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Jean-Claude Van Damme,
A lone biker rides into town in the aftermath of the death of his good friend J.J. Once there Ryder discovers that his friend didn't die but was murdered by a local businessman who would let nothing stand in the way of his plans to build a state of the art casino on Indian reservation and. On a mission of justice Ryder confronts and defeats Reno and his men in a tour de force show down where the one (Ryder) vanquishes the many. Written by
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Dolph Lundgren is the unappreciated underdog of DTV action stars. While many people flock to buy Van Damme or Seagal's latest pics, less chase after Mr. Lundgren's work, and that's a shame. He has something going on. Something good.
MM (Missionary Man) is his third directorial effort, and although it isn't as good as his last picture, it's still interesting and shows some of the class and skillful touches he displayed in The Mechanik and The Defender.
This film is basically Pale Rider with Dolph in the Clint role. Can he handle such a role? You betcha. He plays a mysterious man named Ryder, who rolls into a quiet small town to attend a friend's funeral. Before you can say "trouble" he's already figured out that a rich young jackass is running the place and is behind the friend's death.
The rest of the first and second act is taken up with the plight of the Indians who live in the town. We're shown how modern America struggles with the Indians' beliefs and their way of life. Credit must be given to Dolph for trying to make more than a low budget shoot 'em up.
Unfortunately, as a result of that part of the story, the middle act drags a little. However, a rousing final act, where a gang of bikers turn up to foolishly stop Dolph, kick-starts the picture back to life.
The high noon showdown is BLOODY. Not Rambo bloody, but bloody nonetheless. One poor soul even takes a 12 gage to the face! It's these scenes that show Dolph has an understanding of action greater than his rivals. If Stallone's enjoying a cinematic action rebirth, Dolph's enjoying a DTV rebirth.
The look of the film is also noticeable. Lundgren has bathed the film is a dark sepia look and the music is subtle and underused.
The supporting players are a slight letdown. Some seem like community theater actors, while others, especially the Native Americans, come off as genuine and real. John Enos III rocks up as the lead heavy, Jarfe, about thirty minutes from the end, and that's a shame. His character should have been in the whole picture.
Incidentally, Dolph does the best he can with the very modest production values he has. Note to Sony: Give these stars more money to play with. Granted, they don't need $100 million, but are a few back more out of the question??? (Dolph, if you're reading this, put Enos in another one of your movies. He was cool.) And onto the man himself. As I said in my review for The Mechanik, Dolph has grown into his skin. He's comfortable and relaxed. He's the same in MM and I'm sure if he keeps getting good material to make, he will continue to relax and look good. It seems the days of the awful Storm Catcher and The Minion are behind us.
Hopefully, Dolph will continue to put out quality efforts like this. I can only imagine what would he would do with a bigger budget and better actors. It's okay though, because for now, we've got The Defender, The Mechanik and Missionary Man to enjoy.
Good work, Mr. Lundgren.
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