The talented director of this box office hit Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day”, “The Day After Tomorrow”, “Godzilla”), had a very special privilege on the set- to direct two of the biggest by the time martial arts stars- Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren.
Nowadays both of them are doing low-budget movies, shot mostly in Bulgaria, but back in the early 90’s, they were in their prime and popular enough to star in some of the biggest Hollywood action productions and hell yes, “Universal Soldier” is one of them.
Allow me to brief you about the plot in some details.
The year is 1969, wartime. Luc Deveraux and Andrew Scott are American soldiers in the Vietnam War who kill each other in a frantic quarrel, in the heart of the Vietnamese jungle.
Their corpses are later cryogenically frozen. Several decades later, both men’s bodies are genetically regenerated with their memories erased.
Now they are GR44 and GR13- half men, half robots who are selected for the “Universal Soldier” program- a government counter- terrorist unit specializing in hostage situations.
They are the ultimate killing machines, who are deprived of emotions and commit no mistakes. In addition, they can be easily sacrificed in a battle, unlike the humans.
Everything goes fine until while on a mission GR44 suddenly remembers that GR13, his former army commander is the reason that both of them are now emotionless metal heads. Moreover, they need to drink machine oil instead of water, which sucks. OK, just kidding.
Back in 1969, on their mission in the Vietnamese jungle, GR13 lost his mind and went on a killing spree, slaughtering everyone who dared to stay in front of him, including innocent men.
Luc tried to stop him but Andrew Scott shot him and they both die, because of the severe wounds they caused to each other.
Now Luc Deveraux is terrified from remembering the past. The things get even more complicated when Andrew Scott’s memories also come to the surface.
He remembers how furious he was with Luc, thinking that he was a traitor.
The tension between them is ready to explode when they are sent on a mission to catch a beautiful female journalist named Veronica Roberts.
She goes under their radar while trespassing a forbidden military zone, trying to learn more information about those mysterious universal soldiers.
GR13 in his craziness goes berserk and shoots in the head the hot journalist’s colleague and he is about to do the same thing with Veronica when GR44’s human nature suddenly awakens.
He punches GR13 and escapes with Veronica Roberts. They turn into fugitives, hunted by the military men and the universal soldiers, led by GR13.
Here are the actors worth mentioning.
Jean-Claude Van Damme is GR44, a.k.a. Luc Deveraux and Dolph Lundgren is GR13, a.k.a. Andrew Scott.
As I have already stated before, an action movie without a hot chick is like a pharmacy without an aspirin. So the aspirin in this action packed pharmacy is the gorgeous Ally Walker, mostly known for the successful thriller TV series “Profiler”.
THIS IS A FUNNY ACTION MOVIE BECAUSE:
Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren really kick ass and look amazing next to each other on the screen.
When you watch the movie, you keep telling yourself “Damn! They don’t make such fun to watch, brainless action films anymore.” There is a tendency in the contemporary action film industry to make the movies look far too serious.
Why?! The fans are missing such spectacular action nonsense, like this one.
The movie is full of hilarious scenes including, but not limited to: the naked Jean- Claude Van Damme flashing his ass, Dolph Lundgren with a crazy, fanatic look on his face, wearing a necklace made of human ears and also: shootings, fights, and hilarious one-liners.
For instance, after the final scene when GR44 finally manages to kill GR13 in a barn, by kicking him on a hacksaw machine, that literally grinds his body and disperses it in the air, Veronica asks him where GR13 is and he answers her “He’s around”.
A great absurdity is the fact that GR44 often needs to cool his body temperature in order to preserve his human tissue and because of that, we see him naked in a bathtub full of ice blocks.
Another must-watch scene is the one where GR44 and Veronica are in a small restaurant. There, for the first time, he eats real food.
He likes it and orders everything on the menu and when he is requested to pay the bill he just beats up everybody, screaming that he just wants to eat in peace.
During the whole film, Jean- Claude looks exactly like he is looking in almost every movie- like a slow, emotionless robot. That is why the role fits him like a charm.
Veronica Roberts seems like she is the eldest sister of a retarded brother and she needs to constantly take care of him and to tell him how to behave properly in today’s world.
By the way, Dolph Lundgren is great as well, in the role of a sinister crazy ex-sergeant, transformed into an insanely dangerous robot.
He does an excellent job and looks hilarious, stiff but also convincing on the screen. Don’t forget that it is not so difficult to play a robot when your acting is robotic.
The final one on one combat is truly spectacular and fun to watch. Van Damme injects himself with a serum that gives him the power to kick Dolph’s ass and to save his estranged parents (he finds his parents who think that their beloved son went missing in action 25 years ago in Vietnam) and his brand new girlfriend, Veronica.
With a lot of fun moments and hilarious one-liners, great action scenes and stunts, it is not a mystery why the movie made $102 million worldwide with a budget of $23 million.
The on-screen chemistry between Lundgren and Van Damme is awesome and overall, this action-packed gem has all it takes to satisfy the avid action movie fan’s thirst for a good, hilarious action flick.
By the way, the special edition DVD includes an alternative ending which is pretty interesting.
What is even greater is that there are three more sequels.
What do you think about this fantastic movie? Please leave me a comment below and show some respect for Van Damme and Dolphy.