Red Scorpion Revisited
Dolph Lundgren came pretty close the becoming an action mega-star. In the late eighties, hot on the heels of playing Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, he played He-Man in Masters of the Universe, but the film, hampered by a low budget, was a notable flop. For his follow-up, Lundgren would virtually reprise Drago, albeit this time as a hero, in the action extravaganza Red Scorpion. In it, Lundgren plays a Soviet Spetsnaz operative sent to capture a freedom fighter in an African country ruled by the Soviets. Soon, he betrays his Soviet overlords, switching sides to save the people he realizes are only fighting for their freedom. Sound a bit like Rambo? It is, but it’s still a cheesy, fun slice of eighties nostalgia.
In this episode of Reel Action (written and narrated by Travis Hopson, edited by E.J. Tangonan), we chart the movie’s tumultuous production history, with it being financed by the infamous Jack Abramoff and shot under Apartheid rule, which led to the film being dumped by the studio that was initially supposed to distribute it. In the end, bad press and the fact that the Cold War was just about over by the time Red Scorpion hit the big screen meant it wasn’t the ticket to big-screen stardom Lundgren might have hoped for, but it still became a cult classic.
Do you think Red Scorpion is underrated eighties cheese? Let us know in the comments!
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