MISSIONARY MAN: DVD
A mysterious stranger (Dolph Lundgren) rides into a border town near Mexico on his distinctive motorbike for his old friend JJ's funeral. He carries a bible and bashes the thugs who are running the place under the nasty rule of John Reno (Matthew Tompkins), who even has power over Sheriff Acoma (James Chalke). JJ's family knows it was Reno who drowned JJ, but is helpless to do anything about it. Meanwhile, Reno is furious that even JJ's death hasn't helped with getting the tribal council's approval for a casino on their land and is ready to continue killing to get his way - with help from a northern bikie gang led by Jarfe (John Enos III).
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A pale imitation of the Pale Rider sub-genre of Westerns, this modern version does have one endearing original touch: the relationship between the lone rider who comes to clean up town and Kiowa (Chelsea Ricketts), the 15 year old girl to whom his friend, the late JJ, was a surrogate father. She misses having a father figure and attaches herself to the stranger. The relationship adds a haunting touch to the film's ending, too.
Dolph Lundgren's second feature as director shows he has grasped the visual language of the Western, with close ups alternating with wide shots (although not quite as emphatic as Sergio Leone in that regard). He also has a softer screen presence than his beefy appearance may suggest. This is played up by him having to wear reading glasses to consult his ever present bible.
The screenplay offers a decent first act in which the elements are established, starting with an early fight in which the stranger steps in to stop a beating from Reno's men being administered to Billy (Jonny Cruz) a drug addict owing money. Billy returns in an important development which helps resolve the plot. There are unresolved elements in the story, but they are intentional, to heighten the mystery of the stranger's past, including a couple of references to his having been shot dead previously.
The goodies are decent (notable little role for August Schillenberg as the grandpa White Dear) and the baddies are mean and dispensable, enabling enough butt kicking by our hero to satisfy his fans. All the performances are excellent and Lundgren delivers everything he promises in this easy to digest modern Western.
Published: May 29, 2008
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MISSIONARY MAN: DVD (MA)
CAST: Dolph Lundgren, August Schellenberg, Kateri Walker, Chelsea Ricketts, Matthew Tompkins, John D. Montoya, James Chalke, John Enos III, Lawrence Varnado, Charles Solomon jr
PRODUCER: Andrew Stevens
DIRECTOR: Dolph Lundgren
SCRIPT: Dolph Lundgren, Frank Valdez
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bing Rao
EDITOR: Michael Kuge
MUSIC: Elia Cmiral
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Derek Abernathy
RUNNING TIME: 84 minutes
PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 5.1
SPECIAL FEATURES: none
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony
DVD RELEASE: May 7, 2008
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.