Action films are among the most popular genre of movies. They come in all forms, from revenge thrillers to funny antics. Safe to say the genre has produced an avalanche of heroes and villains to cheer for. One of those heroes and villains at the same time is Dolph Lundgren. Weighing 240 pounds and standing tall at 6’5”, Dolph Lundgren was born to be an action movie star. At 61 years of age, and having appeared in more than 40 action films, he is showing no signs of retiring or slowing down. If you have watched any of Dolph Lundgren movies, then you know how he embraces his persona and makes movies worth watching multiple times.
In 2016, Dolph Lundgren appeared in seven movies plus the TV show Arrow. He featured in eight films between 2017 and 2018, and it seems he will appear in another four films in 2019. So, what are his best films?
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1. Rocky IV (1985)
Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is a heavyweight boxing champion. He accompanies Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) his best friend to a match against a Russian boxer, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) who has been trained using scientific and high-tech equipment. As the fight continues, Drago kills Apollo after Rocky failed to throw in the towel at a crucial moment. Rocky blames himself for the death and vows he will get revenge by fighting Ivan Drago.
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Rocky ignores his wife’s wishes and sets off to Russia to fight Drago. He hires Duke, Apollo’s former manager, to prepare him for the fight. In the meantime, Drago continues to enhance his punching ability using scientific means. But this does not bother Rocky because he is toughening up under Duke’s guidance. His only focus is to destroy Drago in his home country, in front of a hostile audience. As the fight begins, Drago attacks Rocky immediately and gives him a relentless pounding.
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Rocky IV is Dolph Lundgren’s breakthrough movie. He was applauded for his performance, and despite being a co-star, he won the Marshall Trophy for Best Actor. Lundgren was a credible villain who made Stallone a heroic character.
2. Universal Soldier (1992)
Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) are two highly trained US soldiers. At the end of the war in Vietnam, they kill each other after Luc discovers that Scott, his superior officer, has turned violent and killed villagers and members of his team. After their deaths, a U.S. Special Forces squad lists them as MIA. They flash-freeze them and ship them to a top-secret military facility. The facility has top scientists who turn Luc and Scott into UniSols or super-soldiers.
Fast-forward in 1992, terrorists have taken over the McKinley Dam, and Deveraux is helping the authorities foil the attack. In the process, flashbacks of his life in Vietnam emerge. He runs away from his colleagues and teams up with Veronica Roberts, a TV reporter. Scott, the Police, and Perry chase after them. The two get involved in a crash and think they have killed Scott. They go to Veronica’s parents only for Scott to catch up with them. The next thing that ensues is a brutal confrontation.
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Universal Soldier makes Lundgren look like a bully, which he is based on his height and weight. Although the movie might look derivative and dumb in the beginning, it is entertaining, full of humour, and well put together.
3. The Punisher (1989)
Frank Castle (Dolph Lundgren) is the city’s most mysterious and most wanted vigilante. Within five years, he has killed many people. Those that praise him call him The Punisher. He works alone to fight crimes in the city. In real life, The Punisher is a former police officer whose family was brutally murdered by a group of mobsters. Although the authorities declared him dead, he starts killing mobsters again.
His actions weaken the mobsters’ families, and this forces them to come up with a plan of coming together as a unit. The Yakuza get wind of what they are trying to do, and they decide to control the families and their interests. To sway them to join their cause, the Yakuza begin to kidnap children. When The Punisher realizes this, he fights to save those children’s lives despite having fought against their families. He also finds himself fighting beside the same man that killed his family.
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The Punisher is one of the few Dolph Lundgren movies where he is portrayed as reprehensible, destructive, and fun. Lundgren bulldozes his way through the bad guys and proves he is a force to reckon with.
4. Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991)
For many years, a secret criminal organization in Japan has been ruling its underworld. The society has feared Yakuza for over 400 years because they show no mercy. This group has now found its way to America. Despite being feared for centuries, the Yakuza find their match in two cops, Chris Kenner (Dolph Lundgren) and Johnny Murata (Brandon Lee).
The two have huge differences but are both excellent at martial arts. They both put their skills into use and go up against a drug dealer and the Yakuza who are known for their horrible taste for cruelty and violence. But have they got what it takes to defeat an organized group that has been doing the same thing for hundreds of years?
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Even though the movie is simple, many people consider it one of the best Dolph Lundgren movies. The film has plenty of action that is well choreographed. Plus, Lundgren and Lee make a great team. They are funny and give a high performance throughout the movie.
5. Red Scorpion (1988)
Nikolai (Dolph Lundgren) is a KGB agent who has the assignment to go to Africa, infiltrate a rebel group, and kill its leader. He successfully infiltrates the group but starts to have other thoughts about his primary mission. When he is about to assassinate the group’s leader, he hesitates at the moment and fails the mission. The group captures him, and instead of killing him, they force him to undergo an induction rite.
The locals give him the poison of a scorpion to ingest. His induction rite and the scarification of the scorpion give Nikolai a new identity. He also has a new role, the Red Scorpion. Nikolai is now an independent soldier who works with the rebel army against the Russians. He storms their headquarters and a showdown ensues.
