Genre: Action, science fiction, thriller
Running Time: 1 Hour 52 Minutes
Director: John Hyams
Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Scott Adkins
Synopsis: “In Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, surviving Unisols Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) must battle anarchy and build a new order ruled by Unisols without government oversight. They are weeding out the weak and constantly testing their strongest warriors in brutal, life-and-death combat. Luc has emerged operating the Unisol Church of Eventualism, a self-help organization that takes in wayward Unisols whom the government has been secretly operating as remote-controlled sleeper agents. His mission is to liberate these Unisols from the implanted memories and the lies the government has inserted in them. Universal Soldier, John (Scott Adkins) appears different, stronger, and more resistant to Luc’s efforts to liberate him. The impediment may be John’s implant, but that may be a technology Luc can use for his own strategic plan. In an effort to steal the technology and liberate John, Luc and his men invade John’s home and furiously beat him into a coma. As he is being pummeled he sees his wife assassinated and it’s seemingly clear that Luc is the perpetrator of this brutal attack. John awakes in the hospital from his coma and his memory is foggy. He feels lost and struggles to put the pieces of the past together, much like amnesia. As pieces of the incident flash back to him he remembers the face of the man responsible for death of his beloved wife and daughter and embarks on a mission to hunt down Luc down and avenge his family’s deaths. Armed to the teeth, John seeks out Luc’s remote military compound in the woods, and demands an explanation about his wife. Luc insists it was all a lie and that his family existed only in his implanted memory. John refuses to believe Luc, which leads to a series of action packed stand off’s until only one Universal Soldier remains standing…” (Rainfilm Sdn Bhd).
Verdict: Can’t remember the original and never seen any of its sequels ’cause of all the bad reviews about them. Watched this as a standalone film and find it quite entertaining. The Universal Soldier franchise had a reputation of being a series of no-brainer action films but many would probably agree that this one’s partially the opposite. The plot has its flaws and is a little (very little) similar to Christopher Nolan’s Memento (2000) but at least it’s not typical and it requires viewers to put on their thinking cap to figure out the heck is going on. The extreme violence and the shocking & unpredictable one-on-one fights make the scenes very thrilling to watch. That and the horror movie vibe with the first-person-view scenes make it difficult for most girls to sit through. Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning has got me interested in its previous instalments.
Second opinion: “Violent and boring” (Iris Loong).
Malaysian censorship: Nude, sex and overly gruesome scenes are censored but most of the violence aren’t. It would be a more enjoyable for the fans if there’s an uncensored 3D version available at local cinemas.
Rating: 3 / 5
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Favourite scene: Definitely the fight at the end between Luc Deveraux
(Jean-Claude Van Damme) and John (Scott Adkins). Very original and
creatively choreographed. Two guys battling it out, sharing one parang to damage and attempt to kill each other.
Questionable scenes: There’s a friend that calls John at the beginning who later gets killed by the other clone John. This so-called friend is supposedly a scientist from the laboratory where the Universal Soldiers like John and the others get cloned but he doesn’t suspect that this John could be a new clone when he asks for his address. There’s a car chase scene where John and his enemy keep crashing into each others sides. While they’re doing that, John’s passenger, Sarah (Mariah Bonner), never bothers to keep her hand inside the car while the two drivers keep crashing into each other at her side. At the end of the chase, the villain hits Sarah’s side of the car head on at high speed and causes John’s car to flip over a couple of times. But both John and Sarah come out of their now turned turtle car without any serious injury. How is that even possible? Sarah also doesn’t seem to be freaked out by John’s regrown fingers after literally witnessing them being chopped off by the villain. Luc allows John to kill him at the end and John takes the opportunity. All the surviving Universal Soldiers that Luc “released” now becomes John’s followers. Luc had supposedly set the Soldiers free from their own government-controlled minds so what’s the point of fighting on for the seemingly dictating Luc and then the person killed their bosses and most of their comrades?
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Special thanks to Nuffnang for the premiere invites.