Missionary Man


Missionary Man

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User Ratings: 654
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Movie Info

A Bible-toting angel of vengeance descends upon a small-town determined to deliver the frightened residents from a ruthless tyrant in this explosive action thriller from writer/director/star Dolph Lundgren. Ryder (Lundgren) is a mysterious wanderer with a thundering motorcycle, plenty of firepower, and ammunition to spare. Upon arriving in a small town that is currently caught under the thumb of an oppressive despot, Ryder immediately recognizes just how desperate the people who live there have become. Now, as the bullets start to fly and the bodies start to drop, this relentless vigilante refuses to stop shooting until his plan for regime change has been fully executed.


Critic Reviews for Missionary Man

All Critics (3) | Fresh (2) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for Missionary Man

  • Sep 02, 2009
    An instant classic. Dolph Lundgren has never been better, he gives his best performance yet in his best directional feature. A riveting, hard-hitting, exciting and well-crafted action flick. An explosive and exhilarating action-packed thrill-ride in the tradition of old-school western film territory. A powerful and adrenaline-fulled non-stop action movie. This is definitely Lundgrens best film yet as a director and actor, keeping his action hero status in check and showing a different side of him as well. A sharp, really cool, stylish and pulse-pounding adventure that never lets up. This film is flat-out awesome. It's a rougher and tougher mixture of Pale Rider meets Walking Tall. It's flat-out sensational.
    Al S Super Reviewer
  • Feb 02, 2009
    <i><b>Jarfe</b>: "That's impossible, it can't be you..."<br> <b>Ryde</b>: "It's me."</i> <p> As washed-up '80s action stars churn out an endless selection of below-par, low-budget, direct-to-DVD action flicks, you can at least admire them for their persistence. In recent years, Dolph Lundgren has demonstrated his competence as not only an actor but also a director. Following the astonishingly positive reception of his second directorial outing, <i>The Mechanik</i> (also known as <i>The Russian Specialist</i>), in 2005, Dolph went on to helm <i>Missionary Man</i> - this stylish, albeit unoriginal and mundane contemporary Western that pays tribute to such classics as <i>High Plains Drifter</i> and <i>Pale Rider</i>. It's your conventional "tough guy rides in to clean up a corrupt town" story, primarily following the DTD formula to the letter. On the cover/poster for <i>Missionary Man</i> Dolph Lundgren is heavily armed, there's an explosion in the background, and the tagline reads "<i>No sin shall go unpunished</i>" - judge the book by its cover, as what you see is pretty much what you get. <p> The story is set on a Native American Indian reservation where a gang of sadistic palefaces rule through violence and corruption. An enigmatic stranger known only as Ryder (Lundgren), rolls into town with a Bible and a score to settle. Ryder's character is unmistakably established as being some sort of enigmatic badass after he drinks straight tequila (no salt, no lime) and reads various verses of the Bible. His business in town is to attend the funeral of an old acquaintance known as J.J., who had recently drowned. However, J.J.'s family refuse to believe his death was an accident, and blame malicious local oppressor John Reno (Tompkins) for the murder. Ryder - the tall, blonde-haired stranger - begins befriending members of the local Indian community, and causes problems for Reno when he defeats hired hands and interferes with his underhanded practises. Tensions rise between Reno and Ryder, and the possibilities for a violent showdown continue to elevate. <p> <i>Missionary Man</i> is just a forgettable shoot-'em-up action romp, featuring an aging Dolph Lundgren taking on countless enemies (sometimes simultaneously) with unwavering efficiency. Dolph (who also co-wrote the script) unfortunately takes things far too seriously. The film aspires to be an incisive character study, but Dolph lacks the requisite skill as a writer, director and star to pull this off successfully. Dialogue is fairly humdrum, and clichés proliferate, not to mention the air of unreserved seriousness is never (purposely) breached. Silly events and corny dialogue unfortunately prompt derisory chortles. Some scenes do work, especially when the hulking Ryder (remaining nameless, in an ostensible homage to Clint Eastwood) demonstrates his ability as a fighter. The photography is also endlessly stylish (due to an error during the DVD mastering, the colours are washed-out, giving the film an almost mythical look). Nevertheless, the overall lack of unique action scenes (not to mention action scenes in general are in short supply, instead opting to develop a dreary congregation of characters) as well as noteworthy storytelling prevent <i>Missionary Man</i> from rising above the usual low standard for DTD action flicks. <p> The cinematography is of a satisfactory standard. Adhering to the widespread plague of contemporary action flicks, the camera suffers an epileptic attack whenever an action scene takes place. Shaky cam syndrome does no wonders on the cinematography front, ultimately coming across as cheap and disorientating. However, cinematographer Bing Rao's work isn't a total dud. The first ten minutes in particular is intriguingly shot, using clever camera angles and (thanks to nice lighting) usually clouding Ryder in darkness. Elia Cmiral's music to complement the photography is, of course, atmospheric and effective. <p> Even at 50 years old, Dolph Lundgren never fails as a badass. He certainly looks the part, donning an outfit extremely appropriate for his character. Ryder is a one-dimensional hero - i.e. he lacks a weighty back-story. What's missing is acceptable motivation and reasoning for his return to the town. Conveniently, Ryder had an altercation in the past with a few members of this quiet town and returns purely for vengeance-related reasons. But no explanation is offered regarding events that had previously transpired. An air of mystery surrounding the protagonist is usually a great decision, but at least a little motivation would've proved advantageous.<br> The supporting cast is generally populated by little-known actors. There's a bunch of performances of questionable quality, but they're uniformly watchable at least. Matthew Tompkins appears to give it his all as the despicable John Reno. He's the proverbial genre villain - outwardly appealing, but shady and corrupt, and has plenty of hired guns on standby to unleash upon the hero. <p> <i>Missionary Man</i> is a clear homage to the Westerns of old, communicating a contemporary version of a story wherein a stranger rides into town to save the day. Instead of horses, they ride motorcycles (at one stage Reno even tells Ryder to leave town on his "iron horse"). This isn't a necessarily bad movie...it's just a familiar DTD movie. Innovative this is not. However Dolph's religious one man army shtick is eye-catching, pairing a mainly silent performance with a charismatic swagger (the kind you generally don't witness in a mindless production like this). The only true flaws are a handful of shaky performances, the indiscriminate use of slow motion, and the fact it's bereft of anything truly worthwhile or memorable. For your basic DTD film, this isn't a total waste. The display of blood and guts is occasionally quite graphic (therefore enjoyable), and it offers Dolph Lundgren drinking tequila, riding a motorcycle and kicking ass. Let's face it: it's why you paid the money to see it in the first place.
    Cal ( Super Reviewer
  • May 14, 2008
    Star-director-writer Dolph Lundgren follows Clint Eastwood's footsteps of western film, <i>Pale Rider</i> into this action film which looks familiar in the story. But Lundgren's works in his movie is average and not enough and exciting action scenes.
    Dean M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 26, 2008
    Dolph's best film for some time. Its just a remake of many western movies. Loner comes into a town under gang or mob control and cleans it up. Very predictable and quite violent yet its pretty good. The native American Indian story line behind it is nice and it gives it good visuals. The whole thing is a little dull until the final showdown between Dolph and a large gang of hired bikers in the streets. Harks back to Clint's classic showdowns in the 'Dollars' trilogy. Silly but fun trash with good violence.
    Phil H Super Reviewer

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