Superman4 reviews "Universal Soldier: Regeneration"
Superman4 shares his thoughts on the return of the Universal Soldier series. Does "Universal Soldier: Regeneration" breathe new life into the series?
For those of you who are new to the Universal Soldier series like I was here's the basic idea. In the 60's the US government created a program for resurrecting soldiers who had died in battle, giving them vitamin supplements that enhances their strength, speed, and endurance. The supplements also make them not feel pain, and regenerate faster from wounds.
Regeneration takes place many years after the original. Terrorists kidnap the prime ministers children and threaten to blow up an old nuclear reactor. These terrorists also have an upgraded version of the Universal Soldier protecting the reactor. After the Government fails to take back the reactor they recommission UniSol Luc Deveraux who has been in rehabilitation for years. Reactivated and retrained Luc must defeat the terrorists, the new UniSol and the reanimated Andrew Scott his nemesis from the original Universal Soldier.
The films story although simple is well played out. Director John Hyams clearly knows how to handle an action movie. The camera angle is often with the protagonists making the audience feel as if they are experiencing the tension with the characters. The location of the nuclear reactor site is awesome and almost a character in itself. Also I found it unique that the movie didnt seem to focus just on the main protagonist (JCVD), in fact we see very little of him until the last 30 minutes. This is a huge strength in my opinion. I believe Hyams did this on purpose so that every moment with Van Dame or Lundgren was unique and memorable .
Lets not forget about one of the most important elements about these kind of movies, ACTION! The action is some of the coolest I've seen in a very long time. The fights are well choreographed and never feel repetitive. The movie mixes elements of action types from the 80's as well as today. Much like the 80's this movie features one loan hero (or villain) facing an entire army on his own.
I've just recently been getting into Jean Claude Van Dame's movies after growing up watching the likes of Schwarzenegger and Stallone. Van Dame returns to the role of Luc Deveraux. He plays him as a confused and tortured UniSol who is trying to find his purpose in life. Despite his age Van Dame can kick some serious butt. He flies through fight scenes with ease and grace. Van Dame proves once again what presence he has.
MMA fighter Andrei Arlovski plays the new and improved Universal Soldier. Andrei's character doesn't say much but much like a Terminator he's a killing machine that cannot be stopped. Most of the time wrestlers and other athletes of the like don't make good actors but with roles that require them to fight and not speak they can excel. Arlovski does just that.
Now onto probably what I like most about this movie, Dolph Lundgren. Lundgren returns to the role of Andrew Scott (well a clone any way) and plays him brilliantly. I'd never been too impressed with Lundgren before, his He-man wasn't all that great, in "Expendables" he was kind of just an ass hole and in Rocky 4 he doesn't say much. However in Regeneration his character has much to say. Although he appears an hour into the movie it is well worth the wait. Scott is tortured much like Luc but he's a loose cannon. Thinking about the complexities of life, something a UniSol is never suppose to do. The audience never truly know what his intentions are and even he may not know. Lundgren is breath taking with this character. Proving that he can act and can still perform great fight scenes.
"Universal Soldier: Regeneration" is a rare straight to DVD movie that is all out fantastic. New life has been given to this series and has got me excited about the next installment coming out in 2012 (being directed by Hyams with Van Dame and Lundgren returning).
I give "Universal Soldier: Regeneration" a B+
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