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Review Universal Soldier (1992): Nineties classic!

genre: action, science fiction

Universal Soldier is easily one of the best action films of the nineties. Most early ninety films had am Eighties vibe to them and this one is no different. Next to that it also still dared to do things in a blockbuster film that wouldn't fly in later ones. 

First of all, both Jean- Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren are at their best. They both looked good and seemed to be in the best shape ever. Even their acting is good. Especially Lundgren steals the show as the villain. He really was having fun with it and most of his scenes are incredibly enjoyable. I think Roland Emmerich probably figured the least Van Damme would say the more compelling he would become. His silence combined with the confused looks really sold him as a character who has no recollection of his past. 

Second. The story is in function of the action. Not the other way around. Nowadays that seems to be a trade that is forgotten since they want to do much more than just being an action film. At least in the eighties and nineties they understood that people who are fans of films like these want action, action and more action. Obviously a good story is a big plus but not always needed. Universal Soldier doesn't bother to explain much about the science or it's consequences. And yet it does touch upon some topics to give you some food for thought if you care that sort of thing. The addition of Ally Walker also adds a more dramatic component without laying it on thick. She is not a sidekick or damsel in distress. One could argue that she is in over her head. But many times she proves that she is quite efficient and effective as a snoop and someone to rely on when things get tough. Her concern of Luc Deveraux (Van Damme) is more sisterly than romantic. I have to command Roland Emmerich for not having Luc and Veronica fall in love or have sex. Even when there was room for some hot and steamy scenes since there did seem to be some chemistry between Ally and Jean-Claude.

Third and last reason. The action. Even today the action is exciting and spectaculair. How would super enhanced soldiers act and fight without resembling too much like androids or cyborgs? Exactly like they did in this film. Capable of inflicting more pain, higher tolerance of pain and even being able to get resurrected. However there is a limit to this last ability. Since there is only so much a body can take. It's details like this that makes everything more compelling.   

Overall, from start to finish Universal Soldier is blast. And definitely one of the best both Van Damme and Lundgren have been in.

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