive.<p>

    Segal has become a joke. Lose the weight, the stupid blouses, jewelry and rat tail pony tail.<p>

    Dacascos is imho a 90’s martial artist / Action Hero who never got the break the others had.

  • May 31, 2009, 9:39 a.m. CST

    by Omar B

    A a fellow Kykushin karateka I’m waiting on Dolph to do the balls to the wall ass whomping fight movie. No guns, no bombs, old school beating the shit out of guys for 2 hours in the tradition of Bruce Lee, Billy Jack, etc.

  • May 31, 2009, 9:44 a.m. CST

    OK – smuggling weapons out so they wouldn’t be used

    by johnnyangelheart

    is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

  • May 31, 2009, 9:54 a.m. CST

    Dolph is one bad actor

    by kabong

    who improved.

  • May 31, 2009, 10:29 a.m. CST

    What the Hell is Bruce Boxleitner doing in Transmorphers 2 ???

    by aphextwin

    What THE FUCK??!

  • May 31, 2009, 10:33 a.m. CST

    Any Dolph recommendations?

    by shaGuar

    After reading this I’m curious to check out some of Dolph’s other DTV efforts, as I’m only really familiar with him as Ivan Drago and his role in The Universal Soldier. Any recommendations?

  • May 31, 2009, 10:39 a.m. CST

    stockholm you mongoloid

    by TheExterminator

  • May 31, 2009, 10:49 a.m. CST

    Saw Sharks In Venice

    by OptimusBob

    Must be missing something, heard a lot of people liked it, dunno why all i saw was a TERRIBLE FUCKING MOVIE of sub tv movie of the week standards.

  • May 31, 2009, 11:17 a.m. CST

    This film needs a prequel

    by Ye Not Guilty

    Audiences need to see Mike Riggins’s training – his time in the Marines, learning martial arts, etc. There is a richness of character and story here just waiting to be mined for gold.

  • May 31, 2009, 11:32 a.m. CST

    Universal Soldier sequel?

    by Bouncy X

    since he was torn to pieces in the original, will he be a clone or something? or wait….the twin brother? or maybe they’ll pull a Bride of Chucky and have him be all stiched up from body parts.

  • May 31, 2009, 11:35 a.m. CST

    i’m guessing Helsinki Syndrome is when

    by jackknifed_juggernaut

    you begin to show loyalty to washed up has-beens?

  • May 31, 2009, 12:01 p.m. CST

    Lundgren was maybe the only 80’s action star…

    by DerLanghaarige

    …who was not scared of playing a villain. How often did you hear that people like van Damme, Seagal or Schwarzenegger dropped out of movies or demanded huge rewrites, just because they wanted to keep their heroic screen image?

  • May 31, 2009, 12:11 p.m. CST

    Dacascos

    by Omar B

    I wouldnt worry about Dacascos, he’s the host of Iron Chef on Food Network. Say what you will but he’s got steady work.

  • May 31, 2009, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Given the writer’s and director’s credentials

    by solanine

    I was hoping for more sharks.

  • May 31, 2009, 12:53 p.m. CST

    I don’t really watch DTV movies

    by CherryValance

    so I thought he was sunning on some island this whole time. Trying to think of a way a rat eating blood could be cute has me intrigued though. I keep seeing that his movies are in those redbox things at the supermarket. Maybe I’ll try this one.

  • May 31, 2009, 1:08 p.m. CST

    I Come In Peace

    by rogueleader66

    Say what you will about it, but it is one of my favorite movies out of the 80’s. Drug dealers from space? It doesn’t get any better than that!!

  • May 31, 2009, 1:16 p.m. CST

    shaGuar

    by Toby_FN_Wong

    The original Punisher movie was with Dolph. That was not DTV. Still the best Punisher movie if you ask me. I Come In Peace a.k.a. Dark Angel is another non-DTV, I think. Also cool. Of course Showdown In Little Tokyo was very enjoyable. Don’t know if that was DTV.

  • May 31, 2009, 1:22 p.m. CST

    I don’t know…

    by wampa 1

    …but it sure smells good!

  • May 31, 2009, 1:29 p.m. CST

    AsimovLives

    by Toby_FN_Wong

    Like I said, Dacascos and Van Damme deserve a break. I thought Dacascos was gonna get a break when he was paired up with Jet Li in Cradle 2 The Grave. Leave it up to Hollywood to screw that one up with a worthless end fight with lots of wire shit of not even 5 minutes long. You got two of the best martial arts actors in one movie and you screw it up. Dacascos only made the best American martial arts movie ever called Drive so when you team him up with Jet Li you expect fireworks. But not in Hollywood. Look at what Sammo Hung did with him in Martial Law. That was some good shit.<br><br>

    As for Van Damme. The guy has more charisma than most actors today but nobody gives him a big role. He could be an awesome bad guy. Or he could be a funny guy. The man can do comedy. I am convinced that if someone gave him a role in a mainstream movie and doesn’t pay him the gazillion that most unworthy actors get, he would make money for the studios.

