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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Science Fiction > Robots > Terrorism > Universal Soldier – Regeneration (2009/Sony Blu-ray)

Universal Soldier – Regeneration (2009/Sony Blu-ray)


Picture: B-     Sound: B     Extras: C-     Film: C-



The first Universal Soldier back in 1992 (see link below) was not the greatest film in the world, but it had some appeal in its idea and in the absence of better action films, a following grew around it.  Now, four sequels later, original leads Dolph Lundgren (surviving well on independent productions) and Jean-Claude Van Damme (whose career is in trouble) are finally reunited 17 years later in John Hyams’ Universal Soldier – Regeneration (2009) and the results are flat.


For one thing, a new deadly killer soldier is introduced, as played by real-life extreme mixed-martial arts fighter Andrei Arlovski (aka The Pitbull), but this is actually good casting and he places well into being very believable as a next-generation killer from this mad experiment.  Then there is Van Damme, the only link to the first sequel in 1999; his last high profile release of any note.  He seems out of his element here and does not have enough scenes with Lundgren, who is very much in his element.


The twist is that terrorists (they can do anything these days) have stolen the means of creating said soldiers and only Van Damme can stop them.  OK.


To the productions credit, there are some good action sequences thanks to Hyams’ ambitious approach and the influence of his father Peter Hyams (who does all the camerawork here) who has a history of top rate action films.  But all are undone by a sequel reuniting the leads too many years too late and a formulaic screenplay by newcomer Victor Ostrovsky, who does not get the Cold War legacy of the original storyline or can come up with anything new.  At least this is R-rated, so expect violence that makes sense to the plot.  Too bad there is not much of a story.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image was shot (as noted above) by Director of Photography Peter Hyams on the new 4K Red One High Definition camera.  Hyams also used this on his recent remake of Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and comes up with somewhat better results here.  However, there is still too much motion blur and the gutted color look is tiresome, but this is better than what Hyams produced visually on his own film.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 mix is the default highlight of the film with some good sonic moments, but there are also points where the sound is too compressed, uninspiring and limited in soundfield.  When it works, it works well and the Kris Hill/Michael Krassner score is fairly good, but not very distinctive.


Extras include movieIQ and BD Live interactive functions exclusive to the Blu-ray edition, plus a decent feature length audio commentary by Director John Hyams and Lundgren, who has also been directing his own projects of late.  As you listen, you realize a better film was here somewhere.  Too bad we did not get it.



For more on the original 1992 film, try this link:



For our cover of Hyams’ bull riding documentary Rank, try this link:




-   Nicholas Sheffo


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