Episode 18: Interview with Christopher Kulikowski, writer/director of RETROGRADE

On this special episode, I had the pleasure of chatting with Christopher Kulikowski, writer-director of 2004’s action/science-fiction movie, Retrograde.  In this film, Dolph Lundgren plays John Foster, a time-traveler from the future who’s sent back to the present in the Antarctic to stop a biological disaster from occurring.  Retrograde was not the easiest of productions, but Kulikowski, Lundgren, and everyone else working on the film persevered!  How did action stars Dolph Lundgren and Gary Daniels become attached to the project? What kind of problems arose in production?  How did Kulikowski and the production team come up with the idea of using motorcycle attire? What does the role of a post-production supervisor entail?  And what will Kulikowski be working on in 2019 and beyond? Join us as Christopher Kulikowski reminisces with me on his experiences working on Retrograde!

Major thanks to Christopher Kulikowski for joining me!  Please feel free to rate and review the show on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever else you subscribe!

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Episode 17: Hidden Assassin / The Shooter

Hidden Assassin

On this episode Travis Bow of the Reel Comic Heroes Podcast, as well as The Watchmen Minute joins me to discuss this relatively unseen film of Lundgren’s – Hidden Assassin / The Shooter.  In this thriller, Dolph plays Michael Dane, a US marshal sent to Prague to apprehend a female assassin suspected of killing a Cuban ambassador.  Yet Dane’s suspect is not entirely who she seems, causing Dane to question everything around him.  How does this film play coming off the heels of the spectacular Men of War?  Is the romance subplot necessary to the film?  Just how effective are Michael Dane and his partner Alex Reed (actor John Ashton) at being US marshals?  And why is it that the movie looks so dated, even by 1996 standards?  Join us as we take a look at the forgotten Hidden Assassin!

Major thanks to Travis Bow for joining me.  Please check out his podcasts Reel Comic Heroes and The Watchmen Minute!

Feel free to rate and review the show on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever else you go to subscribe!

Episode 16: Interview with Scott Windhauser, writer/director of DEAD TRIGGER

On this episode I had the pleasure of speaking with Scott Windhauser, writer and director of Dolph Lundgren’s upcoming zombie thriller, Dead Trigger.  In this film (to be released sometime this year), Lundgren portrays Kyle Walker, a soldier leading a group of rookies against a world overrun by zombies!  2017 was a busy year for Windhauser; in addition to working on this film, Windhauser wrote and directed Cops and Robbers with Michael Jai White and Tom Berenger, as well as writing Rob Cohen’s The Hurricane Heist.  Windhauser also helped rewrite Dolph Lundgren’s Larceny, currently available for streaming on Netflix.  What was it like working for Michael Bay?  What is Windhauser’s approach to writing a script for an action movie?  What kind of problems arose in filming Dead Trigger?  Is the action genre thriving or struggling in the age of streaming home media?  And what projects does Scott Windhauser have lined up for 2019 and beyond?  Join us as we answer these questions and many more!

Major thanks to Scott Windhauser for chatting with me!  Please feel free to rate and review the show on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever else you subscribe!

Episode 15: Interview with Perry Lang, director of MEN OF WAR

Perry Lang

The discussion of Men of War continues!  On this month’s episode I had the pleasure of discussing this awesome film some more, this time with the director himself, Perry Lang!  Lang has been in the Hollywood game for almost 30 years as both an actor and a director.  In 1994 he was given the opportunity to direct this mercenary film, and the results were glorious!  What did Lang change from John Sayles’ original script?  Why did the film unfairly bypass a theatrical release and premiere on home video?  How does directing a film differ from a television show?  And what can audiences expect from Lang’s return to movies with An Interview with God, slated to be released August 20, 21, and 22?  Join us as Perry Lang and I chat his career and one of the most underrated films in the Dolph Lundgren canon – Men of War!

Check out the trailer for An Interview with God here.

Major thanks to Perry Lang for sitting down with me!  Feel free to rate and review the show on Itunes, Stitcher, or wherever else you subscribe!

