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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Minion

May 24, 2021 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
The Minion Dolph Lundgren

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #591: The Minion

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that isn’t going down to investigate what’s inside the tunnel under the old building or house or whatever the hell it is because when has that ever worked out for anyone, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number five hundred and ninety-one, I take a look at the weird beard action horror flick The Minion, which was released to home video in late September 1998.

The Minion


The Minion, also known as Fallen Knight and Knight of the Apocalypse in some parts of the world and directed by Jean-Marc Piche, is a weird as hell action horror flick. It doesn’t have enough horror in it, and while the action that we do get is decent enough, the movie could have used a lot more. There’s also an odd religious bent to the plot that makes it seem like it could have been one of those terrible low budget “Christian” apocalypse movies with a few different choices. The movie also features some of the worst “Canadian casts trying to act/talk like Americans” acting I’ve ever seen. At the same time, though, the movie does have its charms and is more entertaining than it probably should be.

The Minion stars Dolph Lundgren as Lukas Sadorov, an ex-Russian Special Forces operator who quit the service after a harrowing mission and became a member of a secret Christian sect that resembles the Templar Knights and, basically, fights the Devil all of the time. Lukas is called upon to travel to New York City and investigate a strange archaeological finding in a subway under construction (Karen Goodleaf, played by Francoise Robertson, is an archaeologist hired by the state to identify sacred objects and whatnot and she ends up finding what appears to be the burial crypt of a Templar Knight). Goodleaf is excited about what she has found as it’s evidence that the New World was “discovered” centuries before the Vikings or Columbus. Goodleaf also finds a gold key that, in the wrong hands, could destroy the world. Now, Goodleaf doesn’t know anything about the “the key could destroy the world” stuff until Lukas shows up and tells her, and when she does find out about it she doesn’t really believe it at first. I mean, really, who would? But then some incredibly strange things start happening.

How strange? Random people start attacking her. These random people are possessed by a demon, a Minion, that tends to show up whenever artifacts like the key are found and causes serious trouble. Lukas fights them and kills them with a special Templar Knight spiked glove thing. Killing these people doesn’t kill the Minion, though. The Minion can jump bodies, and it tends to do that quite often. So Lukas and Goodleaf have no idea who could be the next Minion.

So why is the key important? The key opens a door that allows the Devil to appear and destroy the world. Or something like that. There’s also a whole thing about the millennium ending and how that isn’t good. I don’t really understand all of the details.

And so Lukas and Goodleaf, after being attacked multiple times, decide to hit the road and find a place that they can hide the key so the Minion can’t get at it. Goodleaf suggests taking it to an Indian reservation that also happens to have a nuclear power plant on it. Goodleaf, a Native American, has family that work at the plant, and if they can get the key inside a super radioactive area of the plant, the Minion won’t be able to get at it because no human can survive the level of radiation in the super radioactive area. Or something like that. I don’t really understand why the Minion couldn’t take over a worker at the plant, put on a radiation suit, and walk into the super radioactive area to retrieve the key. But the plant scheme is the big plan.

The big plan, of course, fails miserably, and the Minion gets inside the plant and kills a bunch of people while retrieving the key (the key never really gets to the super radioactive part of the plant). The Minion then heads off to Jerusalem to use the key and open the door. Lukas and Goodleaf pursue.

Now, while all of that is going on, there’s also a subplot involving a cop (I believe this is Lt. Roseberry, as played by David Nerman) investigating the various Minion killings. Roseberry believes that Lukas is the one responsible for all of the death and destruction and he actually manages to capture Lukas and Goodleaf. The carnage doesn’t stop, obviously, as the police station Lukas and Goodleaf are being held at is attacked by the Minion. This leads to the Minion taking over the body of David Schulman (Roc LaFortune), Goodleaf’s archaeological mentor and a police consultant. And this takeover is how the Minion ultimately finds Lukas and Goodleaf, steals the key, and heads to Jerusalem. I didn’t really care for this subplot because it never feels important, and when you realize what’s happening with the Minion taking over Schulman’s body it doesn’t really hit you as all that important. And Roseberry really doesn’t do anything other than stand around and receive information from the other characters. He doesn’t get a big fight with the Minion or a shootout or anything. He’s just some guy in the movie. That seems like a big waste.

