Monday, February 15, 2010

DVD Straightjacket - Universal Soldier: Regeneration

With stolen top-secret technology, terrorists have created a next-generation Universal Soldier - an elite fighter genetically altered into a programmable killing machine. With this "UniSol" leading the way, they seize the crippled Chernobyl nuclear reactor, threatening to unleash a lethal radioactive cloud. The only one who can stop them is Luc Deveraux, a UniSol who's been decommissioned for years. Reactivated and retrained, Deveraux must make a full-out assault on the heavily armed fortress. But inside, he'll discover not one but two of these virtually indestructible warriors. Andrew Scott, Deveraux's vicious UniSol enemy, has been secretly reanimated and upgraded. Now, these elite fighters are locked, loaded and programmed to kill; and the fate of millions hinges on this high-action showdown.

Special Features:
Dolph Lundgren and Director John Hyams (Peter Hyams' son) Commentary; Behind the Lines Featurette. Blu-ray Exclusive: BD-Live web portal and MovieIQ.

Everyone who knows me by now knows that I am a closet Jean Claude Van Damme fan. When last we saw him, he gave us the great J.C.V.D. I was hoping that movie would be the stepping stone to continue moving in the right direction for his films. When I heard that a new Universal Soldier was coming, I was both excited and worried all at once. Would this be another great addition or would he fall back into all those other straight-to-DVD nightmares?

Let me start out saying this is not anything like the original 2 films (or 4 films if you count the TV movies). Gone is the humor and campiness of the storyline. These soldiers are brutal and ready to kill. The action is intense, violent, and brutal. The story is decent enough, but nothing really special. What really makes this work is the return of Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren. It’s been 18 years since their last encounter and the rematch was worth waiting for. Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei "The Pit Bull" Arlovski’s addition was a good one, as he is more brutal than either of them combined. The fight scenes between these guys were well done and unapologetic. Another great thing about this movie is that although you have these 3 great characters trying to kill each other, there is no one person that is the star. Van Damme doesn’t show up for a bit into the film, with Lundgren showing up much later.

I really dug this movie and think anyone whose a fan of any of these guys or the series will dig it. Be advised this is not a Van Damme or Lundgren movie, but a Universal Soldier movie with these guys coming along for the ride.

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