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Universal Soldier-Regeneration(released Jan/10) is the newest incarnation of the long running franchise which started way back in 1992.It's hard to believe it's been that long and harder still to believe Van Damme,Lundgren et al can still make with the action sequences as good as they do here 18 years later.Van Damme seems to look the older of the two but both are still in great physical shape.Screenwriter,director,cinematographer Peter Hyams comes on board as camera head while his son John directs.Peter of course has worked with Van Damme in Timecop and Sudden Death, so along with Lundgren it was old home week on the set in Bulgaria. The story involves a group of rogue terrorists looking to free some political prisoners in the Soviet Union.To facilitate this the terrorists seize control of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant and threaten to blow one of the reactors within 72 hours while also kidnapping the Russian Presidents teenage children for good measure.In order to accomplish his agenda the head of the terrorists General Boris(Akni Avni)has hired a now rogue scientist from the States who worked on the original Uni-Sol project to provide an NGU(new generation Uni-Sol).The NGU has been improved on a genetic level and is faster and stronger than the original Uni-Sols.And this has proven quite effective as he single handedly repels attack after attack of the joint US/Russian force assigned the job of retaking the plant and rescuing the children. In the meantime ex-Uni-Sol Luc Devreaux(Van Damme),who has been in rehabilitation to get him off the project drugs in order to reintegrate him back into society,has again been recruited to rescue the children.As the clock ticks down the Russian president finally capitulates to the terrorists demands ending the tense stand off.Read more ›
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Universal Soldier is straight out of the hallmark of 90s action films. It is well remembered for pitting Jean Claude Van Damme against lethal giant Dolph Lundgren in a battle for survival beyond the grave. "Regeneration" is an attempt at putting the defibrillator on the franchise in an attempt to score points with fans of the original while accessing a host of new viewers. It may succeed in the latter, but it will be hard pressed on the former.
"Regeneration" ignores the events of the 2nd Universal Soldier film "The Return," and picks up years after the events of the first film. Luc Deveraux (Van Damme) has been trying to ingratiate himself back into society with the help of a Swiss doctor working for the military. Though not explicitly stated, Deveraux's memory has begun to fragment over the years as a possible result of his UniSol treatments. When he attacks a restaurant patron without provocation, it becomes clear that Deveraux may not be able to rejoin society despite his best efforts. Meanwhile, a rogue Russian commander kidnaps the children of the Russian prime minister and takes control of the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear power plant with a threat to detonate the unstable reactor with explosives if hundreds of political prisoners are not freed. Aiding him in the takeover is a doctor with a background in UniSol technology who has also gone rogue and sold his services to the highest bidder. His weapon of choice is the NGU, a Next-Generation UniSol (Andrei Arlovski) who single-handedly wipes out an entire battalion of U.S. soldiers accompanied by four original Universal Soldiers from Deveraux's era.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
If it weren't for nostalgia, I'd say this was better than the original...Feb. 2 2010
Brandon F. Billman
- Published on Amazon.com
'Universal Soldier: Regeneration' finds an aging Luc Deveraux (Van Damme) struggling through behavioral therapy while a scientist sells the UNISOL technology to a terroist group. Helmed by first time director John Hyams, son of director Peter Hyams (timecop, Sudden Death). In this installment, you really get a sense the level of complication that would arise from the events of the first film, both emotionally and socially. "Soldier gets killed in war, body frozen for twenty years only to be brought back to life as a weapon, etc etc." Apparently because the second sequel was so bad and the direction the writer's took Luc Deveraux's character being ridiculous, this one pretty much ignores it. Which really, really works. Van Damme brought kickboxing to America, or at least to Hollywood and while he's always choreographed his own fight scenes; this one takes the cake(and at nearly 50!) The final battle between Lundgren and Jean-Claude here is one of the most brutal, raw, hands down best in years! If it weren't for nostalgia, I'd say this was better than the original...
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
One of Van Damme's BestJan. 28 2010
Michael K. Giaimo
- Published on Amazon.com
15 minutes into this, I noticed something strange. I didn't want to turn it off which is pretty rare when talking about most of Van Damme's movies over the past decade. The thing that might kill this movie with some fans though, is that it is so different from the great original. It is not a polished Terminator type action flick like the original was. Director John Hyams' retelling is much grittier and with some of the locations and fights, it almost has more of a Bourne style feeling to it. The action is furiously directed...very quick with no dopey slow motion. The acting isn't great but it's decent and convincing enough...two qualities that have been lacking in recent Van Damme DTV casts. It is true that Van Damme is only sprinkled throughout, but the film is so fast moving, before you know it, you are already at the final 40 minutes ...and he owns the *beep* out of it!! There is a long tracking shot of him tearing up terrorist ass and it's probably the best action sequence he has ever been a part of. It truly gets the heart pounding, and like me, you will probably re-watch it about 10 times. It's also a refreshing blast to see Lundgren on screen even if it is pretty brief. His and JC's fight is completely different from the one in the original. There is no Hollywood gloss to it at all. This is how the fight would be if these two met up and decided to scrap and it comes of very effective. You can feel the anger and rage. All in all, Unisol: Regeneration is a solid little action flick. Other than JCVD, it's easily his best movie since Sudden Death, which happened to be given to us by another Hyams...John's father, Peter. It may not be a masterpiece and isn`t quite on par with the original but it`s still a lot of fun and it`s definitely a worthy addition to my bluray collection. I'll definitely be keeping my eye on director John Hyams. I'd like to see what he can do with a decent budget and some better filming locations. The subtle synth music score was well done too. Think along the lines of Vangelis, who created the Blade Runner soundtrack, or something John Carpenter might have composed back in the day.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Surprisingly greatFeb. 3 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
I honestly don't know what I'm more shocked by, the fact that I gave Universal Soldier: Regeneration a chance, or the fact that it turned out to be as good as it is. When a group of terrorists take over the Chernobyl nuclear reactor and threaten to release a radioactive cloud, and with an uber-advanced UniSol (former UFC champ Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski) at their disposal, former, deactivated UniSol Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) gets called back into action. However, there's a surprise in store for Luc, in the form of his once deceased nemesis Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) who has been cloned and reanimated, and looking to bring some pain of his own. While all this sounds like the recipe of a low budget, direct-to-DVD, schlock fest featuring two action stars way past their primes, Universal Soldier: Regeneration ends up surpassing both of the films to come before it, thanks to the great directing from John Hyams, who not only manages to put together some just plain brutal action sequences, but also manages to coax some great performances from Van Damme and Lundgren, as well as take advantage of Arlovski's cold menace. John's father Peter Hyams, who directed Van Damme in 90s actioners Timecop and Sudden Death, serves as the film's cinematographer, and helps give the film the surprisingly great look that it has: this certainly doesn't look like a low budget, direct-to-DVD film. All in all, Universal Soldier: Regeneration deserves a look at the very least, and if and when you do chcek it out, be prepared to be surprised with what you get here.
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" Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei "The Pit Bull" Arlovski 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 from the original Universal Soldier, 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. In the third and by now the last Universal Soldier series, both Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren are back for one last showdown together. Universal Soldier: Regeneration is an enjoyable movie, and leaves you with a sense that it's not over yet.
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
The BEST of the Unisol Series and Possibly the BEST film for Van Damme or LundgrenJan. 24 2010
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The title really says it all. Granted, both Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme aren't really on screen as much as one of their typical films but it really, really works.
The plot is simple but effective. The action is outstanding, ultra violent and rarely stops. And it's not old school action either. There's a taste of the Bourne series in some of these shoot-outs. Big marks for Director Hyams. Can't wait to see what he does next!