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Why Kozlow From Abduction Looks So Familiar

The 2011 movie "Abduction" has been trending on Netflix this week, despite its 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film, however, featured a stellar cast that many moviegoers will recognize. Aside from "Twilight" mainstay Taylor Lautner, the film starred Sigourney Weaver, Alfred Molina, Maria Bello, and Lily Collins. Viewers may also note that the actor who plays the main villain, Nikola Kozlow, looks rather familiar.

Played by actor Michael Nyqvist, Kozlow is a terrorist trying to track down 18-year-old Nathan Harper (Lautner), whose biological father, Martin, stole an encrypted list of corrupt CIA operatives from Kozlow when Nathan was only a child. To protect Nathan, Martin trusted him with adoptive parents, but Kozlow devised a plan to find Nathan by posting his picture on a missing children's website. When Nathan and his classmate (played by Collins) are assigned a school project on missing children, he discovers his true identity and alerts Kozlow to his whereabouts, endangering everyone he loves. 

While Nyqvist's turn as the smooth-talking terrorist is one of the movie's bright spots, it's far from his most notable role. 

He originated a lead role in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist started his career in Europe. He first found success on the Swedish TV series "Beck," where he played a police officer in 1997, according to IMDb. His film career started in Swedish productions such as "Together," which earned him the Best Actor award at the Gijón International Film Festival. He had the lead role in "As It Is in Heaven," which was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Film category in 2004, gaining him international attention. 

However, it wasn't until he landed the lead role of Mikael Blomkvist in the Swedish miniseries "Millennium," adapted from the best-selling novels by Stieg Larsson, that Nyqvist became a major film star in Sweden, propelling him toward an acting career in the United States. The miniseries was theatrically released in three parts in 2009: "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," "The Girl Who Played With Fire," and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest." Nyqvist originated the role that Daniel Craig later brought to life in David Fincher's 2011 American film adaptation of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" — that of the investigative journalist who teams with rebellious computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to uncover a series of murders and instances of corruption. According to Box Office Mojo, the Swedish film version grossed almost $105 million worldwide.

Nyqvist has also played notable villains

"Abduction" was Michael Nyqvist's first major Hollywood film, but its poor reviews didn't affect his chances at other roles. In 2011, he was also cast in "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" as the story's villain, Cobalt, who believed a global war would restore ecological balance to the planet. The movie was the highest-grossing entry in the "Mission Impossible" film series until "Mission Impossible: Fallout," according to Box Office Mojo, and sources such as The Independent Critic called Nyqvist's performance "top notch." 

Not long after, Nyqvist was cast as a series regular on the 2013 ABC series "Zero Hour," playing a mercenary known as White Vincent who seemingly abducted the wife of a publisher of a paranormal-skeptics magazine after she unknowingly purchased a holy relic from a boardwalk vendor. The show only lasted 13 episodes before being canceled, but it helped showcase his ability to play complex villains. 

He's best remembered for his role in John Wick

Michael Nyqvist might be best known for his role in 2014's "John Wick" as Viggo, a Russian mob boss whose son was targeted by the titular hitman played by Keanu Reeves. As the film's antagonist, he also had a large influence on the events in the sequel and remains one of the action film series' most popular villains, with some fans on Reddit taking his side against the title character.

One of Nyqvist's last films was the 2018 thriller "Hunter Killer." Here, he played Sergei Andropov, a Russian captain of a submarine destroyed through sabotage. It was another complex role in which audiences were uncertain of Andropov's motivations until the end of the film, where he proved himself to be a noble authority figure to whom his crew was loyal. Before that movie's release, Nyqvist died from lung cancer at age 56, according to The Hollywood Reporter, cutting short a burgeoning career.

In a heartfelt video posted to his Facebook page, his "Hunter Killer" co-star Gerard Butler remembered Nyqvist as one of his favorite co-stars for his "incredible humility and warmth" and his talent as an actor, adding, "It breaks my heart we're never going to sit together and watch this movie."