Wednesday, August 17, 2011

365 Movies Day #142 "Universal Soldier: Regeneration"

After a string of horrible sequels to the original film, it's not surprising that this film went straight to DVD with not nearly the fuss it deserved. What is surprising is that the team who put this together made one of the most badass action flicks in recent memory and a film that rivals the original.

Basically, a team of terrorists armed with the latest model of Universal Soldier in the form of Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski of UFC fame, is threatening to blow up Chernobyl. Unable to find any other way to take down the Pitbull with anything else (including using common troops as food for the meat grinder), the authorities are forced to bring Luc Devereaux (Van Damme) out of retirement to take on the new threat. In the process, he is also forced to confront Andrew Scott (Lundgren) who has been thawed out to assist Arlovski, only to pursue his own agenda.

The film is filled with great fight sequences including some amazing knife work by Van Damme and some phenomenal fist to cuff involving Arlovski, Lundgren, Van Damme and Mike Pyle (also of UFC fame). Pyle's character has an interesting storyline as one of the regular soldiers caught in the crossfire, however it looks like it will be scrapped for the sequel since he isn't in the cast. Van Damme pulls some of the acting tricks he learned in "JCVD" to play a deeply troubled and solemn Devereux. You really feel for him as he is forced back into action, but he hasn't lost his touch as an asswhooper. Lundgren gives one of the most chilling performances I have ever seen him give. He's actually more sinister in this than the first film and isn't in it near as long. My only complaint about this film is not enough of Lundgren. Arlovski doesn't say much but kicks a lot of butt (like Schwatzenegger in the first "Terminator") and it works.

The director of this one is John Hyams. This is one of his first features though he did some work on NYPD Blue. However, he takes after his father, Peter, in the execution of this film. We just talked about Peter the other day as the director of another Van Damme film, "SUDDEN DEATH".

Look for Hyams, Van Damme, Lundgren and Arlovski to team up again for another chapter of "Universal Soldier" soon. The film is actually complete (shot in Louisiana...and didn't call me), and will hopefully see a release in 2012. If it's anything like this one, I can't wait!!!


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