Action Movie Fanatix Review: Universal Soldier

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The Future Has A Bad Attitude.

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Ally Walker, Ed O’Ross, Jerry Orbach, Eric Norris, Simon Rhee, Ralph Moeller, Tommy “Tiny” Lister, Michael Jai White, Kristopher Van Varenberg

Director: Roland Emmerich

1992  |  102 Minutes  |  Rated R

“I’m giving the orders from now on.” – Sgt. Andrew Scott

Universal Soldier is just one of those classic action movies.  It might not be THE best action movie of all time but I know I’m not alone in saying it’s up there on my list of personal favorites.

U.S. Soldiers Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Sgt. Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) kill each other in the Vietnam War.  25 years later they are resurrected as a part of the Universal Soldier program.  Now they’re genetically enhanced killing machines with no memory, no feelings and no free will.  But something goes wrong and Deveraux begins to regain glimpses of memory starting the cat and mouse chase between these two Universal Soldiers!

Universal Soldier is another one of my early favorite action movies.  Along with movies like Demolition Man, Rambo 3 and Soldier it is one of those defining movies in shaping my cinematic interests for the rest of my life.  It’s nice and bloody from the very first scene and never pulls any punches.

The first time you see the Universal Soldiers running down the side of the dam you can’t help but mark out.  The best part is… NO CGI!!!  It’s real stunt men running down the side of a dam!

Van Damme’s Luc Deveraux is actually pretty bland.  He’s a good guy but he doesn’t have much memory and has recently broken out of a mind controlled state.  So give the guy a break!

Universal Soldier is probably the movie that set Dolph Lundgren up for a future of playing some crazy ass bad guys.  Sgt. Andrew Scott is arguably his craziest.  Any guy that cuts the ears off his victims and wears them as a necklace is certifiably insane.  And yet he’s really hard not to love in a demented action movie bad guy sort of way.  Dolph’s characters haven’t gone back to this level of insanity but he has consistently played interesting parts ever since, including the Universal Soldier sequels.

The rest of the UniSols are a pretty cool who’s who of lower level action stars like Eric Norris (Chuck’s son), Simon Rhee (brother of Phillip of Best of the Best fame), Tommy “Tiny” Lister of WWE’s No Holds Barred fame and Ralph Moeller of… well, a lot of stuff.

The always awesome Michael Jai White has a very small role as a soldier, of the non-Universal variety, at the beginning of the movie as well, which, of course, sets us up for Universal Soldier: The Return… but more on that later.

Like I said, the action is pretty awesome.  It was even more awesome the first time I saw it when I was about 10-ish years old.  Blew my tiny little brain.  Everything was bigger back then… memories…

Where was I?  Right… The pacing is probably a little off.  The movie has a few moments of lag but they don’t last long.

Believe it or not Roland Emmerich directed this.  I had completely forgotten that.  Man, that guy has a spotty record.

I am probably looking through some rosy glasses but I can’t say much bad about one of my favorite movies of all time.  It’s far too much fun.

3 thoughts on “Action Movie Fanatix Review: Universal Soldier

  1. Best of the series! Man, I need to re-visit this one again. It’s been too long! “Can you hear me?” (Lundgren shaking the necklace of ears lol. Best line!) I just wish the last two were more like this one. That’s just my opinion.

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