- "It's better to reign in hell than serve in heaven!"
- ―Vladimir Lem to Alfred Woden
Vladimir "Vlad" Lem 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' enemy.
Not much is known about Vlad's life. It is unknown if he was born in Russia or USA. At some point in his life, Vlad was exposed to the world of drugs and gangs. He became a weapons dealer sometime after.
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.
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 running the old Ragna Rock nightclub, renamed "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;" meaning Max killing her. He then blows up Vinnie with his "Trojan Horse" - a giant Captain BaseBallBat-Boy costume 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 got Max's wife killed.
Eventually Max finds out the many truths about Vlad: he is an Inner Circle member, the Cleaning commandos are his men, and he is leading the coup d'état against Woden.
Final battle and death
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 try and stop him and kill Vlad. Near Woden's panic room, Mona tries to kill Max (due to Woden's order) but realises 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. While Vlad tries to get to the top floor of the manor, he tells Max that he finished the detective's revenge: "The murderer of your loved ones is dead!". Right before Lem dies he says that he [Vlad] was supposed to be the "hero." Vlad then leans on Woden's manor's chandelier which falls down to the first floor, with the mobster on it. Lem dies violently and his body gets set on fire.
Behind the scenes
Boss fight strategy
See That Old Familiar Feeling for more information.
- "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 must...Max, dearest of all my friends, I was supposed to be the hero..."
- ―Vlad's last words
- ↑ http://www.giantbomb.com/vladimir-lem/94-2933/
- ↑ "Announcing the Max Payne 3 Special Edition" on the Rockstar Newswire Retrieved November 21, 2011
|Max Payne • Alex Balder • B.B. • Jim Bravura • Vincent Gognitti • Nicole Horne • Mona Sax • Vladimir Lem • Jack Lupino • Michelle Payne • Angelo Punchinello • Alfred Woden
|Max Payne • Mona Sax • Jim Bravura • Vincent Gognitti • Kaufman • Vladimir Lem • Mike • Valerie Winterson • Alfred Woden