Re­venge is Swede

Regina Leader-Post - - WEEKEND - MARK DANIELL twit­ter.com/markhdaniell

PHILADEL­PHIA Af­ter play­ing one of the most iconic vil­lains in the Rocky movie fran­chise, Dolph Lund­gren is get­ting back in the ring to take an­other swing.

In Creed II, the 61-year-old Swede is back play­ing the role that made him a star, men­tor­ing his son, Vik­tor (played by Flo­rian Mun­teanu), who takes on Ado­nis Creed (Michael B. Jor­dan), the son of the man Drago killed in the ring in Rocky IV.

If the Drago we met in 1985 seemed like an un­beat­able ma­chine, the one we en­counter in 2018 is the shell of his for­mer self.

“There’s a lot of pain and anger and re­venge themes in there — and that drives my char­ac­ter for­ward. He’s relentless and doesn’t care about any­thing; he just has to win. It’s win at any cost. Son, no son, what­ever he has to do to win, he does.”

Q It’s been 33 years since Rocky IV. Did you feel you had un­fin­ished busi­ness with Drago?

A Yeah, I did. It’s a pow­er­ful pic­ture, and it’s lived on and it’s sur­vived. It’s time­less in a way; even in the way it was shot. It has stood the test of time, whereas some movies from the ’80s haven’t — they just look dated. But Rocky IV still has punch to it, emo­tion­ally and vis­ually. Creed II is dif­fer­ent, but it still packs an emo­tional punch — for ev­ery­one, re­ally.

It’s re­ally about fam­ily; fa­thers and sons. I think that’s a great thing, es­pe­cially in to­day’s world where there’s a lot of sabre-rat­tling and us ver­sus them talk. There re­ally are no bad guys out there, just a se­quence of events. We’re all part of it, and that’s how the movie works, too.

Q In the years since Rocky IV, you’ve worked with Sylvester Stal­lone mul­ti­ple times. How did it feel to be fac­ing him again as Drago?

A It felt a bit bizarre and a lit­tle un­real. I’ve done three Ex­pend­ables films and we’re on the same side, but to be fac­ing down each other in the ring again it was a lit­tle un­set­tling. There’s some­thing about him. His look, his en­ergy, my en­ergy and when you cut back and forth, it’s pretty strong. It has a lit­tle bit of magic. Es­pe­cially when we’re up against one an­other. We have a few scenes that are both phys­i­cal and emo­tional.

Q What about the re­la­tion­ship you have with Sly? You just men­tioned three Ex­pend­ables movies.

A Yeah, we’ve done five movies. I don’t know who else he’s done five pic­tures with. I don’t know why, it just hap­pens that our des­tinies have been in­ter­twined. I didn’t know any­thing when he hired me. I was a kid, and I hadn’t done any­thing. He be­came a friend and a bit of a men­tor and some­one that I looked up to a lot, and I still do. He’s an ac­com­plished, clever guy.

Q What’s Ivan’s driv­ing pur­pose in this movie?

A My char­ac­ter is all about get­ting back what was taken from him and to win at all costs. That’s it, that’s my goal. I’m us­ing my son as my tool, but I start to re­al­ize that per­haps there are other things in life as well. It’s not easy. Thirty years of pain is what fu­els the guy. That was the tough part of the per­for­mance be­cause Steven (Caple Jr., the di­rec­tor), wanted all that. He wanted me to show that pain on screen.

Q Ivan had a pretty fa­mous catch­phrase in the Rocky IV — “I must break you.” Is that go­ing to come back in Creed II?

A They bring back some of those clas­sics, but in a slightly dif­fer­ent way.

Dolph Lund­gren

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