Universal Soldier: Regeneration (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
January 24, 2010 by Dennis Amith
Director John Hyams takes the film back to its original roots in the third UniSol film titled “Universal Soldier: Regeneration”. Non-stop mindless action from beginning to end! Audiophiles and fans of the film are going to enjoy this Blu-ray release!
© 2009 Unisol 3 Distribution, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: Regeneration
DURATION: 97 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:35:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English, English SDH
RATED: R (for Pervasive Strong Brutal Violence and Some Language)
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: February 9, 2010
Directed by John Hyams
Written by Victor Ostrovsky
Characters by Richard Rothstein, Christopher Leitch, Dean Devlin
Executive Producer: Courtney Solomon, Mark Damon
Produced by Craig Baumgarten, Mosh Diamant, Peter Hyams
Associate Producer: James Portolese, Tamara Stuparich de la Barra
Line Produer: Israel Ringel
Music by Kris Hill, Michael Krassner
Cinematography by Peter Hyams
Edited by Jason Gallagher, John Hyams
Casting by Illana Diamant, Sue Jones, Marianne Stanicheva
Production Design by Phillip Harrison
Art Direction by rossitsa Bakeva
Costume Design by Sonia Despotova, Elitsa Taseva
Jean-Claude Van Damme as Luc Devereaux
Dolph Lungren as Andrew Scott
Andrei Arlovski as NGU
Mike Pyle as Kevin Burke
Corey Johnson as Col. John Coby
Garry Cooper as Dr. Porter
Emily Joyce as Dr. Sandra Flemming
Zahary Baharov as Commander Topov
Aki Avni as General Boris
Kerry Shale as Dr. Colin
Yonko Diitrov as Dmitri
Violeta Markovska as Ivana
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 Pitbull” 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 (Jean-Claude Van Damme), 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 (Dolph Lundgren), 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.
It has been 17 years since “Universal Soldier” (directed by Roland Emmerich) about a group of dead soldiers revived in a top secret Army project known as Universal Soldiers. In that film, one of the UniSol, Sgt. Andrew Scott (played by Dolph Lungren, “Rocky IV”, “The Shooter”, “The Last Patrol”) goes bad and makes the other Universal Soldiers go after Private Luc Devereaux (played by Jean-Claude Van Damme, “JVCD”, “Knock Off”, “Maximum Risk”). Deveraux manages to put a stop to them.
In “Universal Soldier: Regeneration”, director John Hyams (“Rank”, “The Smashing Machine”) and screenplay writer Victor Ostrovsky try to bring things back to the original theme of the first film and ignoring the warm/family-man theme which was shown in the second film “Universal Soldier: The Return”.
The film begins with a group of terrorists kidnapping two teenage children. Somehow, one of the terrorists is able to get shot many times but still able to withstand the assault and easily slay the police that are chasing them. We later learn that the teenagers kidnapped are the son and daughter of the Russian Prime Minister. General Boris (played by Aki Avni) has kidnapped the children in order to have their comrades released within 72 hours. In addition, the terrorists have taken over the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and will easily detonate it if the Russian government does not meet their demands.
Meanwhile, intel is coming through about the soldier that kidnapped the teenagers and was a Next-Generation UniSol aka NGU (played by Andrei Arlovski), a new soldier developed by Dr. Porter (played by Garry Cooper) and Dr. Colin (played by Kerry Shale). The technology of these soldiers were taken by Dr. Colin who has gone rogue and is now working with the terrorists.
There are five original UniSol soldiers still around, with four deployed to take down the NGU and one, Luc Devereaux (played by Jean-Claude Van Damme) receiving rehabilitation in Switzerland by Dr. Sandra Fleming (played by Emily Joyce). The rehabilitation is not going quite well but even worse, the four Universal Soldiers sent to stop the NGU have all been quickly killed by the next generation machine.
With time of the essence to retrieve the two teenagers and prevent nuclear disaster, the only choice is to send the best UniSol soldier to stop NGU and that is Luc Devereaux. Meanwhile, Dr. Colin has revived another next generation UniSol which is a clone and upgraded version of the twisted Andrew Scott (the character from the first film and played by Dolph Lundgren). NGU’s are programmed not to kill the terrorists or harm the people working on him but somehow, Scott is not obeying orders.
