Hans "Dolph" Lundgren (born 3 November 1957 in Stockholm, Sweden) is an actor from Sweden, often viewed as "the poor man's Arnold Schwarzenegger" (but is no less of a Mr. Fanservice). He has won European and Australian karate championships, as well as represented the United States in the 1996 Summer Olympics in pentathlon. He may be one of the best Real Life examples of Hidden Depths, as despite being famous for playing Dumb Muscle characters, he has a master's degree in chemical engineering. He is rumoured to have a genius-level IQ, but he denies it.note
Lundgren's first foray in the film industry was a minor role in A View to a Kill as a KGB mook, Venz, who has two seconds of screentime. He got this role thanks to his then-girlfriend Grace Jones. After that, he got his breakthrough role in Rocky IV as the Russian boxer Ivan Drago, which launched his career in action movies.
Lundgren's first starring role was in the Live-Action Adaptation of Masters of the Universe as He-Man in 1987, whose fight against Skeletor is taken to Earth. This was followed by Rambo-esque Red Scorpion in 1988, where he plays a Soviet special ops soldier who is sent on an assignment in Africa but ultimately turns against his own after witnessing the atrocities they have committed. After that he was cast in the comic book film The Punisher in 1989, where he played the titular vigilante and got bad press for not wearing the iconic skull shirt.
At about the mid 90's, Lundgren gradually disappeared from the consciousness of the movie-going audiences but remained active doing smaller DTV movies. After his time in The Expendables along with an All-Star Cast, he had something of a Career Resurrection, including prominent roles in Arrow and Aquaman. He also featured prominently in the music video for Imagine Dragons' single Believer.
Some people consider him proof that the axiom "All other factors in a fight being equal, the biggest guy wins", especially after watching him knock Jet Li on his butt in The Expendables.
True fact: a bunch of burglars broke into his house and tied up his wife and daughter in 2009. Luckily, before they got to anything serious they saw a family photo and realized they had just tied up Dolph Lundgren's wife. This was in itself enough reason for them to let her go and run away very quickly, thus also saving some wear and tear on the He-Man sword. Unfortunately both wife and daughter suffered from PTSD and trauma after the incident, which may have led to their divorce.
Other notable films:
- I Come in Peace (1990) in which he plays Cowboy Cop Jack Caine, who is put against a drug-addicted alien. Also known as Dark Angel.
- Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991). In this movie he fights Shang Tsung, makes love to Relic Hunter and his penis size is praised by Eric Draven. Truly, a chain of feats that can only be pulled by the one and only Dolph Lundgren.
- Universal Soldier (1992), where he and Jean-Claude Van Damme play feuding Vietnam vets who after death are re-used in military's experimental UniSol project, which then goes haywire when the two start remembering who they were in the past. A defining film of The '90s action movie scene.
- Army of One (1993) in which he plays Wellman Santee, who is escaping the law and must clear his name. He drives a Cool Car, kills a warehouseful of Asians and makes love to Hope Brady along the way. Also known as Joshua Tree.
- Men of War (1994), where he plays Nick Gunnar, a Swedish mercenary who is hired along with a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits to coerce the inhabitants of a remote island to give a greedy Mega-Corp the rights to exploit their natural resources... only to pull a HeelĖFace Turn after finding out that they're after more than natural resources. Cue our Swedish badass almost single-handedly decimating an army of hired goons with a friggin' RAWKET LAWNCHAIR.
- Johnny Mnemonic (1995) in which he plays a Church Militant street preacher who is after the titular hero.
- Blackjack (1998), directed by John Woo. With Woo's usual trademarks, so audiences get to see Lundgren kick ass using Guns Akimbo and blow up motorcycle-riding mooks by shooting at their fuel tanks.
- Bridge of Dragons (1999) in which he plays a guy called Warchild and fights Shang Tsung again. Titular bridge doesn't appear in the movie at all.
- Detention (2003) in which he plays a Badass Teacher who inspires bunch of detention students while battling violent criminals in Die Hard On A High School.
- Fat Slags (2004) in a quick appearance as Randy.
