- "I'm gonna put your lights out."
- ―Dugan to Mr. Miyagi [src]
Colonel Paul Dugan (often referred to as simply "Colonel Dugan" or "Dugan") is the main antagonist of The Next Karate Kid. He was the instructor of the Alpha Elite. He is portrayed by Michael Ironside.
Fictional Character Biography
Based on his brief history, he was a real Colonel in the U.S. Army. Dugan's rank of Colonel is likely a reference to John Kreese, who was a Colonel in the Vietnam War. Based on his age, it is possible that Dugan was in the Vietnam War and potentially knew Kreese, and possibly even Terry Silver. Dugan eventually left the military sometime before he applied for his position at the high school. He used what he learned in the army on his students and tried to force more serious techniques on them. Dugan's time in the military had obviously hardened him and made him quite a bit paranoid, as he believed that the war had come to America and that schools were targets of various types of threats, from both minor things such as vandalism to major threats like terrorism. Dugan secretly loved the position of power he got to exercise over his students and enjoyed easily beating them up while claiming that he was trying to "train" them.
The Next Karate Kid
He leads a JROTC-style program called the Alpha Elite at Julie's high school in Boston, Massachusetts, and his style of instruction and morals he instills upon his students are very similar to those of John Kreese from the earlier films. Dugan hates Mr. Miyagi for disrupting his school and his students that attend. He even hated Julie for interfering in their life when she gave them trouble.
He has the police and the school on his side. Eric McGowen was a member of Dugan's class and he needs his recommendation for the Air Force Academy. Eric saw his true colors and how they treat Julie and he got out. They settled this in Mortal Combat. Ned Randall, who was quite similar to Johnny Lawrence and Mike Barnes, was the squad leader of Dugan's team and his prized student. He spent most of his time harassing Julie and Eric. Ned challenged Eric in combat at "The Docks".
Ned won, beating Eric in the ground, and Dugan ordered his students to torch Eric's car, causing it to explode. Ned also wanted to challenge Julie, because he had a crush on her and was angry that she rejected his advances. Julie defeated Ned in combat and Dugan commanded his other students to kill Eric and then take on Julie. But they were done with him and his program. Miyagi challenges Dugan to see who is the better man and ended up defeating and humiliating him.
Dugan's students saw his true colors and ditched him and his program. He lost his students, his program and his dignity when he was defeated by Mr. Miyagi for good. The Alpha Elite was shut down for good when his students ditched him after seeing his true colors. His later fate is unknown.
- "The war is not over because one battle is lost!"
- ―Colonel Dugan to his students [src]As mentioned earlier, he was a part of the army, which means he had developed a cold and serious demeanor. He's very authoritative and strict when it comes to a student disobeying him or getting in trouble. Dugan is likely on par with John Kreese as far as threat level and insanity go, except he is slightly worse as he is much colder and authoritarian. He also tried to convince his students to kill Eric (one of his own students, no less), had his students destroy a car with explosives and advocated for cruel and unusual punishment - instructing his students to force people to pick up and eat the litter they dropped. These are things Kreese never even did. Based on his personality, Dugan is likely either a psychopath or a sociopath.
The character of Colonel Dugan has largely been overshadowed and forgotten, but the character's total insanity is deemed somewhat memorable, even being pointed out by The Nostalgia Critic in his review of the film. In the Den Of Geek article "Ten Remarkable Things About The Next Karate Kid", the character of Colonel Dugan is listed at number two. The article reads: "Yes, one of the finest character actors currently working appears in The Next Karate Kid. Curiously, the filmmakers introduce this talented performer not with a grand, villainous entrance (because, let’s face it, when Michael Ironside appears on a movie’s credits, you can be fairly certain he’s playing a bad guy), but with a montage cut to M-People’s Moving On Up. While this up-tempo 90s dance number plays in the background, Ironside skulks in a high school corridor, a vein on the right side of his head subtly pulsing. We’ll get to exactly who Ironside plays in a moment, but for now, his expression says it all: this is the man who really hates M-People."
- Dugan is the only main antagonist to be defeated by Mr. Miyagi in the film's climax.