 

Episode 14: Men of War

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In 1994 Dolph Lundgren starred in arguably one of his best films, the heavily underrated and somewhat unnoticed Men of War.  Based on an original script by legendary Hollywood scribe John Sayles, Lundgren turns in a solid performance as Nick Gunnar, a mercenary hired to clear out an island of villagers off of the South China Sea.  Yet this warrior for hire has a change of heart and becomes the island’s savior as he launches a full-on assault against his employers!  Coming back to chat this somewhat hidden gem with me is Jeremie Damoiseau, Lundgren scholar and moderator of the Dolph Ultimate website.  Why is this one of Lundgren’s best performances?  Is it fair to classify this one as solely an action picture, or is this something else?  In what ways is this film’s story superior to Lundgren’s later “men on a mission” film, The Expendables?  And what similarities does this film share with Lundgren’s previous effort Red Scorpion, as well as some of his future outings?  Join us as we take on this excellent piece of 90’s nostalgia!

Major thanks to Jeremie Damoiseau for joining me.  Be on the lookout for his book on the making of Lundgren’s The Punisher.  Also, if you have a region-free blu-ray player, please check out the Men of War Special Collector’s edition with a special making of documentary on the film.  Check out a clip from the documentary here.  Also, for all things Dolph, past, present, and future, check out the Dolph Ultimate website!

Episode 13: Johnny Mnemonic

Who would have thought that after facing the Yakuza, squaring off against Van Damme, and winning the Olympic Gold, Dolph Lundgren would go back to playing a villain for the third round in his career?  Not to mention a religious nutcase???  On this month’s episode, we take a look at 1995’s cyberpunk thriller, Johnny Mnemonic!  In this bizarre cult classic, Keanu Reeves takes center stage as the titular character who smuggles valuable data across borders in his brain!  Lundgren shows up as the Street Preacher – a deranged religious bounty hunter enhanced by cybernetics tasked with hunting down Keanu Reeves’ character at any cost!  While Lundgren’s role is a brief one, he is arguably one of the more memorable aspects of the film.  Joining me to chat this film is Craig Cohen, host of the SlyCast – The Sylvester Stallone Fan Podcast!  Could this be one of Lundgren’s most disturbing characters in his filmography?  Are there one too many characters involved in the film, or does it balance them all just right?  In what ways was Johnny Mnemonic ahead of its time and set the stage for Reeves’ later work, The Matrix?  Is Lundgren in the film too little, or is his screen time just right?  Join Craig and I as we crack open a comprehensive discussion of Johnny Mnemonic!

Major thanks to Craig Cohen for joining me; I’m sure this won’t be the last time!  Please check out Craig’s show, the SlyCast as well as his Ramones blog!  As always, please feel free to rate and review the show on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever else you subscribe!

Episode 12: Interview with actor, James Chalke

On this special episode, I had the privilege of chatting with accomplished actor and close personal friend of Dolph Lundgren, James Chalke.  Chalke has had an extremely impressive career, and has proven to be a real renaissance man – former member of the British Special Forces, martial artist, and actor on both the stage and screen.  When did Chalke and Lundgren first meet?  What has it been like collaborating with Lundgren over the past decade?  Which of Chalke’s film roles was the most fun to shoot?  What future collaborations do Chalke and Lundgren have in the works?  How has the climate of action cinema changed in the past 20 years?  How are Lundgren and Chalke working to bring back the glory days of action cinema? And what exactly went down on set of their upcoming zombie thriller, Dead Trigger?  Join us as Chalke and answer these and other burning questions.

Major thanks to James Chalke for joining me.  Please feel free to rate and review the show on Itunes, Stitcher, or wherever else you go to subscribe!

