As we patiently await the August release of 'The Expendables,' starring Lundgren and every other badass star working today, Lundgren is prepping the release of 'Universal Soldier: A New Beginning' with Jean-Claude Van Damme and, presumably, still telling people he is not, in fact, Russian. Given his storied career, here are 10 reasons we welcome back our universal soldier.
On last night's 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia,' the crew's idea to make a movie involved lots of references to '80s Swedish action star Dolph Lundgren and a plan to revitalize his career. He may not need their help, though.
As we patiently await the August release of 'The Expendables,' starring Dolph and every other badass star working today, Dolph is prepping the release of 'Universal Soldier: A New Beginning' with Jean-Claude Van Damme and, presumably, still telling people he is not, in fact, Russian. Given his storied career, here are 10 reasons we welcome back our universal soldier.
1. He personified every stereotypically bad thing about Russia in the '80s.
'Rocky IV' may be seen with an ironic wink now, but when it was released in 1985, the U.S. and Soviet Union were still locked in the Cold War and the film, which sees a patriotic Rocky Balboa defeat Russian tank Ivan Drago, was meant as a jingoistic rallying cry for the U.S.A. As the cold, merciless Apollo-killing boxer, Dolph's second film remains his best-known role.
2. He can take torture like nobody else.
While chained up in an interrogation room in 1989's 'Red Scorpion,' Soviet KGB agent Lt. Nikolai doesn't give his Cuban inquisitors the information they want and subsequently has his muscles plied with needles. Screaming? Crying? Pleading? Hardly. Dolph takes the pain and chokes out the torturer. Naturally.
3. He uttered the greatest finishing line to a villain in cinematic history.
In 1990's largely forgettable 'I Come In Peace,' Houston is overrun by a strange series of drug-related murders and, of course, there's only one man who can stop them: play-by-no-one's-rules cop Dolph Lundgren. The murderer, it turns out, is a drug dealer from outer space who is synthesizing human endorphins to push on druggies on his home planet. After uttering his catch phrase "I come in peace" to Dolph, the actor calmly retorts "You go in pieces." Gold.
4. He immortalized every childhood boy's favorite hero.
What red-blooded, American boy didn't have at least one He-Man action figure growing up? When Dolph Lundgren portrayed the Master of the Universe in, uh, 'Masters of the Universe,' millions of kids (okay, male kids) had a new hero.
5. No one can engineer a PR stunt quite like Dolph Lundgren.
In 1992, while promoting 'Universal Soldier' at the Cannes Film Festival, Dolph and co-star Van Damme set up a stunt where, on the red carpet, they would get into a heated shoving match. The actual "fight" was pretty tame by comparison, but the European media splashed their photo on countless front pages. Mission accomplished. See the end of the clip below:
6. He was the best Punisher.
In 1989, before the film world was overrun with superheroes, Dolph had the honor of playing Frank Castle aka 'The Punisher,' an ex-cop out for revenge after his family is killed by gangsters. If you're curious, yes, this film went straight to video. But after one look at the other guys who have played the hero, it's really no contest who was best suited for the role.
7. He's a cross-cultural superstar
In 1991's 'Showdown in Little Tokyo,' most notably known as Brandon Lee's debut film, Dolph shows his awareness and respect for other cultures. After witnessing a Japanese yakuza boss murder his parents as a child, the now-grown police detective Chris Kenner must team up with Lee to infiltrate L.A.'s Little Tokyo. It's a rare movie that can pull off every single movie cliché in 78 minutes, but damn if they didn't find a way.
8. He is responsible for some of the best movie titles of all time.
Yes, we know he probably didn't personally come up with all of these but it's our list and we're going to give him the credit anyway. In a mere seven years, Dolph gave us 'Army of One,' 'Pentathalon,' 'Hidden Assassin,' 'Silent Trigger,' 'The Peacekeeper,' 'Storm Catcher' and 'Bridge of Dragons.'
9. He starred in a film called 'Jill the Ripper.'
There's nothing really more we can say about this one. The film is called 'Jill the Ripper.' Jill. The. Ripper.
10. Even if he is a crappy drummer for some opening band at a rock festival, he will still kill you.
Yes, all these past movies have showcased Dolph in his prime, but with his return to bigger films in 2010, it's only fair to show the trailer to 'Command Performance,' the 2009 action flick starring, and directed by, the man himself. Bottom line: No one cares about the drummer until your show is taken over by terrorists. So true. So true.