  • May 31, 2009, 1:41 p.m. CST

    Question for Vern: Who has the Best “Just How Badass Is He?”

    by DarfurOnTheRocks2

    I like Rambo II’s scene…. However, things do get tilted whenever the hero is a Medal of Honor recipient? But in that scene Rambo hits a right combination of quantity and quality with:

    * 2 – Silver Star

    * 4 – Bronze Stars for Valor

    * 4 – Purple Heart

    * 1 – Distinguished Service Cross

    * 1 – Medal of Honor

  • May 31, 2009, 1:44 p.m. CST

    Apparently there is a deleted scene in Rambo III

    by DarfurOnTheRocks2

    … I need to verify but it reads: In a deleted scene from Rambo III, Rambo’s “Class A” uniform can clearly be seen with the following 13 ribbons:

    * Medal of Honor – Awarded two and refused another

    * Army Distinguished Service Medal

    * Distinguished Flying Cross

    * Soldier’s Medal

    * Bronze Star

    * Purple Heart

    * Air Medal

    * Combat Action Ribbon

    * Vietnam Service Medal

    * Prisoner of War Medal

    * Army Service Ribbon

    * Vietnam Wound Medal

    * Vietnam Campaign Medal

  • May 31, 2009, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Just give us COMMAND PERFORMANCE!

    by milesdyson

    Direct Contact looks like shit, but I’ve been interested in COMMAND since I read the synopsis. DIE HARD at a Russian rock concert starring Dolph as a doobie smoking drummer who has to save the day.

    I DEMAND A RELEASE DATE.

  • May 31, 2009, 2:12 p.m. CST

    Darfur…

    by TELF

    Gotta be On Deadly Ground. R. Lee’s awesome hype job on Seagal. “When there is a mission that absolutely cannot fail… he’s the guy they call in to train the troops” Then it just gets more and more awesome.

  • May 31, 2009, 2:15 p.m. CST

    Here you go…

    by TELF

    It is wonderful:<p>

    http://tinyurl.com/nmco5u

  • May 31, 2009, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Asimov Lives

    by rogueleader66

    Glad to see I am not the only one who loves the shit out of that movie, it’s a very underrated film IMO, and shows that Dolph could have and SHOULD have been one of the biggest action stars of the 80’s, and it’s a shame he wasn’t. <P>Oh and as a side note, I HATE that the name of the movie was changed to dark angel or some crap like that, I Come In Peace was a great title, and how about Dolph’s comeback at the end “And you go in pieces asshole” Love it!!!!!

  • May 31, 2009, 2:29 p.m. CST

    I had a long conversation not too long ago…

    by Uga

    … about “Ivan Drago.” Would be a great way for Stallone to continue the franchise without ruining the perfect ending we had with “Rocky Balboa.” I would LOVE to see a film about where that guy is 25 years later (if he wasn’t just killed by the KGB before New Year’s Day ’86).

  • May 31, 2009, 2:29 p.m. CST

    Dolph ‘s sidekick

    by rogueleader66

    In the movie was a guy named Brian Benben, he was in the HBO comedy “Dream On” which was a pretty good show, aside from that show and I Come In Peace, I don’t know much about his work, gonna have to IMDB him and see what he has done since then.

  • May 31, 2009, 2:44 p.m. CST

    The best ‘JUST HOW BADASS IS HE’ scene is

    by bluelou_boyle

    the one in FIRST BLOOD, when they here John J. is ex-special forces green beret, silver star etc. David Caruso flips out, in fact he seems happy about it and says he ‘knew there was something special about this guy’

  • May 31, 2009, 2:44 p.m. CST

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/30688

    by Wheel99

  • May 31, 2009, 3:36 p.m. CST

    Toby_FN_Wong

    by Prossor

    I agree Dolph’s Punisher was the best, the 80s action is still better than today’s best except of course by other 80s alumni.

  • May 31, 2009, 5:05 p.m. CST

    Well AsimovLives

    by MorganLeafy

    Maybe everybody knows this, but the man actually has PhD in chemistry, just like Asimov. However a good actor? No.

  • May 31, 2009, 5:06 p.m. CST

    Can someone please explain

    by Toby_FN_Wong

    why the action movies of the 80s blow away most action movies of the 90s and 00s and had just an fragment of the budgets of action movies of nowadays?