The Minion moves at a deliberate pace, which probably would have worked better if Lundgren hadn’t been the star of the movie. Had the movie featured an unknown actor as the Templar Knight, expectations would have been tempered a bit. If you have action icon Dolph Lundgren in your movie he better fight people and shoot people and blow shit up. When that doesn’t happen, or doesn’t happen enough, the movie feels like a mistake. And when the plot of the movie is all about the possible end of the world there should be a sense of urgency throughout, especially when the audience knows what the hell is going on. You never get that sense of urgency. On top of that, the movie takes place at the end of 1999 but that’s all we’re told. When Lukas and Greenleaf enter the nuclear plant we find out that it’s Christmas. Would this plant really have a full staff and be a big hooha bustling place on Christmas day? I doubt it. And if the end of the millennium matters when it comes to the possible end of the world shouldn’t the audience know, at all times, what’s at stake and how much time is left before the big event is supposed to happen? None of that happens. So why have any of that stuff in the movie? Why not just have it where the New York City tomb is uncovered, the Minion goes to New York, Lukas follows, we find out about the significance of the key, and that’s it? You don’t necessarily need a sense of urgency in that set up.

The movie definitely needs more action. The action bits that we do get are decent/pretty good, but none of them are particularly great. The sort of opening action parts, where Lukas arrives in New York City and starts fighting the Minion, are quite good. The spiked glove weapon that Lukas uses is cool as hell. It’s too bad that Lukas doesn’t use it throughout the movie. You’d think that a guy like Lukas, who essentially fights demons for a living, would have multiple spiked glove weapons at his disposal at all times. There’s a decent enough police station massacre, where the Minion shows up at the police station Lukas and Goodleaf are being held in. It should have been gorier/more elaborate, but the scene works. The final big showdown, where the Minion shows up in Jerusalem and the other knights try to fight him off, starts out quite well and then sort of peters out. The final fight should have been better.

And why isn’t this movie scarier? There are horror elements spread throughout the movie, but for whatever reason the movie never pulls the trigger on those horror elements. I’m just going to assume that the movie didn’t get gory because of Lundgren’s presence and the producers wanted an action movie, not a horror movie. It should have been gorier, though. If you have a killer demon that demon should be ripping people’s eyes and arms off and whatnot. Maybe that shouldn’t happen all of the time, but it should happen a few times. And who wouldn’t want to see Dolph Lundgren rip off a guy’s head? You know that would be awesome as hell.

The Canadian accents are super noticeable, which wouldn’t be a big deal if the movie took place in Canada (Why couldn’t a Templar Knight have a hidden tomb in Toronto or something?). But if you have a movie that takes place in New York City and all of your New York characters say “aboot” and shit like that you should really rethink your New York City setting. Lundgren’s accent is weird, too. He’s supposed to be an ex-Russian Special Forces operator, why doesn’t he have a Russian accent?

The movie’s religious content is bizarre because, when the Christian warrior Lukas hooks up with Goodleaf’s Native American family on the reservation, the movie becomes more religiously inclusive, but it doesn’t seem natural. It’s almost like the moviemakers decided, in the middle of the movie, that they didn’t want to make a low budget Christian weirdo movie and added the Native American religious ideas into the story. I know that isn’t what really happened but that’s the way the movie comes off.

Lundgren does a decent enough job as Lukas. He’s clearly devoted to the part and always does his best with what he has to do, but at the same time he seems all wrong for the part. He does a good job in the action bits he’s asked to do and he really tries to sell the significance of the possible end of the world. He almost succeeds. Lundgren has absolutely no chemistry at all with Francoise Robertson.

