Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

It wasn’t like the first ‘Universal Soldier’ movie was all that good, at least what little I can remember about it considering I haven’t seen it since the first time I saw it damn near twenty years ago, and then you had ‘Universal Soldier: The Return’ which didn’t even come close to measuring up to the original. So why, I ask you, were my palms sweaty with anticipation to watch this movie ‘Universal Soldier: Regeneration’ that in all honesty has very little chance of being any good, at least if we’re basing past performance on future earnings? JCVD and Dolph together again? Especially considering this is the first movie I’m gonna watch in this new decade? Come on man…

Our film opens with the children of the Russian Prime Minister chilling at an art museum amidst heavy security when the security detail is attacked by some armed gunmen. One of the mercs in particular seems a bit tougher than the others, judging from the fact the he’s taking massive bullets to the body cavity and still keeps ticking. I’m thinking he might be a Universal Soldier or something, but that’s just a guess. Anyway, the reasons behind this attack center on some made up Russian province that wants freedom, with their leader threatening to blow up what’s left in the Chernobyl nuclear plants and kill the PM’s kids if the PM doesn’t release a crapload of political prisoners or some nonsense.

Well, we can’t allow that to happen so our government, in conjunction with the Russian government defrosts a quartet of our own UniSols to take back the plant and eliminate this other dudes UniSol. We’re not going to get into how this renegade, broke-ass Russian dude got a hold of his own Universal Soldier because it is a bit silly. So our four UniSols meet this lone UniSol in a big time Unisol face-off but unfortunately for the well-being of the planet Earth our UniSols suck total ass.

But where is Luc Deveraux for goodness sakes? Luc (Van Damme) is off in Switzerland looking incredibly depressed while being deprogrammed by a benevolent doctor. Then the gub-ment kidnaps him because we need the last known surviving UniSol to save us where the brand new UniSol’s have failed. I’m of the mind that kidnapping him was truly unnecessary since all they really had to do was ask him to come along, but who the hell am I? We really haven’t mentioned Andrew Scott (Lundgren) but he’s in there too somewhere. Considering what happened to Andrew Scott in the first movie I’m dying to know how they managed recombine his chunky bits to recreate my man, but that answer will not be forthcoming. Shootouts, fist fights, and knife gouging will ensue. An abacus will also be required if you wish to calculate the body count in this one.

Hmmm… after this movie’s credits started to roll I was sitting there thinking that this is a movie really should’ve been better than it was. I know it’s just a Straight to DVD action flick but still… ‘Universal Soldier: Regeneration’ isn’t the worst movie around but it sure is a mighty sloppy one. One small problem with the movie would be my main man Jean-Claude. Given a choice between a spiked catheter insertion or being in this movie, judging by the look on Van Damme’s face, I’m not sure which one JCVD would’ve chosen. The man looked completely disinterested in being in this movie, and I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt considering the character he was playing was supposed to be an emotionless regenerated clump of dead body mass, but Luc Deveraux in those other Universal Soldier movies didn’t seem to be that depressed. Remember the opening action scene from ‘JCVD’ with Jean Claude all depressed and complaining over some stupid ass action movie he had to do? This was that, only played out in real life.

We’re not even going to try to make heads or tails of the completely nonsensical story in this thing which was here, there and everywhere with the only real purpose it served was bridging the plethora of fight sequences and the cornucopia of murderizations delivered to hordes of Bulgarian extras. In addition to elements of the story that didn’t make any kind of logical sense, things were picked up and then dropped without explanation with the problem with this being that the filmmakers spent way too much time with this unfocused storyline leading to a lot of downtime and a ton of boring, uninspired pointless dialog.

Oh but we did enjoy the action sequences and there were plenty of action sequences to enjoy. MMA tough guy Andrei Arlovsky was hired to kick plenty ass and say very little and he did that task flawlessly. Death comes fast and furious and often through all kinds of various means, even though these soldiers that were being mercilessly slaughtered had to be the absolute worst soldiers on the planet.

It was cool to see Dolph in this movie and when Dolph was on screen this flick was infinitely better, but again it wasn’t made clear exactly why he was in this movie. Truth be told it might’ve been a wiser move to have revived Andrew Scott and make that character the central point and give Luc Deveraux the cameo… I’m just saying. Dolph looked like he didn’t mind having the gig unlike Jean Claude. Ah… but wait until you get to the Dolph/Jean-Claude showdown. This alone was almost worth the price of admission and much better than the melee they had back in 1992.

One last thing… the computer I’m using now in the year 2010… multi-core, googobs of memory, sick video card… is a little bit better than the 386 I was using in 1992 so I’m of the mindset that the 1992 version of the UniSol would have no chance in Hell of defeating the 2010 quad core UniSol. Just a random thought.

Regardless, ‘Universal Soldier: Regeneration’ is a mess of a movie. The star looks bored and depressed, the co-star was grossly underutilized and the story was a total nonsense. But if you watch action movies for the action alone… then based on that it’s not all that bad.

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