Xander Ronson (Lundgren) is hired to a lead man named Chambers (William Shriver) and his step daughter on an expedition to find an ancient artifact in the mountains of Mongolia.
If you are watching Diamond Dogs, you should know exactly what you are getting – Dolph Lundgren kicking some ass.
Dolph plays Xander Ronson, a man running from a troubled past and now living in Mongolia. During the opening voice over, we learn that he offers security, but hasn’t had a client in two years. He makes money off the locals by working fights with a friend who makes bets on him to win, which he always does. When the movie starts we get a scene right out of a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie as underground fights take place, with money changing hands like candy around the room. Xander comes out as the town’s champion and beats up a giant Mongolian. Before they can celebrate, the police charge in and arrest everyone.
Thanks to the two years without a client, Xander has apparently racked up over $20,000 in debt, which will get him thrown in prison for a long time if he doesn’t pay it back in the next two weeks. Luck comes his way when a businessman named Chambers offers him $100,000 to be head of security and guide as he searches for an ancient Buddhist artifact in the Mongolian mountains. When he offers $25,000 up front, Xander agrees, pays his debts and sets off with Chambers to find this treasure. We also learn at this time that Xander was one of the most highly decorated Green Beret’s in the US Military, but also was responsible for his entire unit being killed at one point. He was the best, and worst, the U.S. had to offer.
That is all the back story we need.
The movie wants to be a type of Indiana Jones or National Treasure adventure. It never reaches that level, but who really cares about that? This is a direct to DVD, B-Movie, and once you throw out all your expectations for decent acting and accept the plot contrivances, you can sit back and enjoy watching Lundgren killing everyone getting in his way. Along for the trip is Chambers’ step daughter Anika (Nan), who provides a slight romantic interest for Dolph. There are also a number of associates and bodyguards, one which bears a scary resemblance to Jake Busey.
The direction is solid but the acting is atrocious. The camera work is also solid, but anytime it is not daylight, the picture gets grainy and ugly. Once again, none of that should matter to a person seeking out this movie. Dolph Lundgren is one of the best actors in this movie, which should tell you something about the rest of the cast. There is also nothing in the way of story past the journey to get the artifact, a glorified MacGuffin. There is some nonsense late in the movie about a curse on the artifact that will kill anyone who tries to take it, but will spare the brave soul who returns it in one piece. But a MacGuffin is a McGuffin, and this is no more important that the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark. It is actually less important.
And there is dialogue like this. During the fight at the beginning of the movie, Xander was getting his butt kicked by the Mongolian giant. Once his friend made a new bet, he stood up and said: “I’ve got some bad news for you big guy. The odds just went up, and you’re going down.” That’s Dolph Lundgren’s big one liner.
The body count is high. Only Xander steps out of the flames in one piece, and in that final scene the director pays homage to The Searchers, showing that Xander will always be a loner, a man without a home, yet honorable and strong. I was surprised with that last shot following the bloodbath that came before. It tells me the director’s heart was in the right place. However, at the end it’s a fun, dumb action movie and is exactly what you should expect from this DTD release.
There is a Making-Of that is narrated by Shahar Stroh, the associate producer. It is slight and exists only to praise Lundgren. That’s not a bad thing, but it is short and offers no real information. There are also previews for other movies.