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Universal Soldier

Universal Soldier

What he said:

He

One day a while back, it suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t own any movies starring the Muscles from Brussels. Being a fan of the action movies from the 80s and early 90s, I was appalled by his omission from my video library. I figured it was time to make a donation to the Jean-Claude VanDamme fund and add some of his movies to my collection. Being a childhood favorite of mind, Universal Soldier was a natural choice.

I have a very vividrecollection of the day I went to see this movie. My friend and I could not wait to see it. There aren’t many more things appealing to 12-year old boys than deadsoldiers reanimated, genetically altered, and turned into the ultimate weapon! The problem was we weren’t old enough to see it, being an R-rated movie. My mom was kind enough to take us to see it, but we had to make a pit stop first. I remember we went stopped to see a relative on the way. The reason I remember this is because my friend got really car sick. He ended up “working it out” and we were finally on our way to see the movie. We loved every ass-kicking second of it.

Universal Soldier

The storyline for this one isn’t exactly Shakespeare, but action movies rarely are. Their storylines are often ridiculous that involved heroes larger than life, and it’s all delivered with more than a few one-liners. In the action genre, stuff like this is to be embraced, not (overly) critiqued. Anyway, it’s about a secret government program which takes deceased U.S. soldiers, brings them back to life, erases their memories, loads them up with all kind of drugs to enhance their strength, and uses them in highly dangerous situations (like against terrorists). Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) were soldiers in the Vietnam War, until the latter goes totally batshit and starts making necklaces out of people’s ears, killing civilians, and even some of his own men. After wiping most of platoon, he is confronted by Luc, and the two of them are killed during the encounter.

Fast-forward to the 1990s and both are a part of this new Universal Soldier program. Dubbed UniSols, they are trained killers who follow orders – without question – and recently stopped a group of terrorists in yet another successful mission. They are so good at what they do that law enforcement groups and the media start to take notice.  Eager to get the big story, nosey reporter Veronica Roberts (played by Ally Walker) decides to infiltrate the group’s camp and get a closer look. When caught, the series of events that follows triggers both Luc and Andrew’s memories. They start to think they are in their previous lives and begin resuming what was on their mind when they died. Andrew is a paranoid madman who thinks Luc – and everyone else who doesn’t follow his orders – are traitors. Luc simply wants to go home. The chase begins. What follows is an explosive, entertaining, and fun adventure involving the three of them.

Before The Expendables, there was Universal Soldier. It was one of the very few action movies that actually gave audiences what they wanted to see: two big action stars in the same movie. Finally! Granted, Lundgren wasn’t a top 5 guy or anything, but he was a name thanks to Rocky IV. This is one of the only movies that gave people what they wanted back when they were all in their prime. It’s got everything you’d want from this type of movie too. Huge men beating the crap out of each other, even bigger explosions, and a few laughs along the way.

Rating: Thumbs up

This movie review was given the seal of approval by the He on March 28, 2011. It was edited on December 10, 2012.

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