Newest Reviews
We Summon the Darkness
Call Northside 777
Cup of Cheer
Lost at Christmas
Super Robot Mach Baron
Battle of Jangsari, The
Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan
Safe Spaces
Stanford Prison Experiment, The
Assassination in Rome
Castle Freak
Brother Bear
Raiders of Buddhist Kung Fu
County Lines
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Covert Action
Strangler's Web
House of Bamboo
Murder Me, Monster
Hell and High Water
Miserables, Les
Ritz, The
Girls of the Sun
Princess and the Goblin, The
Incredible Kung Fu Mission
Dirty Cops
You Cannot Kill David Arquette
Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist
Son's Room, The
Evil Hits Evil
Newest Articles
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
  Universal Soldier The Future Of Flaw Enforcement
Year: 1992
Director: Roland Emmerich
Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Ally Walker, Ed O'Ross, Jerry Orbach, Leon Rippy, Tico Wells, Ralf Moeller, Robert Trebor, Gene Davis, Drew Snyder, Tommy 'Tiny' Lister, Simon Rhee, Eric Norris, Michael Winther, Joseph Malone, Allan Graf
Genre: Action, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: During the Vietnam War in 1968, one of the Privates, Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) was involved in his platoon pulling out from the region they were stationed in when he was forced to confront his Sergeant, Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) for whom the stress of battle had proven too much. When Luc walked in on him not only making a necklace out of the ears of the men he had killed, but terrorising a pair of innocent Vietnamese civilians, he knew it was time to act and tried to talk him down, but it was no use, Scott executed them both, one with his gun and the other with a hand grenade. Then he turned his attentions to Luc, and in the ensuing scuffle they both wound up dead at the other's hands...

Ah, but you don't kill off the two reasons anyone went to see this back in 1992, and sure enough they were resurrected as the Universal Soldiers, part of the Anusol - sorry, Unisol division of once dead but perfectly preserved fallen combatants who have been thawed out of their deep freeze containment and are now getting up to such shenanigans as destroying masses of terrorists, or the sort you got in nineties movies anyway, which had little connection to the real world. But then, you didn't watch a Van Damme movie, or a Lundgren movie for that matter, for their stark realism and this was strictly science fictional action we were dealing with, of a sort that James Cameron had ushered in during the eighties.

Yet Universal Soldier owed more to the grunt and shoot action flicks that Sylvester Stallone had brought to the big screen with the fantastical elements reserved for explaining why the invincible soldiers were able to keep hammering on in spite of bullet wounds and even explosions. Seeing as how pretty much any action star of the period was able to do so without the benefit of any made up technology you might wonder why they even bothered with the explanation, but it was a Dean Devlin scripted and Roland Emmerich directed film and they did prefer to include some sci-fi motivation for his mayhem. Even if this was a project that did not originate with Emmerich, it was fairly neatly slotting into his overall body of work.

And led to their blockbuster success Stargate shortly after, then Independence Day and so forth, efforts that sound pretty fun on paper but wore out their welcome for most when they actually watched them. Universal Soldier was a basic pie and mash deal when it came to nourishing motion picture interests, you were never more than ten minutes away from an action sequence and they were presented with enough efficiency not to get boring, yet there was a certain spark of personality lacking to the affair. Even Dolph's one-liners included "Are we having fun yet?" among other uninspired quips, dialogue that was overused as a baddie riposte even in 1992, and in spite of needing regular freezing to replenish their powers, the hi-tech undead soldiers never did anything surprising.

One thing you could depend on was the explanation for Jean-Claude's accent, that was, just how did a Belgian end up fighting for the United States during Nam? That was tied in with the end where we met Luc's parents in their isolated farmhouse, so isolated that all the young Luc heard growing up were his parents' intonations so there you had it, another watertight excuse. But being a veteran, he had to have flashbacks to the conflict as well, which is how he and Scott come back to the memories of their origins, only while Luc is a genial robot kind of guy a la Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Scott remains thoroughly off his rocker, hence the road movie turned pitched battle through Arizona that breaks out. To accompany Luc and prove he's not a homosexual no matter what those shots of his unclad arse may stir in male viewers was TV reporter Ally Walker, who we can tell is hardbitten since she chainsmokes, but that's her defining characteristic, after all Luc needed a damsel in distress to rescue. This spawned a bunch of sequels, but the first is a middling reminder of what was acceptable in action of the nineties. Music by Christopher Franke.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1564 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg


Last Updated: