Directed by: Dolph Lundgren
Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Matthew Tompkins, and John Enos III
Ryder (Dolph) is a mysterious man on a motorcycle who rides into a dusty ol’ southwestern town. Knowing only that he always carries his bible around, and that he likes tequila, be befriends a family of Native Americans, but makes enemies with the local (and prerequisite) evil land baron, Reno (Tompkins), and his goons. Reno even tries to get some bikers to take Ryder down, led by the charismatic Jarfe (Enos III). Reno wants to take the land from the Indians (if you can still call them that?) and build his own casino. But Ryder doesn’t approve of his ruthless, murdering tactics, so he deals with them the only way they understand: with some shotgun justice! Will Ryder rip the bolo ties off this new crop of middle-aged punks?
We don’t want to go too hard here, as there are some cool parts herein. John Enos III of Bullet (1996) and Stealth Fighter (1999) fame unquestionably steals the movie as Jarfe. He only shows up towards the end, but he should have been the main villain instead of Reno. As stated earlier, Missionary Man boasts a cool concept, but it’s just so derivative, it becomes hard to be invested. To overcome this, there should have been more excitement and edge. The movie needed a literal and figurative punch-up.
And it doesn’t hurt that the colors on the DVD are all weird. Supposedly there were some technical issues that weren’t resolved in time, so the movie has a washed-out, grainy look that doesn’t do it any favors. But if you always wanted to see Dolph instead of Lamas in an episode of “Renegade”, here you go. Plus Lamas’ name in “Renegade” is Reno Raines, and the baddie here is named Reno. Coincidence?
But there’s no denying Dolph is cool, and his CSI-like trading of his sunglasses for granny-style reading glasses is a nice touch. But his coolness alone isn’t enough to overcome the flaws of Missionary Man. The bottom line is the Missionary Man concept should have gotten a better execution.
Yes, it’s run-of-the-mill plotwise, but there are some definite standout moments. It’s tough, but we just can’t put our full blessing behind Missionary Man.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty