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Monday, April 7, 2014
(1998) Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business
SCIENCE-FICTION ACTION DRAMA
Slightly better than the previous one called "Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms", but still quite awful, overall, because of the production budget and the fake looking action scenes. Matt Battaglia returns to the title role of "Universal Soldier" Luc Devereaux or GR44, and viewers get to find out what 'G.R.' stands for which are the initials of every 'Universal Soldier' cyborg ever created. They are really the initials of someone's name, who is the person who funded the cyborg program played by Burt Reynolds. And at the same time, both Luc and reporter Veronica Roberts (Chandra West) must find a way to expose this to the media. They are confronted by radical terrorists attempting to hijack a building, but after shot dead, they are later turned into Universal Soldier cyborgs as well. One of the major fights, which is kind of lame, consist of a major fight between brother to brother.
2 out of 4 stars
The film can be compared to taking a bite off a big smelly dog poop. Impossible to recommend to anyone.
Marginally better than the previous installment as criminals are now regenerated to make a gold heist. Surely the low for Burt Reynolds, I'm not sure what accent he is doing here.
Time Pass, Good Fighting Scenes!
I have actually come to a point in my life that I believe I have watched too many movies. The simple fact that I sat through "Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business", despite LOATHING Universal Soldier II, proves to me I need to lay off films for a while and do some more house work my wife keeps nagging me about or perhaps do some more studying to get a masters degree in law. Hell mowing the lawn sounds much more exciting than sitting through this shit.
Now that I've calmed down a bit I must welcome you to another episode of the Universal Soldier TV show .This episode is titled "Unfinished Business." As you can tell from my sarcasm this TV junk sequel, like it's predecessor, has the exact same shitty "TV show" production values complete with the mind numbingly bad title sequence and awful performance by Matt Battaglia. Also what's with the subtitle Unfinished Business? That has to be one of the most uninteresting subtitles to a an "action" film EVER! If it was up to me they should have left this sequel "unfinished" and let the negative rot in someone's wine cellar.
Our film takes place right after Universal Soldier II and after a lame recap of that film (which again reminds me of a two part TV episode), we have our GR 44 UniSol and his reporter girlfriend mourning the death of his brother. From there the plot is basically the same with them trying to bring down the corrupt government organization responsible for the Universal Soldier project and the government (lead by Burt Reynolds) trying to capture them. A snorefest ensues. Perhaps the most ridiculous concept is the introduction of the government growing universal soldiers from fetuses at an accelerated rate.
Instead of filming these two TV made sequels back-to-back, they should have concentrated on making one TV made sequel that actually have some QUALITY to it and perhaps a more condensed, comprehensive plot. As it is they made two shitty sequels instead of 1 decent one, spreading their sparse financial resources far too thin resulting in talky, nearly action-less and completely forgettable sequels to a surprisingly enjoyable original.
I got this film in a rare out-of-print Double Feature with Universal Soldier II at a Pawn shop for a measly $3. I have come to the conclusion that the Pawn Shop should have paid me $3 to take it off their hands. Why am I keeping it your asking? Well I keep it cause I like to fuck with people who think that the theatrical film Universal Soldier: The Return is the second film in the franchise, until I blow the dust off this little turd on my DVD shelf. It's funny to see them get that quizzical yet excited look until they attempt to watch the damn things and their magical Universal Soldier imagination land comes crashing down in a wall of flame. Do yourself a favor, leave these sequels undiscovered. You will be much more happy, trust me.
Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren together... oh, sweet success! Shocked as you may be, as was I, this Universal Soldier DVD-only movie is not all that bad! What makes this movie pretty good is that the action is mixed in with very minimal conversation. Van Damme's one line quips after every punch or kill are peacefully missing here. He is set on disarming a bomb attached to a power plant and must destroy everything in his path to complete his mission, even a clone of his old ally. Thrown into the mix of Universal Soldiers is MMA fighter Andrei "The Pit Bull" Arlovski, who provides more hand to hand action to the film. This was still not the best of movies but this is one of Van Damme's better films. Regeneration is a successful movie and will prove to be a good rental. (Now if they can do another sequel with Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Antonio Sabbato Jr, Kevin Sorbo, and Brian Bosworth............ Best. Movie. Ever.)