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For a movie in the 1980s during the fall of the KGB to be considered great, it must have great acting (dialogue) and excitement (explosions). Furthermore, the film must not allow a Russian to be a hero. Red Scorpion is a great movie because it broke these rules. It is brilliant and well-paced.
6. I Come in Peace (1990)
Jack Caine (Dolph Lundgren) is a rebel cop who does not play by the rule book. He gives himself a mission of fighting a drugs trade in Houston and stopping a prominent drug supplier, Victor Manning (Sherman Howard). During an undercover operation that was aimed at entrapping Manning, Jack’s partner gets killed.
Jack, the FBI, and Lawrence Smith, a newcomer, begin their investigations into mysterious deaths of people dying of drug overdoses. The evidence already in Jack’s possession indicates there is an alien force that is behind the killings and gathering of huge chunks of drugs. Although Jack Caine has been fighting tough criminals on the streets of Houston, until now, they have all been human.
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I Come in Peace (1990) is an action film that any fan will find it enjoyable. It is an entertaining 80s Sci-Fi horror movie that is well directed, acted, and executed.
7. Masters of the Universe (1987)
He-Man (Dolph Lundgren) is one of the most powerful men in the universe. But when Skeletor (Frank Langella) discovers the Cosmic Key (a mysterious power), it makes him invincible and almost as powerful as He-Man. However, He-Man also discovers that there are two versions of the key and goes to locate it.
In a battle of the most powerful men on the universe, one Cosmic Key falls to the Earth. Two teenagers find the key and keep it without an idea of what they have. Because He-Man and Skeletor want the same key, they come with their forces on Earth in search of the one weapon that can make them invincible.
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Masters of the Universe is a unique movie because the audience already knows how the two powerful men will battle out. However, it is what is between the battles that raise this movie a step higher.
8. Men of War (1994)
Nick (Dolph Lundgren) is a mercenary. He is trying to adjust to civilian life only to be hired by a mining corporation. His mission is to go to a remote village and convince or force the natives to give up their valuable minerals. Although he hates the thought of going on another mission, the current job seems easy. It can earn him a lot of money that will enable him to reconcile with his alienated family.
Nick Gunar recruits several of his friends to go on the mission. Upon reaching the island, the natives refuse to give up their resources. Rather than fight them, Nick sides with them. He also helps them to fight against the same mining company that sent him on the mission. At this point, it seems like Nick has already found something to fight for. But because of greed, Nick’s friends decide to choose sides. They are divided into two groups – one are with Nick, and the rest are working for the mining corporation. Those working for the company want to stop him, but Nick is not a guy that gives up quickly.
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Men of War makes this list of Dolph Lundgren movies because it has lots of action that supports his character. With an excellent supporting cast and beautiful scenery, the film is entertaining and brings out the best in Dolph Lundgren.
9. The Mechanik (2005)
Nick Cherenko (Dolph Lundgren) is a former commando with the Russian Special Forces. After the death of his wife and child in the hands of gangsters, he abandons his past to settle down in Los Angeles as a mechanic. Several years later, Nick is hired by a tycoon who offers him $500,000 to rescue an abducted girl.
On his mission, Nick discovers that the kidnappers are the same people that killed his wife and daughter. Nick wants vengeance to settle an old score. He wakes up the commando inside him to exact revenge. His primary mission of rescuing a kidnapped girl leaves behind a trail of blood and dead bodies.
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The Mechanik is an excellent set up of revenge cinema. It is simple, direct, violent, and pure like you would expect of any movie with such a theme. Dolph Lundgren gives one of the best performance of his career given that he co-wrote the film.
10. Command Performance (2009)
At a charity concert in Moscow, a Russian Premier is taken hostage by armed extortionists. A former soldier turned drummer (Dolph Lundgren) was about to perform on stage when the events happened. Although help is on the way, the drummer teams up with an FSB agent to fight back and rescue the Premier.
The problem with their mission is that they are outnumbered. Despite having the skills to disarm criminals, things are about to get out of hand for the former soldier. It seems old ghosts from his time at the Soviet Union come back to haunt him.
Dolph Lundgren directed the movie and gave a commanding performance. The film was well-made and well-paced from the onset. If you are looking for a film with lots of action, Command Performance is the movie you should watch.
Dolph Lundgren is one of the greatest action movie stars of all time. In the 1980s, he was known for his deadly performances, astounding martial arts skills, and outrageous stunts. With over 40 acting credits to his name, it can be difficult to list the best Dolph Lundgren movies. Besides, everyone has an idea of what movies are the best. In general, most of his movies have been critically acclaimed. Most have raked in millions in the Box Office.
It does not seem like Dolph Lundgren will retire anytime soon. At 61 years of age, he is still going strong and releasing great action movies. Many people are comparing him to the late Charles Bronson who featured in over 150 films and TV shows. If you like Dolph Lundgren movies, the movies we have discussed here will impress you.
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