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Universal Soldier

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Universal Soldier

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
R
runtime:
103 minutes
performer:
Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Ed O'Ross, Jerry Orbach, Ally Walker
director:
Roland Emmerich
distributor:
Columbia Tri-Star
genre:
Sci-fi and Fantasy, ActionAdventure

We gave it a D+

At last, a movie that asks the question: Are two high-cheekboned muscleheads who sound as if they learned to speak English phonetically really better than one? In Universal Soldier, the doe-eyed Belgian kickboxer Jean-Claude Van Damme teams up with the Swedish Überhulk Dolph Lundgren. The two play American soldiers who were killed in action in Vietnam and then regenerated — you know, genetically — into humanoid military commandos. Lundgren, who went psycho in ‘Nam, has become a vengeful terminator. Beady eyes rolled up into his forehead, he looks like Lurch the butler’s Eurotrash brother, and his low-camp performance is vaguely amusing.

Van Damme, on the other hand, is hopeless. He plays the sensitive one — a programmed killer out to rediscover his human self, like Robocop — which means that he spends the movie staring into space trying to look ”wounded.” Tagging along with him is a chatty TV reporter (Ally Walker) whose most noteworthy trait is that…she smokes. Viewers primed for a postapocalyptic blowout will be disappointed to learn that Universal Soldier is set in the boring old present day, and that until the climactic clash the film is slow-moving and short on firepower. When Van Damme wanders into a white-trash diner and, for no particular reason, beats up everyone in the place, you’re pathetically grateful to see him awaken from his acting stupor and snap a few limbs. D+

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