Universal Soldier: Regeneration
Universal Soldier: Regeneration is the fifth (yes, you read that right!) Universal Soldier movie. The original Universal Soldier, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren as a pair of battling super-soldiers, was released in 1999, back when the ipod was less than a glint int Steve Jobs’s eye and nobody except super nerds had heard of the Internet.
Big dumb fun
Then came two made-for-television sequels where Van Damme and Lundgren have been replaced by actors so D-List they’re not even worth mentioning, and in 1999 Van Damme returned for Universal Soldier: The Return, a theatrical sequel that ignored the events of the television movies completely (confused yet?). Now, for the first time in 18 years, Van Damme and Lundgren have reunited to bring the smack down in Universal Soldier: Regeneration! Better late than never, guys…
… or is it? Can 49 year old Van Damme and 53 year old Lundgren still cut it in an action movie? In a word, yes. Jean Claude proved in 2008’s JCVD that he really can act, and he brings his all to this picture as super soldier Luc Deveraux. Lundgren is less convincing as his evil rival Andrew Scott (what kind of name is that for a bad guy?), but this film ain’t Shindler’s List – it’s an action movie – and both stars deliver action packed wham-bam-thank-you-man high adrenaline action in spades.
Better than Universal Soldier 1?
Being a straight to DVD release, the budget on this film wasn’t exactly massive, and unfortunately it does show, but it doesn’t stop the film from being an enjoyable experience – maybe even as much fun as the original Universal Soldier. Fans of the original will enjoy seeing Van Damme and Lundgren back together after all these years, but if you’re someone who loves big, dumb action movies full of explosions and soldiers shouting as they mow down a room full of terrorists, then you’ll have a lot of fun watching this film.
Audio commentary featuring Dolph Lundgren and director John Hyams
Making of Universal Soldier: Behind the lines