- Missionary Man (2007), a modern-day western in which he wrote, directed and played a tequila-drinking, shotgun-toting, motor-biking, Bible-reading vigilante out to save a town from a gang of Hell's Angels that may or may not have shot him dead some time in the past.
- The Expendables (2010), where he plays Gunnar Jensen, who is the Sixth Ranger Psycho Party Member of a mercenary team consisting of John Rambo, Danny the Dog, Frank Martin, Cmdr. Warren Fuller and Chris Rock's dad. And they're all hired by Lt. John McClane, who was just transferred to the CIA. He returns in the sequels, firmly on the side of the heroes.
- In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds (2011) is a dip into Uwe Boll territory in this DTV sequel to In the Name of the King. Lundgren stars as Granger, a modern-day badass who is sucked into a fantasy world (largely comprising a styrofoam castle in a Canadian forest) to fight its corrupt king.
- Skin Trade (2014), where he plays a cop on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the human trafficking ring that killed his family.
- Don't Kill It (2016), where he plays a grizzled demon slayer who can't kill his current target without risking possession himself.
- Tour de Pharmacy (2017), where he plays an Austrian cyclist (with a Swedish accent) who reflects on his past steroid use (it's a comedy).
- Sharknado 5: Global Swarming (2017), where he plays the Future Badass version of the hero Fin Shepard's son Little Gil.
- Creed II (2018), where he reprises the role of Ivan Drago.
- Aquaman (2018), where he plays King Nereus.
- Seal Team (2021), where he voices a dolphin named Dolph.
Tropes associated with Dolph
- Academic Athlete: He was taking part in European karate competitions while also studying for his Master's degree.
- The Big Guy: He's 6'5 and very muscular.
- Career Resurrection: After spending the latter half of the 90's and the 2000's in DTV action films, his career received a notable boost with his role in The Expendables and he later got prominent supporting roles in Aquaman (2018) and Hail, Caesar! and even played Ivan Drago again to notable acclaim as well as having a major villain role in Arrow.
- Cool Old Guy: Can be considered "old" by now but that hasn't mitigated his coolness and he can still do physically taxing roles.
- Dark and Troubled Past: See the Never Accepted in His Hometown-entry below.
- Evil Is Bigger: Given that he stands at 6'5, having a few inches even on Arnold Schwarzenegger, this trope naturally comes in to play whenever he plays a bad guy.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Has played quite a few villains and has the voice to match.
- Fake Russian: Has played a few, most notably Ivan Drago.
- Genius Bruiser: Not only is he known for being very strong and husky and a trained martial artist, but he has a Master's degree in Chemical Engineering. This trait is often reflected in his characters as well.
- Karate: His main fighting style is Kyokushin Karate in which he holds a fourth level black belt. He has also trained in Judo and a little bit of Taekwondo.
- Large and in Charge: His imposing size makes him a natural choice for leaders and general authority figures.
- Lightning Bruiser: He's very big and surprisingly quick and agile, able to match martial artists like Jet Li and Tony Jaa in combat.
- Mr. Fanservice: Especially in his younger days. Masters of the Universe has him go shirtless the whole film and spends a lot of time ogling his muscles.
- Never Accepted in His Hometown: Played straight and ultimately averted. Lundgren's acting, the often poor quality of his films and a failed media stunt where he pretended to have lost his ability to speak Swedish properly made him something of a joke in Sweden. However, after agreeing to host an episode of Summer on P1note he shocked the listeners by speaking openly about being abused as a child and starting bodybuilding to make up for his crippling insecurities. He followed this up with hosting Melodifestivalen, where the Swedish representative for the Eurovision song contest is selected, in 2010. He ended up being hailed as one of the best hosts ever, in particular for his performance of Elvis Presley's "A Little Less Conversation". This coincided with his minor Career Resurrection with The Expendables and nowadays Dolph Lundgren is much more well respected in Sweden as a pop-cultural figure.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Rarely makes any effort to cover his natural Swedish accent.
- Silver Fox: He's in his sixties with some grey hair but still ruggedly handsome and in very good shape.