Episode 11: Pentathlon

pentathlon

On this month’s episode, we’re discussing the 1994 sports drama / action thriller Pentathlon.  In this film Dolph Lundgren played Eric Brogar, an East German Olympic athlete who defects to America in order to escape his sadistic coach.  Yet his violent past catches up with him in America, and Eric is forced to rely on his athletic training in order to survive.  At the offset, it was an exciting project for Dolph, as it allowed him to try a new role, as well as giving him the opportunity to be the unofficial spokesperson for the US Modern Pentathlon team.  Yet like many projects in Hollywood, Pentathlon did not turn out as planned…  Appearing on the podcast to chat Pentathlon is Mike Fury, author of Life of Action: Interviews with the Men and Women of Martial Arts and Action Cinema.  Did the film deserve the kind of release it received?   What kind of problems arose in the film’s production?  Just how different is the final product from the initial story concept that Dolph signed on for?  Is the film misguided and struggle with the type of movie it wants to be?  Could this have been Lundgren’s version of Rocky if the film’s budget wasn’t tampered with and slashed prior to shooting?  Was this film a catalyst in helping give Dolph the directing bug 10 years later?  Join us as we break this film down!

Special thanks to Mike Fury for joining me!  I’m sure this won’t be the last time!  Check out his book Life of Action at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever books are sold.  Also check out his website:  mikefury.net.

Please feel free to rate and review the show on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever else you subscribe!

Episode 10: Army of One / Joshua Tree

army of one

In 1993 Dolph Lundgren followed up his villainous role in Universal Soldier with this underrated chase thriller.  In Army of One (also known as Joshua Tree) Lundgren plays Anthony Wellman Santee, an escaped convict who carves a warpath through the California desert as he attempts to clear his name and take vengeance on the crooked cops who set him up.  Taking inspiration from the “California desert” pictures of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, Army of One is packed with bloody shootouts, high speed car chases, and Lundgren as the ultimate badass.  The directorial debut of legendary Hollywood stuntman Vic Armstrong, Army of One is fairly basic in terms of its story, yet that didn’t deter Armstrong or Lundgren from delivering a memorable shoot-em-up!  Joining me to chat this violent VHS-gem of the ‘90’s is David J. Moore, author of the excellent reads The Good, The Tough, and The Deadly: Action Movies and Stars 1960’s – Present and World Gone Wild: A Survivor’s Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies.  Which clichés of ‘90’s action movies does Army of One have fun with?  How did Armstrong make the most of the film’s modest budget?  How integral is the film’s setting, particularly Joshua Tree, to the film as a whole?  How does the score help differentiate the film from all the other action flicks of the ’90’s?  And was this film in fact the first American production to capitalize on the John Woo / Hong Kong style of filmmaking?  Join David and I as we discuss Army of One, his action movie compendium book, and Dolph’s role in the realm of action heroes!

Major thanks to David J. Moore for joining me.  Please pick up his books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever books are sold!  Feel free to rate and review the show on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever else you subscribe!

Episode 9: Showdown in Little Tokyo

showdown-tokyo

In 1991, the “buddy cop” genre was a staple of the action films of the era.  Action-packed with tongue firmly in cheek, these films were testosterone-heavy and fun!  Showdown in Little Tokyo remains a prime example of this bygone era.  Dolph Lundgren stars as Sgt. Chris Kenner, a wrecking ball of a cop who is partnered with a young Brandon Lee as they take on the Yakuza who are on the verge of taking over Los Angeles.  And wouldn’t you know it…  These detectives have the necessary martial arts skills needed to stop this takeover!  At barely 80 minutes, Showdown packs in loads of action sequences, Tia Carrere, training montages, funny banter, and unforgettable one-liners (some that I imagine many would choose to forget)!  Joining me to reminisce about this cult classic are two regulars to the show – Chris Prentice and Jeremie Damoiseau (of the Dolph Ultimate website).  Is Lundgren’s Kenner actually a reincarnated samurai warrior (who’s also invincible)?  What does David Michael Frank’s memorable score bring to the film?  Exactly how many continuity errors are present in Showdown?  And what is with Brandon Lee’s infamous line of dialogue?  Join us as we discuss Showdown, its production, and cult status 27 years later!

Major thanks to Chris Prentice and Jeremie Damoiseau for joining me.  Please check out Jeremie’s Lundgren fansite: dolph-forum.com.  Also be sure to be on the lookout for Jeremie’s book, The Punisher: The Untold Story of an 80’s Cult Classic, to be released soon in the US!  www.facebook.com/ThePunisher.FilmBook; www.instagram.com/punisher.book; twitter.com/Punisher_Book.

Feel free to rate and review the show on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever else you subscribe!