  • May 31, 2009, 5:33 p.m. CST

    Because actual ‘movies’ aren’t made anymore

    by performingmonkey

    This hit me a while ago. Hardly anyone makes MOVIES anymore, mainly because a huge blurring of TV, Internet, cinema and games has happened which has fucked over the real movie. Now the masses expect game-like CGI cutscenes, loads of self-referrential bullshit and cheap lines in place of actual characterization, TV-like situations and action level etc. The only things that sell movies are the ‘coolness’ level of trailers and the movie’s title. Fucking piece of shit Wolverine and people flock to see it. There are exceptions. Even though there’s PLENTY of CGI in Star Trek it still feels like a proper film, and a modern one at that. Abrams got it totally right. McG went the other way. The question now is can Cameron pull a real movie out of his effects-driven monster? I want it to be brilliant and massively successful, HOWEVER if Avatar sucks due to the overwhelming nature of the CG I want it to fail so no-one pulls this kind of shit again. I wish the prequels had made no money. The blockbuster scene could look quite different right now if that had been the case.

  • May 31, 2009, 5:35 p.m. CST

    “we’re not dealing with a student…

    by jackknifed_juggernaut

    … we’re dealin with THE PROFESSOR!!!” now that was a “just how badass is he” scene for your ass. seriously, after hearing someone described as Segal was in “On Deadly Ground,” how do you *not* instantly drop your weapon, exhale “fuck this shit,” and head home?

  • May 31, 2009, 5:43 p.m. CST

    SO, LIKE ANY EXPENDABLES GOSSIP?

    by OgreYouAsshole

    Have Willis and Biehn been cast as Church and Sands yet?

  • May 31, 2009, 5:44 p.m. CST

    Toby_FN_Wong, the answer is CGI effects

    by YackBacker

    The 80s didn’t cop out with computer-generated effects like we have now. The artificial look and feel takes the “danger” out of action sequences.

  • May 31, 2009, 5:47 p.m. CST

    I MUST BREAK YOU

    by F-18

  • May 31, 2009, 6:08 p.m. CST

    jacknifed…

    by TELF

    So true. Seagal should totally do a sequel as Forrest Taft in “A Fistful of Pesos”.

  • May 31, 2009, 6:45 p.m. CST

    Best Dolph movies

    by Vern

    I’m partial to BLACKJACK. I believe it was made for cable, but directed by John Woo in his weird HARD TARGET era where he wasn’t exactly good anymore but still retained some awesomeness combined with crazed Hollywood stupidity. In it he plays a bodyguard who is afraid of the color white protecting a super model from a crazed stalker who for some reason has henchmen on motorcycles with uzis. This is the one that won me over to Dolph because I’d mostly seen him playing grunting Russian oafs before that, but in that one he’s very charismatic (and possibly gay).<p>

    BRIDGE OF DRAGONS is kind of a fun one, a weird martial arts/fantasy/sci-fi mix directed by Isaac Florentine and with Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as the villain. (He’s also in SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO which is fun too).<p>

    ARMY OF ONE is kind of good, it’s directed by Indiana Jones’s stunt double so it has a bunch of cool car stunts.<p>

    As for Helsinki syndrome, it is a rare syndrome with the exact same symptoms as Stockholm syndrome but in my opinion it is a better syndrome. Also, since Dolph was actually born in Stockholm the people he kidnaps can only get syndromes named after other cities.<p>

    (Actually I don’t know where the fuck I got that from, but apparently I didn’t make it up since it redirects to “Stockholm Syndrome” on Wikipedia.)

  • May 31, 2009, 6:52 p.m. CST

    AsimovLives

    by rogueleader66

    Love The Hidden, saw it in the theaters and have it on DVD, and yes it is highly underrated. Did a entry on my blog about it. Have not messed with my blog in some time, but here is the link to what I wrote if you are interested in reading it.<P>http://movietalktime.blogspot.com/2008/11/blast-from-past-4.html

  • May 31, 2009, 7:22 p.m. CST

    Just as long…

    by Pig_Ignorant

    …as it has an evil Japanese dude who pulls out a samurai sword and hacks off a guy’s arm for talking back at him, ala Showdown in Little Tokyo. Man, that movie was hardness incarnate.

  • May 31, 2009, 7:53 p.m. CST

    Regarding Brian Benben

    by Forsakyn

    He was also in a Masters of Horror episode called Deer Woman that was pretty entertaining (and he was good as always). As for Dolph, he’s actually my favorite 80s action guy – yeah, I know he didn’t have any huge movies or such, but I just liked him more. And his acting has improved dramatically over time. Looking forward to checking out this movie, Command Performance (when it comes out), and of course The Expendables (although I expect he probably has a couple moments max of screen time in that).