So, now Devereaux must stop the two new NGU’s and rescue the Russian Prime Minster’s children before its too late.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“Universal Soldier: Regeneration” is a film that is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1 aspect ratio). The film is not exactly vibrant, the filmmakers chose to go with a bluish, cold look for the film in terms of colors. Despite utilizing the digital RedOne camera, the good news is that you can see a lot of detail in the characters, objects and scenery. Blood, grime and blood can be seen on the character’s faces and bodies and the broken down industrial area and broken walls really come through. But “Universal Soldier: Regeneration” is not a vibrant, colorful film but it fits the overall mood of the film.
Where this film shines is its lossless audio. Presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, because the theme of “Universal Soldier: Regeneration” is mostly all non-stop, mindless action…this is where the film shines. Car crashing, automatic gun shots, bullets passing through the surround channels, knife making its cuts, just an overall, aggressive soundtrack that is well utilized in the surround channels and explosions that utilize your subwoofer to great extent. Overall, fans of the film series are going to enjoy this aggressive and non-stop action lossless soundtrack.
Subtitles are presented in English, English SDH.
Special features included on the “Universal Soldier: Regeneration” Blu-ray disc are:
- Audio Commentary by Director John Hyams and Dolph Lundgren – An interesting commentary about how the stunt scenes were done, the action scenes and also the approach to accomplishing various action scenes in the film and the challenges they faced while making the film.
- Behind the Lines Featurette – (18:44) Interview with the talent on the film and Jean-Claude Van Damme, Andrei Arlovski and Dolph Lundgren talk about working with each other again. Van Damme talks about how he is much older now, his body still feels very young and can accomplish the action scenes. We also get a good behind-the-scenes look of the making of the film.
- The film is BD-Live enabled with movieIQ (watch the film and while connected online, retrieve real time information on the cast, music, trivia and more). Note: You need a Blu-ray profile 2.0 player that can connect to the Internet in order to utilize BD-Live.
Non-stop, mindless action. Fans of the movie series are going to enjoy this pulse-pounding, action-packed film on Blu-ray!
“Universal Soldier: Regeneration” is a film that although has a pretty simple storyline, the story of the film is not as important. Where the first film had a pretty solid storyline and a lot of action, the second film had a more humorous, family-driven but full of action-storyline, this third film is mostly non-stop action and somehow the storyline is there and the whole storyline of old Universal Soldiers and Next Generation Universal Soldiers is not exactly new (it was explored in the second film) but is handled much, much better this time around.
A positive aspect of the film is that the action-sequences are very intense, especially with the lossless audio soundtrack as you literally hear the weapons, the bullets, the booms all around you. The negative aspect is that its less about Devereaux and Stone but mostly the dismantling of the Universal Soldiers and the opposition by the terrorist controlled NGU. Van Damme is pretty stoic and cold in this film. Definitely a different contrast from how he was in the last two films but in a way, when you really understand his character and what they are used for, it makes sense. These UniSols were created for a reason and any emotion of love and compassion, probably doesn’t even fit in this movie at all.
The NGU is cold and calculating, Stone is just a twisted individual but now Devereaux, he’s just a controllable killing machine that obeys orders. I suppose that was the problem of the ’90s films, in almost “Terminator 2” fashion, we’ve been used to seeing Devereaux feeling compassion for those he was trying to protect. I think it was an admirable job that John Hyams took it back to the primary purpose of what the UniSol’s were created for.
Not everyone is going to go crazy for this film. It’s a mindless action-packed film that features action scenes galore. You’re not going to see Devereaux fall in love, you’re going to see him do what he does best and that is to kick some serious ass. So, “Universal Soldier: Regeneration” is not exactly a film to expect any deep storyline. It’s a basic, simple storyline but with a pulse pounding, in-your-face, non-stop action quite literally from beginning to end.
If you are into those type of films or have been fans of the previous “Universal Soldier” films, then definitely give this latest film on Blu-ray a chance!
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