Robertson is, at best, okay as Karen Goodleaf. You don’t believe for one second that she’s an archaeologist and she seems uncomfortable most of the time with the material. And, again, she has absolutely zero chemistry with Lundgren, which is a huge problem as they spend so much time together. It’s hard to care about them as a team. No one else really stands out in the cast.

And yet, with all of the problems I have with this movie, The Minion, somehow, isn’t terrible. It has a certain charm to it, and it’s very watchable, even though none of it makes any sense. Even with all of the problems it has, you want to root for it and you kind of do. You want it to succeed even though you know that it probably isn’t. I would mind seeing this plot and idea redone with a different cast and a bigger emphasis on action, gore, and the horror of the situation in general. I think it would be worth doing.

Even with all of its problems, it’s worth checking out The Minion. It has its moments, and while his performance doesn’t really work it’s still fun to watch Dolph Lundgren do something different. I liked it. It’s got big problems, but I liked it.

See The Minion. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: At least 30.

Explosions: Not really.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: A radio DJ giving out the news, alleged daily New York City life, multiple bits of road construction, underground construction, two workers fall through the ground, hidden tomb, attempted theft, a human skeleton, attempted skeleton touching, a taxi ride, an attempted takedown of Christmas, tunic talk, monster attack, skeleton kicking, a spike glove weapon, electrocution, necklace stealing, attempted question asking, a drunk worker, attempted vehicular assault, fingers through the eyes, woman thrown out of a window, some stuff about Jerusalem, a weird black and white montage, shotgun hooey, Taser hooey, a fat female prostitute, attempted interrogation, a police station attack, a great sequence where cops are shot through glass windows in slow motion, a demon roar, face kicking, nuclear power plant hooey, a karate fight, attempted barricade, a grenade that explodes but we don’t see the explosion for some reason, machine gun massacre, ant-Christ hooey, more machine gun hooey, sword fight hooey, sword through the head, a talking demonic statue, and the prospect of a sequel that will likely never happen.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: Canadian actors really trying to do New York accents and failing at it, a municipal archaeologist (whatever the hell that is), a skeleton, taxis everywhere, Dolph Lundgren, Dolph Lundgren in a taxi, a potential Irish monk for some reason, Dolph Lundgren praying, asshole cops, Times Square, Dolph Lundgren attempting to explain what the hell is going on, brief verbal attack on Vatican II, the Holland Tunnel, “possible Celtic talisman,” a discussion about religion and sin, a full service gas station, a discussion of the human brain and brain diseases, a guy taking a shit in a jail cell, Dolph Lundgren doing a secret handshake with an old Indian, people working on Christmas day, a grenade that explodes but we don’t see the explosion, “God is dead!,” some statues that come alive, and the prospect of a sequel that will likely never happen.

Best lines: “I’m calling the union, man. Unsafe working conditions,” “So, where did you fly in from?,” “Hey, doc. Merry Christmas,” “Don’t look at his eyes!,” “That key is my life,” “Pride is a sin,” “Some questions are best left unanswered,” “Do I call you father? No. Call me Lukas,” “The city keeps getting weirder every year,” “For the last time where are we going?,” “So, what, you’re saying this guy is a history buff or something?,” “You saved my life, Karen. Thank you,” “Send it back to hell!,” “I’ve never heard you speak Mohawk before,” and “Screw the book. I’ll help.”

Rating: 6.0/10.0


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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

B-movies rule. Always remember that.

The Minion

Dolph Lundgren– Lukas Sadorov
Francoise Robertson– Karen Goodleaf
Roc LaFortune– David Schulman
David Nerman– Lt. Roseberry
Don Francks– Chief Michael Bear
Michael Greyeyes– Gray Eagle

(check out the rest of the cast here)

Directed by Jean-Marc Piche
Screenplay by Mat Roe and Ripley Highsmith, based on a story by Matt Roe

Distributed by Buena Vista Home Video, Touchstone Home Video, and Kino Lorber

Rated R for violence and language
Runtime– 95 minutes

Buy it here