  • May 31, 2009, 7:58 p.m. CST

    DOLPH IS LIKE THE FREDDIE MERCURY OF B MOVIES

    by TITBAG

    SO, SO FUCKING GAY YET NONE OF YOU PONCES WANTS TO JUST COME OUT AND ADMIT FOR FEAR OF SHATTERING THE ILLUSION.

  • May 31, 2009, 7:59 p.m. CST

    this straight woman says

    by Genre_Baby

    Vern,

    Dolph’s got that hard Scandinavian look that just gets better with age imo. Hell, I even hunted down the Japanese laser disc of Johnny Mnemonic just for (much more) Dolph.

    But he’s fun, he’s pretty convincing (type-cast though he is) and I hope he gets a chance to get back up on the big screen.

  • May 31, 2009, 8:07 p.m. CST

    Direct Contact with Dolph Lundgren? Does that mean…

    by Gus Van Rant

    Penis to penis? You are sick Vern! Wow, did I just sound like the late Jim Varney? I think so!

  • May 31, 2009, 8:34 p.m. CST

    AsimovLives

    by Sgt.Steiner

    Perhaps Cronenberg could put him in “Eastern Promises 2”.

  • May 31, 2009, 8:42 p.m. CST

    Helsinki syndrome

    by ColtCCO

    Vern, I know where you got it from…it’s a line from Die Hard in which the guest expert is explaining to the news anchor about a supposed “Helsinki Syndrome”(a direct riff on Stockholm Syndrome) and the anchor pompously interjects to the viewing audience “As in, Helsinki Sweden” to which the expert cautiously replies “Finland”. It’s still one of my favorite 15-second jokes in Die Hard, as the anchor is an’80’s Movie, Love-To-Hate “stuffed shirt” type, and it makes him look stupid – again.

  • May 31, 2009, 10:12 p.m. CST

    DerLanghaarige

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Er um, how about a little film called The Terminator where Arnold Schwarzeneger was offered the role of Reese, and turned it down because he wanted to be the villain. Everyone told him it would be a bad career move, and Arnold laughed all the way to the bank.

  • June 1, 2009, 1:37 a.m. CST

    I also would love to see a DRAGO film

    by SnapT

    Go for it, Sly!

  • June 1, 2009, 2:24 a.m. CST

    HE IS LIKE IRON

    by Brody77

    Go Dolph, Go!!

  • June 1, 2009, 2:44 a.m. CST

    Grammaton Cleric Binks

    by DerLanghaarige

    Only that Arnie was pretty much in the beginning of his career at that time and far away from being the superstar, that he was after Terminator. All he had at that time was Conan. And don’t forget that it was Arnie who particularly was responsible, that the Terminator became the hero in the sequel(s), just because he wanted a more heroic image!

  • June 1, 2009, 4:38 a.m. CST

    Dolph is still the best Punisher

    by Hamish

    Truly

  • June 1, 2009, 4:54 a.m. CST

    DOLPH LUDGREN FUCKED YOUR GIRLFRIEND

    by ironic_name

    THATS WHY SHE LOOKED SO HAPPY YESTERDAY.

  • June 1, 2009, 4:57 a.m. CST

    Genre_Baby, marry me!

    by ironic_name

    or at least consider joining the madness/dolph worship in the zone at http://tinyurl.com/mv8uuj <P>

    that goes for anyone who wants to talk about the greatness of the lundgren, the trejo, and the bale.

  • June 1, 2009, 6:05 a.m. CST

    Glasgow Syndrome

    by Stuntcock Mike

    You end up getting pissed with the guy who kidnaps you. Then, you “glass” him.

  • June 1, 2009, 6:06 a.m. CST

    On Deadly Ground 2: Oil’s Well that Ends Well

    by Stuntcock Mike

  • June 1, 2009, 6:07 a.m. CST

    Vern, have you seen MEN OF WAR?

    by caruso_stalker217

    Probably my favorite Dolph film and a nice twist on the SEVEN SAMURAI story.

    <p>Also, there’s tits and some gay undertones.

  • June 1, 2009, 6:40 a.m. CST

    Dolph for the win

    by Lost Jarv

    Dark Angel, Red Scorpion, Showdown in Little Tokyo. <P>Fuck, he’s great.

  • June 1, 2009, 6:53 a.m. CST

    Black Jack is also great

    by Lost Jarv

    fucking love Dolph.

  • June 1, 2009, 7:43 a.m. CST

    Dolph as Ivan Drago for UNDISPUTED 4!

    by Spandau Belly

    Has that ever happened before? A supporting character from a sequel in one series becomes a supporting character in a sequel of another series?

