Dolph Lundgren has long been a name associated with films that have kicked a lot of ass for a multitude of reasons. Be it to show American pride in Rocky IV or to whip alien ass in I Come in Peace, Lundgren has always been there to deliver the two-fisted goods.
Eighteen years ago he starred with action icon Jean-Claude Van Damme as a psychopathic killing machine with a penchant for adorning himself with body parts as trophies in Universal Soldier. Now, nearly two decades later, he’s back with Van Damme and pulling no punches in terms of violence in Universal Soldier: Regeneration (review here).
We sat down with Dolph today to talk about still kicking ass and being crazy after all these years.
“I’ve always been in pretty good shape, so it wasn’t a big problem for me to get ready for another fight with Van Damme,” says Dolph from Sweden, where he’s judging a talent contest based television show. “They approached me a few times to do this film, but I kept turning them down until they got this new director, John Hyams, on board. John was really cool and had a great idea for my character in the film. We both wanted to make my character more interesting than he was in the original script. I spent more time tossing ideas back and forth with him than I did getting in fighting shape. Van Damme and I practiced the fight for about a week, and after a bit we just had it down.”
“I wish I could have been in the film more because I really enjoyed working with John Hyams,” Dolph continued, “but it was one of those crazy things, you know? I only had about ten days. I was under contract directing this other movie, and then I was already obligated to do another picture so this is just the way it turned out. Who knows, though? Maybe I’ll be back again for the sequel if it gets made. I’ve been killed twice now I suppose so what’s once more going to hurt? Getting tossed into the wood chipper in the first film was a harrowing experience, you know.”
Dolph went on to talk about his character’s motivations in the new movie. “John and I wanted my character in this one to be less over-the-top like he was in [Roland] Emmerich’s original film and more realistic and gritty. In this film he’s more the voice of the other UniSols. The guy who speaks up for everyone else. He’s kind of gone on one level, but on another he’s still there. He’s trying to remember about life, and who he is, and what has happened. He just cannot do it though. When he does get his instructions, he uses them and turns them around on his creator. It’s a bit like the whole Frankenstein’s monster type thing.”
During the climactic fight scene there’s a point at which Lundgren’s character finally remembers something that he wanted to tell Van Damme’s, and let’s just say something transpires between the two that prevents that moment from happening. I couldn’t resist asking Dolph to reflect back a little and spill the beans. “Wow, now I really have to try to remember!” *laughs* “There’s was never supposed to be a line there. We were just trying to imply that finally my character came around. He started remembering his life, Vietnam, his relationship with Van Damme’s character, and all of the events that had led up to him being there.”
With this one in the can and out there, we had to wonder if a third film would be in the cards. “Well, they have my DNA so I guess I can be cloned, and we could meet up with Jean-Claude again. Maybe this time we’ll even team up. That would be really interesting.”
If you haven’t seen Universal Soldier: Regeneration, do yourself a favor and pick it up. It’s heavy on the violence and packs a surprising amount of punch.
At this point of our conversation I decided to challenge Dolph to a boxing match. Though I never got a clear answer — it’s officially out there! I must break him!
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