Have no fear, Vlad is here!
~ Vladimer "Vlad" Lem's famous catchphrase

Vladimir "Vlad" Lem is the secondary antagonist in the Max Payne series, being a supporting character in the 2001 video game Max Payne, the main antagonist of the 2003 sequel Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne and a posthumous antagonist in Max Payne 3. He is a Russian mobster, arms-dealer, and the leader of the Russian Mob in New York City. He is engaged in a violent war with the Punchinello crime family. Fighting the mobsters, Vlad makes an alliance with Max Payne but, a few years later, he gets power hungry and ultimately becomes Max's enemy.

He was voiced by Dominic Hawksley and Jonathan Davis.

In the Game


Not much is known about Vlad's life. It is unknown if he was born in Russia or the USA. At some point in his life, Vlad was exposed to the world of drugs and gangs. He became a weapons dealer sometime after.

In New York City, Vlad started his own Russian Mob. The Mob's main enemies were the Punchinello mob family.

Vlad re-started a brutal and bloody mob war with Punchinello family. Vlad, however, was not the instigator of this war as according to a letter written by Vinnie Gognitti, the mob had made a hit on his weapons shipments which was believed to have left the Russians too weak to fight back.

A side-conflict in the war was the rivalry between Lem and Gognitti; The two hated and wanted to kill each other.

Vlad was also the protégé of Alfred Woden, the central member of the Inner Circle.


First actions

In 2001, Vladimir Lem is first seen driving away from Jack Lupino's bombed out apartment building, after setting a powerful bomb near the place, thus continuing the gang war between the Russian and Italian mobs.

"An Offer You Can't Refuse"

Vladimir returns to help Max out. After hearing about him killing so many mobsters, Vlad arrives back at the hotel to give Max a lift, to propose a truce and to make him "an offer he couldn't refuse:" Sending Max to kill one of his former lieutenants, Boris Dime, who has crossed over to Punchinello's side.

Max complies and, following with Vlad's apparent code of ethics, he allows Max to use some of his heavy weaponry and promises to help whenever he wants.


Second Mob War

In 2003, the war has heated up some, but thanks to Max's help, the Russians were able to hit back at the Mafia harder than ever, leaving Vlad a very successful man, wearing expensive suits and buying Lupino's Ragna Rock nightclub after his death, turning it into a classy restuarant "Vodka". But Vlad soon becomes greedy and decides to wipe out the entire mob completely. Moreover, Vlad decides to rid himself of Max Payne by placing a hit on him.

Mona Sax is the one who shoots Vlad in the arm during one of their run-ins. That is why he is in an arm sling when Max saves him at Vodka.


Vlad had lied. The cleaning company commandos were his men.
~ Max Payne

Vlad dates Winterson, Max's partner. She is in love with him, attracted by him due to his his attention to her and her blind child. When Vlad captures both Max and Vinnie at Mona's hideout, he shoots Max in the head for the "insults done to his lady;" aka Max kills Winterson. He then blows up Vinnie with his "Trojan Horse" - a giant Captain BaseBallBat-Boycostume with a bomb in it, thus ending the two men's rivalry. Before he shoots Max, he tells him Alfred Woden sent the Valhalla files to the D.A., which, in return, had gotten Michelle Payne killed.

Eventually Max finds out the many truths about Vlad: he is an Inner Circle member, the Cleaning Company commandeers his men, and he is leading the coup d'état against Woden.

Final Battle and Demise

When Vlad arrives at Woden's manor, he leads an attack against Woden; Woden's own bodyguards betray him and join Vlad. Max and Mona Sax go there as well to stop him and kill Vlad. Near Woden's panic room, Mona tries to kill Max (due to Woden's order), but realizes that she can't. That's when Vlad shoots Mona in the back. Woden then comes out and tells Vlad to stop the killing, and himself tries to disarm Vlad, only to be shot to death. Max attacks Vlad and disarms him. During the fight with Max, Vlad blows up the bomb under them, causing the floor to collapse. Then he makes a run for it, throwing whatever he has left at Max, but Max manages to get through all the guards. In the end, Vlad reaches the top part of the manor, a platform from where he throws explosives. Max shoots the weak points of the platform, causing Vlad to get closer to him enough so that Payne can get a shot at him. As the remains of the platform collapse down together with Lem and his Molotovs, his corpse falls down on the ground floor burning.


Bang. You're dead, Max Payne.
~ Seeing Max Payne.
Have no fear, Vlad is here!
~ One of Vladimir's catchphrases.
Dearest of all my friends!
~ One of Vladimir's catchphrases.
Ha ha ha, that was...Max, dearest of all my friends, I was supposed to be the hero...
~ Vlad's last words.


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