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Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (2012)

November 7, 2012

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MY CALL:  This movie contains very graphic violence, full frontal male and female nudity, graphic prostituticide, lots of gore including an improvised brain surgery scene, graphic Dolph Lundgren…what?  Do you need more reasons?  How about Scott Adkins fighting EVERYBODY!?!  Pure fun reignites this franchise to and beyond its former glory.  [B]  IF YOU LIKE THIS WATCHUniversal Soldier: Regeneration (2009), The Expendables 2 (2012) and Dragon Eyes (2012).  ALTERNATE TITLE:  This movie is also marketed as Universal Soldier 4: A New Dimension.

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During a home invasion, family man John (Scott Adkins; The Expendables 2, Assassination Games) gets his head used as crowbar batting practice and is forced to witness the murder of his family at the hands of Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme; The Expendables 2, Dragons Eyes)—who looks perfectly villainous, sleek and creepy with his new skinhead haircut.  John later awakens from a 9-month coma in a high tech facility.

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Meanwhile, Lt. Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren; The Expendables 2, Universal Soldier: Regeneration) is up to something, “freeing” other Unisols with some deprogramming (or reprogramming) video injection.  It gets a little confusing here.  Life made more sense when his insanity was limited to crafting ear necklaces.  John starts having visions of Deveraux, so we assume he was injected at some point…or something.  So are Deveraux and Scott working together?

As John investigates he finds that he has done things he doesn’t recall doing and people he doesn’t know seem to know him quite well—like stripper Sarah (Mariah Bonner; Freerunner), who helps him out with his identity sleuthing.  It seems he was quite a violent guy who many feared.  He even learns who his “boss” is, which comes as quite a surprise.  The fun surprise comes during the “athletics store fight,” where John is losing a fight to a Unisol until he suddenly discovers his Unisol combat abilities; because you don’t put Scott Adkins in a Universal Soldier movie and NOT have him rock out.  More surprises come along, most heavily at the end.

Lots of kicks to the head in this movie.

The action in the end segment is really great.  John goes ape-shit rabid postal on a rogue Unisol compound with some nihilistic mantra about “taking back what’s theirs.”  He takes down Andrew Scott in a serious fight with a devastatingly clever Dolph-blow, and against Deveraux, in some of the creepiest commando face paint ever, he has yet another major fight complete with multiple exchanges on bone-impaling machete strikes.

Adkins tank top started out white.  Just FYI.  Red with the blood of awesome!

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Director John Hyam (Universal Soldier: Regeneration, Dragon Eyes) has developed a fine knack for making the most out of humbly budgeted action flicks.  I’m guessing it’s just to please JCVD, but among his common actors is Kristopher Van Varenberg (Van Damme’s son; Dragons Eyes) in a tiny role.  I’ll let it pass.  If that’s what it takes to get this level of Van Damme-ity, it’s worth it.

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