We take a look at five of Dolph Lundgren’s best movies, with picks that range from predictable to out of left field!
Dolph Lundgren started his acting career with a James Bond movie (A View to a Kill) in 1985, quickly followed by Rocky IV, and then a string of action films. With a career spanning five decades, the man has had over 100 parts with only seven of those in television series, making him one busy film actor. Picking his five best is like choosing your favorite child. So, here are five of his best movies which are part of an ever-changing list of favorites.
The Punisher (1989)
An interesting take on The Punisher where Lundgren plays Frank Castle full of darkness, torment, and violence, but with a softer side that takes its time to show up. The final battle in Lady Tanaka’s home is a great watch each time the film comes on or is put on. We have had 4 Frank Castl’es on screen, and he brought one of the darkest, gloomiest versions, one that didn’t shy away from the source material’s grit. This is early Lundgren, and he shows promise, giving viewers a dark hero, an anti-hero who should have gotten a sequel. A suggestion to the MCU now that the multiverse is a thing, how about randomly bringing Lundgren back just in passage, as Castle, in one of the future films? As it is, Lundgren is one of the better interpretations of the character brought to viewers, with a dark film that really punches.
Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991)
Perhaps not the best movie ever, Showdown in Little Tokyo makes the cut here because it’s fun and it allows Lundgren to have a bit of fun with his part giving him plenty of fighting, some funny lines here and there, and a partner in crime fighting played by Brandon Lee. The film has a lot going on and Lundgren does well here, showing he has some sense of comedic timing, can hold his own in fights with great adversaries, and allows him to show that he can keep a straight face through some very peculiar scenes. The main reason for this movie making the list here is that it’s just fun! And sometimes, fun is all you need. The film is one of those that randomly shows up on cable still, is usually available for streaming, and got a few physical media releases. It seems to be a favorite for many and considering how fun, and sometimes silly, it is, how good the fight choreography and execution are, and the cast, it’s not surprising that it’s still around over 30 years later.
Universal Soldier (1992)
His next released film put him against Jean-Claude Van Damme in a violent, gritty sci-fi film that seemed to come out of left field for some and seemed like a good choice to others. Here, Lundgren turns into a bad guy and gets to play a ruthless character who has been scientifically enhanced, giving him extra strength and capacities. His face off with JCVD in the grocery store is great and shows that he can turn on the evil and go with it with glee. To most folks, they got to know him playing villains, but in 1992 people knew him as the hero, so this return to evil is an entertaining watch. The film also touches on war and its long-term effects, showing how Lundgren’s Andrew Scott was damaged well before the scientists got their hands on him. Setting Lundgren up against Van Damme who was becoming huge at the time was a gamble that paid off for both actors as well as the film itself.
Don’t Kill It (2016)
Possibly a controversial choice here, Don’t Kill It combines action, horror, and comedy and Lundgren shows up to play a washed-up demon hunter who seems more interested in finding his next drink than catching demons. Of course, the film gives his character a redeeming arc and Lundgren gives a performance with more nuance-than-expected in a demon hunting horror comedy. This was quickly followed by another fun horror comedy, Welcome to Willits where he plays more of a “Lundgren” type of role. This part here is one that is a change for him, one that gives his fans something new. Don’t Kill It shows us that Lundgren still has a sense of humor he can use on camera and a bit of a sense of humor about himself. It also shows that the man can pull off horror even in a slightly out there premise, a genre that he could perhaps explore some more.
Creed II (2018)
Some would pick Rocky IV over Creed II, but Creed II has a more complex part for Lundgren. Yes, it’s the same character, but in Rocky IV, the character of Ivan Drago was played as a more one-dimensional man, who was trained and conditioned to win fights for his country, no matter the outcome. In Creed II, the part of Drago is that of an aged man who still wants to win, but this time through his son. Throughout the film, the character gets to evolve a bit more than in his first appearance and gives Lundgren more to work with and a chance to play a more dramatic role with no actual fighting involving himself. His work here shows growth as an actor and how the man who is often seen as tall and able to fight can also act and bring a character closure even if that is not as the hero.
While Dolph has recently fought a battle against cancer offscreen, he seems to be doing very well. He’ll be in both The Expendables 4 and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom this year. Hopefully, we can look forward to many more Lundgren action movies in the years to come.
What’s your favorite Dolph Lundgren movie? Let us know in the comments!