If you like my man Van Damme and you like the origanal, this movie will not dissappoint you. Extremly entertaining and not to out of control. Arlovski does a great job acting like an ass kicking robot and JC VD puts in work as well.
As a childhood fan of Roland Emmerich's original and Van Damme films in general, I can't deny the twinge of guilty anticipation I felt upon first hearing about this upcoming release. More often than not however, updates and sequels created outside the era of their predecessors tend to miss the mark or, perhaps more likely, just fail to carry the same weighty influence on your adult mind as they did during adolescence. That said, on this occasion I was actually pleasantly surprised.
For those uninitiated, Universal Soldiers premise is that of recently deceased US troops being medically resuscitated using an ingenious procedure, that in the process makes them more physically capable and combat efficient, as well as conveniently programmable. This is explained in a verbose and scientifically flimsy manner that its best you dont scrutinise too closely.
This time around, political hostages are taken by some obscure Eastern European faction demanding independence from Russia. Utilising a next generation of Universal Soldier acquired from the quintessential mad scientist, who recently defected from the American research project. They also manage to occupy the reactors of Chernobyl, threatening to detonate them and release a cloud of radioactive fallout if their demands are not met. After a joint operation by two of the worlds leading superpowers spectacularly fails to resolve the situation, its all on The Muscles From Brussels to single-handedly save the day. Compelling stuff, no?
Originally, the plot focused primarily on two of the first soldiers to be initiated into the UniSol programme, Pvt. Luc Deveraux and Sgt. Andrew Scott, played by Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren respectively. The rivalry between these two men, before and after their death, was the driving force behind the initial films plot. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few minor allusions, this entry could very much be a standalone film due to its refusal to acknowledge this established timeline. The weathered title characters vaguely but never fully recognise eachother, which is put down to memory loss, a cop-out made even more disappointing by Lundgrens deceptively small amount of screen time. During which time all he really gets to do is mumble some barely comprehensible lines and rip-off a certain infamous scene from Blade Runner involving Rutger Hauer.
On the upside, the face of a younger generation is represented well by Andrei Arlovski. I cant say I follow the UFC or mixed martial arts, but Im told hes a well known name within such circles, and I can certainly see why. You are presented with this hugely imposing villain, dwarfing everyone he shares the screen with. He gives off this relentless, unstoppable kind of aura reminiscent of The Terminator, in that much like that film a part of me wished the protagonists to keep evading rather than confront him. Also like that film and the notorious actor-turned-politician that portrayed its eponymous character, Andreis role is mercifully free of dialogue. I suspect this was done for more reasons than simply keeping the antagonist emotionlessly grim.
But all-in-all, this straight forward, straight-to-video throwback to the heyday of the "Action Hero" years of the 80's and 90's seems to achieve everything it set out to. Operating on a sparse budget which it utilises to admirable effect, the main draw of violent gunfights, explosions and choreographed martial arts scenes isn't lost to the niggles of the modern eye's demand to be dazzled by expensive CGI, or hindered by the need for a sophisticated plot and emotive performances. Typical of this subgenre, character development is paper-thin; you won't be empathising much with these characters or their situation anyway. But if like me you picked this up because nostalgia got the better of you, you will undoubtedly know what to expect from the get-go. If not, as far as brainless action films go, you could certainly do a lot worse.
Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme did maybe their best roles since ages, they should get somekind of acting awards.
Rest of the movie is dull, boring, badly constructed, and full of un-necessary killing.
You can wait for the DVD.
It was cool to see the John-claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren back together .
The action was great. The story was surprisingly pretty good .
It was way better than other so-called sequels .