  • June 1, 2009, 8:10 a.m. CST

    Damn, Spandau has his thinking cap on

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Drago, banished to Siberia decades ago for choking his commie handler, now has a gulag-chiseled body, mastered more fighting skills than just boxing, and is ready to break loose.

  • June 1, 2009, 8:12 a.m. CST

    Has anyone seen Agent Red or Red Agent

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Whatever it was called I could have snagged it for $3 at Big Lots. I would have grabbed Men of War in a heartbeat, but this one looked iffy.

  • June 1, 2009, 9:39 a.m. CST

    by ironic_name

  • June 1, 2009, 9:41 a.m. CST

    agent red: dolph wanted a lambo, needed $, made this

    by ironic_name

    http://tinyurl.com/n8mheo

  • June 1, 2009, 3:12 p.m. CST

    A Swedes opinion: Dolph’s best movie…

    by Movie_Grinder

    …is definitely The Punisher from ’89. It sure as hell kicks Travolta’s ass better than Thomas Jane.

  • June 1, 2009, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Also – Thomas Jane sounds lika a girl’s name…

    by Movie_Grinder

    …wheras Dolph is cool. How many guys do you know are named Dolph? Didn’t think so.

  • June 1, 2009, 6:06 p.m. CST

    Dunno the shit he’s smoking.

    by bioforge

    But I want some of it. Very funny. We all could do with some more Dolph in our lives.

  • June 1, 2009, 9:11 p.m. CST

    Dolph should come here…

    by Dazzler69

    ala Stallone style q&a and let’s help his career! A lot of these guys need a slap in the face from us to let them know what we like.

  • June 1, 2009, 11:20 p.m. CST

    Oleg > chuck norris > segal > batman

    by ironic_name

    http://tinyurl.com/nxd7zf

  • June 3, 2009, 2:58 a.m. CST

    “Jane’s Punisher”

    by Prossor

    Movie_Grinder, whenever someone says that it sounds like a dominatrix fucking machine or contraption.

  • Feb. 15, 2010, 3:29 a.m. CST

    ClFAYqY

    by TmvEqK

    XcHvQg <a href=”http://ppgxgb.com/ “>ClFAYqY</a>

  • Feb. 15, 2010, 3:30 a.m. CST

    IjqtPBK

    by TmvEqK

    hCHqfrzI <a href=”http://cmejhl.com/ “>IjqtPBK</a>

  • Feb. 15, 2010, 7:37 a.m. CST

    Testing out multiple accounts?

    by orcus

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 10th, 2009 at 2:49 pm and is filed under Action, AICN, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

29 Responses to “Vern makes DIRECT CONTACT with Dolph Lundgren!”

  1. Vern – For years, I use to dismiss Lundgren, if because I saw him as only the mindless robot in ROCKY IV, and that UNIVERSAL SOLDIER didn’t help that perception.

    But based off your pimping, I saw I COME IN PEACE and SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO, and I gotta admit, I enjoyed the absolute shit out of them. Yes Dolph at times still comes off as a jock (but how many 80s action heroes didn’t?) but he does carry a particular certain charm that I can’t describe or explain.

    And whatever one thinks of the Dolph, you have to be impressed with him becoming the Clint Eastwood of the DTV World: Prolific DTV filmographic so far of his own shit, a reason why it took so many years/decades for people to respect Eastwood as a director (and this continued even after UNFORGIVEN. That shit didn’t end until I guess MYSTIC RIVER.)

    So yes Vern, I whole-heartedly endorse your campaign to revive the Dolph’s career outside of the DTV fringes, for a solid comeback.

  2. Wait, are you saying you didn’t enjoy Dolph’s Oscar worthy portrayal of Ivan fucking Drago? Seriously, the idea of outdoing Mr. T as the cartoon villian in a Rocky movie is a challenge almost any actor would quake and back away from. But Dolph took the chance and carved out a place in the pantheon for himself. The pantheon of what, I’m not sure, but he’s in there, no question.

  3. This might blow a hole in your pocket, but I didn’t like ROCKY IV. Shit I didn’t care much for any of the ROCKY sequels…save for ROCKY BALBOA, probably the least cartoonish and most mature (to a point) of any of the ROCKY follow-ups.

    Was Lundgren good as a steroid monster? Sure. Is it “I will break you” or “I will destroy you”? Yeah that tells you how much I cared for ROCKY IV. Nobody can defend that idiotic ending with the Soviet government applauding Stallone.

    In fact I have this idea that II through V, Stallone progressively put less and less thought into his ideas, and basically coasted on the “Rocky Formula.” I mean remember ROCKY V? You have good stuff with a talented kid who effectively becomes the Anti-Rocky (money/fame/women over decent humanity) and the Don King-esque boxing promoter. Then Stallone had to go that ridiculous route of ole Rock losing all his shit, even thougn he sure made alot of it back by ROCKY BALBOA. Was that shit needed?

