Universal Soldier (1992)
Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren play archenemies from beyond the grave in this action film. During the Vietnam War, Luc (Van Damme), hoping to be sent home, comes upon blood-crazy Scott (Lundgren), who is starting a one-man genocide program. When Luc tries to stop Scott's carnage, Scott fights back and they end up killing each other. But now the government gets involved, cryogenically freezing their corpses and using their bodies in a secret government project call "UniSols" --turning the dead men into android fighting machines. Luc and Scott are now metallic fighting members of a robot SWAT team. But Luc begin to have flashbacks to the final moments of his life in Vietnam, as does Scott, who recalls that one of his final thoughts was to kill Luc. Meanwhile, a snoopy reporter named Veronica (Ally Walker) stumbles upon the secret of the UniSols, and soon Luc is trying to save both himself and Veronica from the wrath of Scott, who is trying to kill them both. All of the action culminates in a wild chase between a prison bus and a UniSols van, racing around hairpin turns on desert precipices. … More
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Critic Reviews for Universal Soldier
Mostly this is an amalgam of ideas, images and whole scenes lifted from other movies.
Mr. Lundgren, who glowers his way all too convincingly through the role of a rabid bully, may well be the only man in the universe who can make Mr. Van Damme look like an actor.
Though the idea is dumb enough to be fun, director Roland Emmerich does the Terminator thing without much style, and the two stars bash into each other but never connect.
I suppose there is a market for this sort of thing among bubblebrained adolescents of all ages, but it takes a good chase scene indeed to rouse me from the lethargy induced by dozens and dozens of essentially similar sequences.
The action and the campiness barrel along in entertaining counterpoint. You can laugh when you're not absorbed with truck chases.
There's a decent bit of escapism in here somewhere, but Emmerich doesn't possess the finesse to make the material rampage as it should.
There are some pretty decent stunts-especially the one where the two main Uni-Sols go rappelling face-first down Hoover Dam-but they hardly make this $23-million turkey worth your eight bucks.
With no real plot tying them together, the impressively staged big scenes become empty exercises in logistics, while the smaller scenes never develop any momentum.
It may be little more than an expensive arcade game for overgrown kids, but it moves too fast for critical flak to stick.
Roland Emmerich's best film, and Lundgren's best acting job. Admittedly that ain't saying much in either case, but a fun flick all in all.
In the end, the main drawback is the brainlessness of the story and the lack of a believable emotional payoff.
Carolco seems to cut these guys out with cookie cutters. They seem to be martial artists with foreign accents, and the way some people habitually smoke after sex, they pun after killing people.
Universal Soldier may flex its muscles at every opportunity, but it's still second-rate Schwarzenegger.
Audience Reviews for Universal Soldier
Universal Soldier is among Roland Emmerich better works as a director. The film is a fun and entertaining popcorn flick that no one should take seriously. The plot is pretty good, and though not too great is a pretty cool idea in terms of Si Fi action. Acting wise, there are some so-so performances from the cast, but Lundgren and Van Damme are pretty good considering their lack of talent. They're perfect for the roles they play as it doesn't really require any great acting. This one should appeal to fans of mindless action films, and if you're looking for sheer entertainment value, Universal Soldier will surely give you what you're looking for in terms of effective thrills and interesting concept. Emmerich is not a good directing, but at times, he can create something watchable, and along Independence Day, The Patriot and Day After Tomorrow, Universal Soldier is one of his most entertaining films. Don't expect anything great with this one, as it is very flawed, but manages to overcome its weaknesses by delivering good action sequences that are designed to thrill and entertain the viewer looking for memorable thrills. This film has been compared to The Terminator, and I can see why, in some respects. Nonetheless, the film works well enough to separate itself from The Terminator by exploring new territory. If you enjoy mindless action flicks, then definitely give this one a shot. The film lacks any great performances, but it doesn't try to be an accomplished film in terms of acting, or truly remarkable story. This is a popcorn action flick, pure and simple and it doesn't try to be anything more than that. A definite must see for action fans looking for very good action and thrills.More
The first and easily the best of the entire franchise methinks. This Emmerich film is clearly a better and well funded film than all the rest. Its glossy all over from the camera angles, costumes, explosions and editing to the superb finale fight.
Totally over the top violence and with a very over used robot/cyborg plot line (can't really help but mention 'The Terminator' here, sorry). But this is still a good solid action flick, possibly Lundgren's best as well. The final showdown between Van Damme and Lundgren is seriously epic, very tense and Lundgren being pretty darn intimidating in his 'pyscho zone'. The way he is so unstable makes for a very nerve racking character to watch.
Some of the sequences where he questions people or attacks them is actually pretty violent. The guy is like a rabid dog as he tears people apart, knives them or just guns them down...'are we having fun yet!?'. Lundgren really pulls out all the stops with this badass bad guy, highly impressive.
Visuals are good all the way through and like I said all the action is first rate with some great fights. JCVD in the bluecollar diner is nice, also the initial sequence with all the UniSols at the start is cool. Well some are your typical JCVD fights and setups basically but we know and love em right. Walker is cute, Lundgren is fudging evil and its all very predictable of course, like so many other similar action fests.
Its a much darker affair than most of JCVD's work if you ask me, very gritty and dirty with some real adrenaline flowing through the finale. You really feel the heat and sweat at the end, and if you're not cheering for 'Devereaux' to kick 'Scott's' ass then there's something wrong with you.
Cheesy as hell (check some of the dialog) but holy shit this is a riot. High bodycount assured.
Not critically very good however the story was interesting and it was just something easy and fun to watch. Van Damme and Lundgren were good in the roles (although not great) but it's just a good watch if you want something easy.More
Hilarious movie. You can't go wrong with Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren as robots, laughable and absurd in the vein of Commando. Hollywood typically generates hit movies when they put bad actors into robot roles, that's dat robot power.More
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