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August 4, 2012

Flicks: Universal Soldier (1992)


In 1992 the American action movie meant inflicting some serious Van Damage.

Jean-Claude Van Damme. The man has made 51 movies and counting including a starring role in the upcoming Expendables sequel with Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

His roles in Cyborg (1989), Bloodsport (1988), Kickboxer (1989) and Streetfighter (1994) made him a name as a martial artist and actor - albeit minus the cocksure charisma of Paul Newman or James Dean - there was something in his grin and attitude that kept selling movie tickets and DVD's for 25 years.

Universal Soldier (1992) was directed by Roland Emmerich (Godzilla 1998) who presented this definitive American action movie while the genre was still at the height of popularity.

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 (the sexy 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.

There are many sequels, including two tv movies, and a fourth theatrical installment in post-production. These titles are: Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms (1998), Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business (1998), the direct-to-video w/out Jean Claude but with Burt Reynolds, Universal Soldier: The Return (1999). 10 years later Universal Soldier: Regeneration (2009) returned with Jean Claude. The next installment due is Universal Soldier IV: Day of Reckoning (2012).

References:
IMDB, Universal Soldier (1992)
IMDB, Jean Claude Van Damme
Wikipedia, Universal Soldier (1992 film)
IGN, Magnet Announces Universal Solider IV: Day of Reckoning



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