    Now I know alot of folks, even some of my friends, have a special fondness for all things ROCKY. But to me there is only the great touching ROCKY, and its only “true” sequel, RB. Kinda like how I tend if possible to ignore DIE HARD 2 in that franchise, but why is another story for another time, and I’m sure alot of folks will piss vinegar on that concept.

  4. Dude I agree with you, the sequels are not that great, other then Rocky Balboa which toned down all the bullshit that had clogged up the other films and told a small, simple, beautiful character piece, in the vein of the first, still great movie. The other flicks are not what I would call good, I would call them AWESOME. Mr. T and Lundgren are cartoon supervillians trying to bring down the saintly Italian Stallion. Those movies are more cartoony then the Rambo cartoon they had for a while. And part 5 is shit no matter how it’s sliced. So I get it man, not digging Rocky, but I find those movies incredibly rewatchable and ferociously entertaining.

    By the way, it’s “I must break you.”

  5. Thanks for the quote correction. I must admit, I did like that one moment in ROCKY IV when Burt Young yells at the press conference about Soviets forcing their citizens to live there by machine gun. Good if poignant propganda.

    And yeah I understand why you enjoy ROCKY 3 and 4. They are cartoonish actioneers, in a decade that celebrated them (though one could argue that is still the case. Just look at Bay’s work) but they’re just not my cup of tea I guess.

    Speaking of ROCKY 3, imagine if Stallone had been able to use “Another One Bites the Dust” instead of “Eye of the Tiger”? That whole beach running sequence, those guys in their short shorts, was already gayrific. Now imagine that amped up with Freddie Queen Mercury crooning over that? I think COMMANDO* would have some real serious competition there.

    *=I mean that was the one where the villain was effectively Mercury on steroids.

  6. I will never watch Rocky 3 again without thinking of that. Fuck you.

  7. As a further PS let me say that while Rocky 4’s ending is complete horseshit you have to admire the out and out ballsiness of him ending it that way. Stallone’s Americafuckyeah-ness is so completely heartfelt and pure in it’s big muscled unsubtle way I find it impossible not to get a kick out of it. He clearly means and believes every word he says and there’s something to be commended in that. I will happily concede that Rocky Balboa is the lone true sequel and that it and the original classic together form a single great story that you could probably watch back to back and not miss a beat. The others are distractions, no two ways about it, but again, they are fucking AWESOME distractions that I love to watch.
    By the way, there is nothing gay about two grown men in extremely tight shirts and small shorts grappling with each other in slow motion on a beach. All that moment constitutes is that their unwavering masculinity transcends all concepts of bromance and sexuallity we mere non-Stallone and Weathers mortals can concieve.

  8. I wouldn’t call ROCKY IV’s ending “ballsiness” as much as “egotripping.” That was when Sly was King of the World, and effectively got away with whatever he wanted, and it shows.

    But Brendan, I respect your opinion. I understand, I get it. This isn’t AICN or CHUD where nerds bitch at each other over their petty Geek Theology or shit on each other because someone doesn’t share their precious little opinion.

    We’re above that nonsense.

  9. Y’know I am really digging that about this sight. I think it’s awesome that Vern has opened this place up to his readers and the response has been film lovers engaging in conversations about subjects they love and find interest in, and not self-serving fanwank that clouds up otherwise great places like AICN.

    In kind I totally respect what your getting at with your points, and I’m certainly not saying your wrong, only that what rubs you the wrong way with that ending, I find hilarious and great fun. Shit man, I love Cobra for the same kind of reasons. It really was Stallone just jerking himself about his politics and his physique, but doing it with such unironic devotion to both its fascinating.

    So in closing, let’s keep the good vibes going on this site, if only here.

  10. My man, this is the Love Boat. Keep the good times coming!

    Oh COBRA….man, the idea that basically was what Stallone wanted his BEVERLY HILLS COP to be is just chilling….and funny. I mean even Dirty Harry himself would call COBRA silly.

    Then again, I’ve never understood anarchy political ideology. Can such people organize in the first place?

  11. What?! You guys think ‘Cobra” & the ‘Rocky’ sequels are silly?! Well you my former friends are both of lower intelligence AND homosexuals!!11

    just kidding.

    I dig me some cheesy 80s Stalone. It’s a hell of alot better than cheesy 90s Stalone that’s for sure.

    I’m one of the two people on Earth that likes the film adaptation of ‘Oscar’ (even Stalone has kind of disowned that one with the comment “I just can’t do comedy.”) Now where did he go wrong with ‘Driven’?

