“Missionary Man” video101

Directed by Dolph Lundgren

Sony Pictures

(2007) 93 minutes

by Susan Starr and Kevin Kocur

Susan sez:

If you ever wanted to see Swedish muscle man, Dolph Lundgren ride a Harley, preach the gospel to Native American children, and kill the bad guys, with graphic blood and brains splattered all over the place, then “Missionary Man” is the movie for you. The movie, written, starring and directed by Lundgren, is a cheesier, worse acted version of the movie “Billy Jack”—if you can imagine such a thing.

Lundgren’s character, Ryder, has come to town on a Texas Indian reservation to do battle against evil bad guys who are terrorizing the poor townsfolk. This is the sort of movie Indian reservation where three quarters of the people who live there are white. On seeing Ryder knock back shot after shot of tequila while reading his bible, the bartender comments, “I’ve never seen anybody drink tequila like that and still read the bible. It’s exactly the kind of medicine this town needs.” The rest of the movie is as lame and incomprehensible as that line.

The movie is full of biker and Native American stereotypes. We are told over and over that an Indian named White Deer (no relation to John) is a “wise old man”. There are drunken Indians falling down in many scenes. The sheriff is corrupt and a drunk. The obligatory evil biker gang comes to town to rape the women and kill people. This all builds up to the bloody finale in which Ryder kills all the bikers in a variety of bloody and gruesome ways.

I can almost recommend this movie in a “so bad it’s good” sort of way. You get bible reading, bloody violence, bad dialogue and wooden acting. What more do you need from a bad movie?

Kevin Sez:

Ahhhhh, Dolph Lundgren. Whether a Master of his own Universe, or a steroid-infused Russian superfighter, The man from the land of Ikea brings everything he’s got to his role. And this time he’s playing…..a Harley ridin’, tequila drinkin’, bible quotin’ vigilante with a bad dye-job and an axe to grind.

Nonetheless, he’s a man on a mission. Riding into town on an FX-framed Shovelhead with his bedroll tied to the handlebars, and sporting aviator shades, he appears to be the quintessential badass. Albeit a badass with an AARP card in his wallet. Maybe he and Chuck Norris can share a booth at Denny’s for the Early Bird special.

The years have not been kind to Dolph. While he’s in very good shape, he seems to have slowed down a bit. Sadly, nearly all of the scenes that show him performing some sort of martial arts skills have been shot in slow motion. One can only liken this to doing a modern remake of “Saturday Night Fever”—with John Travolta doing his own dance moves.

The final showdown is over-the-top bad. We’re lead to believe that all of the bad guys are either stupid or completely deaf. Case in point: Dolph lures them into a game of cat and mouse, so he can take them out one by one. This involves riding around the very small town and luring each guy into a situation that he doesn’t walk away from. The kicker is that all of the bad guys are scratching their heads trying to figure out exactly where, in town, he is. Exasperated, I finally had to yell at the screen “He’s riding an open-piped Harley!!! You can’t hear him??!!” Idiots.

Many of Dolph Lundgren’s films feature him as a victorious fighter. In “Missionary Man”, he remains victorious—in his fight against fame.


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