    The only Lundgren I have seen are ‘View To A Kill’ (doesn’t count), ‘Rocky IV’, ‘The Punisher’, ‘Universal Soldier’, and ‘Blackjack’. I keep meaning to check out ‘Red Scorpion’ since it’s one I always see in the video store. Don’t recall hearing anything on it good or bad on that one though.

    -damn I’m just spamming up the boards today adding jack shit to the discussion

  12. geoffreyjar – Don’t beat yourself up. You don’t spam up the site at all, and I like to hear from you dude.

    As for Dolph, try I COME IN PEACE and SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO, both entertaining trash cinema worthy of a friday night with greasy pizza and cheap beer. SHOWDOWN is on DVD in R1, but not I COME IN PEACE (yet). Dammit!

    And yeah Sly had a bad time in the 1990s, though I remember CLIFFHANGER as being cheesy entertaining watchable, and well he had a great dramatic turn in COPLAND. As for OSCAR, I never saw it, no urge really since I barely survived STOP OR MY MOM WILL SHOOT.

    But Siskel and Ebert back in the day did give OSCAR thumbs up. Yeah fuck you Internet.

  13. Oh and I forgot DEMOLITION MAN of course. What do the seashells work exactly?

    But man, I hated JUDGE DREDD. Kickass iconic fascist cop comic book legend…shitty pussy movie. Go figure. I mean how the fuck did they fuck that up?

  14. Long live the dolph,

    I come in peace (or Dark Angel as its known in the backwoods of Scotland) is classic Dolph as well as 80’s action.

    I am glad he is making a comeback (after announcing his retirement a few years ago), after all he still has to atone for Johnny Mnemonic.

  15. I don’t like “Johnny Mnemonic” but I thought Dolph was very funny in it. I also love the bit at the end where Ice T says “pick that up”, that’s a vague description but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it.

    I believe Stallone wrote “Rocky IV” while he was filming “Rambo: First Blood Part II”. At that point his last film was “Rhinestone”, which wasn’t a success, so at that point in time he wasn’t really “king of the world”. So when he filmed it it probably counted as “egotripping”, but when he wrote it it was “ballsiness”. Unless he rewrote the ending after “Rambo” was a massive hit, I don’t know.

    I’ve got kind of a soft spot for “Judge Dredd” even though I can clearly see it’s not very good. I’ve always thought “Demolition Man” actually makes a better Dredd movie than the movie he eneded up making under that name, though I say that as someone who is no expert on the comic book (or any kind of comic book for that matter).

  16. Re: Rocky Balboa being the only true sequel

    Plotwise, RB wouldn’t make any sense without at least Rocky 2 because that was the one where he became the champ. If it weren’t for that one, he’d just be the guy who fought Apollo Creed that one time. Rocky 2 is actually my least favorite of the series (not counting V, which never happened, doesn’t exist I’M NOT LISTENING TO YOU) because it kinds of splits the difference between the earnest drama of Rocky and the outrageous cartoonery of III and IV, and the two approaches kind of cancel each other out. That said, fucking great final fight, so I guess maybe I just love Rocky and that’s all there is to it. (Part V can still eat a dick, though. If it existed. Which it doesn’t.)

  17. Over the Top = godly cheesy Stalone
    Driven = awful cheesy Stalone

    Rocky sequels I’m fond of but different reasons than I like the first and last one of coarse. Kind of like how I like all Godzilla movies for a different reason I like the original Japanese version. Sure the sequels kind of shit all over what the original was doing but dagnabbit, they’re fun.

    to Mr. Majestyk:
    Rocky V happened. Oh yes it happened. It happened all night long! Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away.

    to RRA:
    As for Judge Dredd, I have a weakness for that one as well. Damn that thing sucked but I sure enjoyed it. Besides we already have an awesome movie based on the comic, it’s called ‘Robocop’ and it’s better than any Dredd movie could hope to be.

    I adore ‘Demolition Man’. Can you believe that Simon Phoenix was originally written for Jackie Chan? I can only imagine how that would have been if he accepted.

  18. When I say ‘true sequel’ I’m refering to the fact that RB is a completely down to earth character drama about a boxer struggling with himself, while 3 and 4 are exaggerated cartoons about a superhero fighting evil dudes while wearing the American flag as pants. 2 sort of tries to do both but as Majestyk says they cancel each other out and what your left with isn’t all that impressive. Yes, 5 happened but what do you say we all move on with our lives in regards to that pile of shit.

  19. Brendan, I see where you’re coming from, but I think watching Rocky go through these insane, over-the-top adventures in fame and fortune and genetically modified Cossack warriors makes his return to his humble roots all the more moving. You can’t have a satisfying homecoming without going on an epic journey first.

    Rocky V…that’s the one where he fought lizard aliens disguised as humans, right? I don’t remember so good. I think I might have been punching myself in the face at the time.

  20. Nope he did not fight lizard men from mars…

    but that would have made Rocky V even better!
    -that is to say it would have made it good

  21. Supposedly according to the legend, after ROCKY IV was when Hollywood joked that the only legitimate threat for Stallone in a 5th ROCKY would have to be a boxing match with an Alien.

    Thus some brothers/scriptwriters got hot for the idea of a badass muscle man in a fight for his life with an alien…and thus PREDATOR was born.

    So yeah, thanks Sly for that. I consider ROCKY V for PREDATOR (better than any of the ROCKY sequels) a more than adequete trade.

  22. Well I’m going to wade in and defend Rocky 2. Mainly because it’s on VS right now – and even though I know every line – there’s no way I’m changing the channel.

    It’s not the best of the series (first one is obviously), but I think it’s my fave precisely because it incorporates both the soapy, melodramatic and cartoonish elements of the sequels along with the legitimately dramatic and worthy aspects of the original. I would also argue it has the best training sequence (2 if you include the awesome run with the kids) and best fight. And that is very important.

    I also think it is a true sequel – not just a do over – in the sense that Rocky is the story of a underdog hero who fights with his heart more than skill – and through sheer grit is able to go the distance with a storied champion – whereas in Rocky 2 he’s lost his heart. His fighting spirit is gone. He takes the rematch purely for money. He thinks Adrian isn’t behind him. And then he literally loses his heart when Adrian is on death’s door.

    So when he finally gets his shit together and trains his ass off you get the huge rush of satisfaction and excitement – because of his previous procrastination. But it is still his heart that wins the fight. When he and Apollo are climbing the ropes after the double knockdown (which is a bit silly, but awesome) – Apollo quits, Rocky can not, will not.

    Maybe it moves me more because I am something of a procrastinator – and I know it’s manipulative – but it’s also fucking awesome.

    Then 3 and 4 become more and more formulaic (4 is almost like a perfect formula movie) – and while they are really good fun – They don’t have the same sense of theme and emotion as 1,2 and Balboa.

    It’s goofy, but the bit where Adrian says “win” and and Mickey chimes in with “What in the hell are we waiting for?” and we boom into the music and the training – well it gives me chills everytime.

    Sorry for the digression Vern et al.

    Back to Dolph:

    I always had a real soft spot for Red Scorpion. It’s a strange action movie, especially for the time it was made – but there is some good action and lots of unusual elements – I always find myself watching it through when it’s on.

  23. As a side note, isn’t that syndrome called the Stockholm Syndrome, not Helsinki?

  24. Vern was making a Die Hard joke with that line. The newscasters interview some blowhard who says that the hostages should be going through the first stage of “Helsinki Syndrome.” I don’t know why they felt the need to change the name of the syndrome, except that maybe they wanted to make fun of the idea (they cut to a shot of the terrorists dragging away Ellis’ corpse to show how little they have actually bonded with their hostages) and Helsinki is arguably a funnier word than Stockholm.

  25. I might’ve got that from Die Hard subconsciously. I really didn’t mean to write the wrong thing. But I looked it up and apparently Helsinki Syndrome is a common misnomer for Stockholm Syndrome. That might be why it’s in Die Hard too. Anyway, Dolph was born in Stockholm so maybe for him it’s actually Helsinki Syndrome.

  26. As in Helsinki, Sweden.

  27. I just saw this the other day and nearly shit my pants when the first name in the credits after Dolph’s was Michael Pare’!

    I can’t even put into words how pleasant of a surprise that was.

    As for the Helsinki/Stockholm thing, I can’t remember what it’s called but there’s a term that is basically the opposite of Stockholm syndrome. I think it’s when the captor gains sympathy towards his/her hostages. I’d have to look it up again, but that might be what the Helsinki thing is. Or maybe it’s something completely different like Uzbekistan syndrome.

    I do know that the M’Naughton rule is what is used to determine whether or not someone can be deemed innocent by reason of insanity. Someone should make a move about that. Maybe get Dolph Lundgren to play Daniel M’Naughton.

  28. I was wrong. The opposite of Stockholm syndrome is Lima syndrome.

  29. Lundgren is fantastic. Ivan Drago, Andrew Scott (Universal Soldier), Jack Devlin (Blackjack). The list of great roles goes on and on.

    Blackjack is a really underrated, relatively unknown flick. John Woo, right after Face/Off and right Before MI2. Dolph plays a US Marshal with a phobia of the color white. There is a climactic fight scene that takes place in a milk factory. See Vern’s review for a much better description.

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