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Vern is shocked how good UNIVERSAL SOLDIER REGENERATION is!!!

Dear friends, The screener had been sitting around my apartment for about a month. I was excited that Dolph Lundgren was in it, but didn't expect much. When I finally got around to putting it in it seemed like the wrong disc. The trailers were for classy foreign films, and the opening was a quiet scene in an art museum. But then ski masked commandos nab a young man and woman and take them on a kill crazy high speed chase through security, police, a road block and away in a helicopter. The lead kidnapper takes massive bullet hits, but doesn't seem to mind. On the surface you have your usual DTV qualities: masked gunmen from some vaguely defined radical faction, dreary European locations, car crashes, and no sign of the stars on the cover yet. But the weird thing is this is a *great* action sequence. Cameras attached to the cars, putting you right inside the mayhem, you feel like you're getting knocked around and dragged away but (get this) you can tell exactly what's going on. It's fast, brutal and unfashionably comprehensible. It had my heart beating. You don't expect that in the opening of a DTV action movie or, let's be honest, any modern American action movie. The hostages are the children of the Russian premiere, the reason is a fictional political conflict, the threat is that if political prisoners aren't released the kids will be killed and a bomb will be set off in Chernobyl, spreading radiation all over the place. Where the fuck do the zombie super warriors of UNIVERSAL SOLDIER come in? Well, the rebels have on their hands one NGU (Next Generation UniSol [Universal Soldier]) thanks to a rogue scientist from the UniSol program (Kerry Shale) now working for hire. Theirs is a more powerful model than the old ones and played by former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski. Unlike most DTV this gets straight to business. The CIA sends in their four remaining UniSols along with American and Russian troops. It's all very procedural, we see the whole strategy of how the troops are arranged, how they move in, and then we watch The Pitbull single-handedly dismantle their entire team. The fights are raw and brutal - people punched 8-10 times in the face, thrown through walls, covered in blood, expertly knifed or surgically machine gunned. The Pitbull is a legitimately scary Terminator, the fights are perfectly staged and the movie cuts effectively between the breathing and grunting of the fights in quiet Chernobyl and the panicked war room where the military brass shout at each other while watching everything go to hell through the POV of the UniSol eyepieces. Meanwhile, Jean-Claude Van Damme is still Luc Devereaux. But he's in the care of a female psychiatrist (Emily Joyce) in a small town trying to rehabilitate him. He can't remember who he is, but he can remember yesterday, which is an improvement. Van Damme is in "I actually get to act in this one" mode, a quiet, sad performance more like UNTIL DEATH and JCVD than UNIVERSAL SOLDIER. Then he snaps and beats up an old man for looking at him, and he's more quick and brutally effective than we've seen him in a while. Of course poor Luc is the only one that might stand a chance against The Pitbull, so he gets de-rehabilitated and sent in to clean up this Chernobyl shitstorm. But where does Dolph Lundgren's character Andrew Scott come in? Dolph gets the least screen time of the guys on the cover, but he's the most memorable. In part 1 he was a crazy Vietnam war criminal turned evil UniSol turned pile of chopped up meat. Here he's an upgraded clone grown by the scientist as an insurance policy. A really bad insurance policy, it turns out. There's something about that Andrew Scott that makes him hard to control. So he follows his own path in life, let's say. In this movie Dolph looks like - and basically is - Frankenstein's monster. A routine diagnostics test where they ask him simple yes and no questions reveals that his mind is working better than it should, but the scientist is too ignorant to understand that's what's going on. All three of the NGUs, but especially Dolph, are tragic monsters, not really human anymore but almost able to remember what being human was. I won't give away his interaction with Van Damme, but what he says to him is haunting, somehow almost poetic. In a UNIVERSAL SOLDIER movie. Part of the genius of the movie is that it doesn't try to humanize them more as it goes along. It doesn't try to explain their history or even mention which war it was they fought in. All that matters is that they're leftover weapons, unable to be useful in peace time. In fact, the human villains who instigate this conflict die early, and their demands are already met. But the Universal Soldiers continue the war. They don't know how to shut off. They're like perpetual war in human shape. There's not much that separates the good ones from the bad. All of them are scary. Deveraux happens to be the one that fights against the bad guys - unless you're that old man. Or his psychiatrist. Or unlucky. At the end you're glad he wins (SPOILER) but you're not sure if he's really on your side. The characters are just right - they're not real developed, but they don't have to be. They're mostly people of action, not words. They're pieces in a game moved around just right for you to worry about what happens to them. For example there's a great scene where a badass special ops type guy (another MMA fighter, Mike Pyle) is sent in to do recon but accidentally engages The Pitbull. By this point it's been established that this guy is merely super at being a soldier, not a super soldier. We have seen the work of both him and his opponent, and it's clear to everyone what must go down. This guy will die, but first he'll put up way more of a fight than any other regular non zombie soldier would put up. He's not supernatural, he's just highly trained, but you can't turn him off either. The look, feel and whole mentality of this one are completely different from any of the previous five UNIVERSAL SOLDIER pictures. To me it seems more influenced by ALIEN, THE TERMINATOR and CHILDREN OF MEN than its own series. The story is perfectly streamlined, just setting the characters in motion and crashing them into each other, the type of elegant simplicity so many of these convoluted DTVs need as a role model in their lives. The tone is deadly serious, quiet, tense. The score is a nice John Carpenter/Brad Fiedel type keyboard droner. The sound design is really good too, lots of weird buzzes and distorted voices over radios creating atmosphere. What I'm telling you is that this is a real fucking good movie, made with care and skill. I can't believe how much I liked it. It joins UNDISPUTED II as the rare DTV sequel better than its theatrical originator. It's also probly the first ever part 5 that's better than its part 1. Unless you count porn. This is that you-would-think-mythical-but-it-turns-out-it's-a-real-thing movie I've been naively waiting for all these years watching crappy DTV sequels. Sure, it's unlikely that somebody would pour everything they got into something like a UNIVERSAL SOLDIER sequel. They probly wouldn't do that. But they could. And for once, they did! Did your dad ever tell you "If it's worth doing it's worth doing well"? I bet this director, John Hyams, heard that one. His dad is Peter Hyams, director of Van Damme's SUDDEN DEATH and TIMECOP as well as OUTLAND and 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT, and cinematographer for this one. I had to immediately look up the younger Hyams to see what else he's directed - he did a 16mm movie long ago that's not on video, some TV, and two sports documentaries, one of them about MMA, so that probly helped with the fight scenes. This year and last are shaping up as some kind of renaissance for DTV action. THE TOURNAMENT is good, NINJA is good, BLOOD AND BONE is great, and now this. I really believe REGENERATION is not just good DTV, it's miraculous. Maybe not everyone will appreciate it the way I do. I read one review that was positive but said it was weird that Van Damme doesn't appear for a little bit and Lundgren isn't in it that much. Those would be problems in conventional DTV where the stars are all it really has to offer, but in this movie to me it's not even of any concern at all. It's too artful to care about that. It doesn't seem like they weren't available, it seems like they were placed in the movie for exactly the amount of time the characters demanded. Maybe it's just me. I don't know man but if I was one of those Hollywood producers always looking for untapped talent I would sign this dude up for something ASAP. If he can make the fourth sequel to fucking UNIVERSAL SOLDIER this good I can only imagine what he'd do with a little bigger budget and a better concept. This guy could go on to big things. Or he could keep raising the bar for DTV. Whatever he does I'll be watching for now on. NUMBERING NOTE: The title screen called it UNIVERSAL SOLDIER REGENERATION, the cover calls it UNIVERSAL SOLDIER 3, which Hyams said in an interview is his preferred title. That's kind of weird though since there's already been a part 3. It seems to imply that the made-for-cable ones don't count, only the two theatrical ones with Van Damme and now this. But the movie wisely ignores the last installment, where Deveraux was somehow alive and normal again, and had a daughter. I watched all of the sequels to prepare for this one, but don't feel like you have to. In fact, if you've never seen any of them it might be smarter just to skip straight to this one. thanks, Vern hundreds more reviews of this type of crap at OutLawVern

Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 25, 2010, 3:28 a.m. CST

    Wow

    by Daremo

    I would have never thought this would be god. I may check this out.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 3:41 a.m. CST

    VERN - Van Damme vs Lundgren rumble??

    by bluelou_boyle

    Vern, great review. How is the VD vs Dolph fight? Does VD do fancy moves or his more recent brutal, efficient stuff? thanks.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 3:48 a.m. CST

    Peter Hyams also directed Running Scared.

    by otm shank

    One of my favorite movies of all time.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 3:58 a.m. CST

    In Israel, this was shown in cinemas...

    by Preacher_mg

    ...while the Hurt Locker went straight to video here. Go figure.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 4:12 a.m. CST

    Isn't Dolph's cloning inspired by THE ISLAND

    by Monkey_King

    sounds good. I was told this one ignored the events of UNIVERSAL SOLDIER:THE RETURN.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 4:12 a.m. CST

    Can't believe I'm actually excited about this.

    by Psyclops

    I loved the original UNIVERSAL SOLDIER but I hated the theatrical sequel. I never saw the direct-to-cable versions. I'm actually glad to hear that this is being received well, I kind of wished it would get a theatrical release but as long as it's a solid action movie, I'm down for it.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 4:14 a.m. CST

    Always been a fan of DTV.

    by Gabba-UK

    Back in the VHS days I'd be in Blockbusters hunting for them, a particuler favourite of mine was Robot Jox. There are some real trashy gems to find. Plus with DTV, the T&A content is a lot higher. Might have to check this one out.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 4:20 a.m. CST

    hyams

    by nightmute

    Always liked Peter Hyams work. Outland is under-rated, and holds up very well. It could easily be said to exist in the same universe as Alien, and even has the same production designer and composer, so the similarities are valid. Hyams also wrote and directed Capricorn One, which is brilliant. So maybe Hyams junior has a big future in the business, if his pedigree is anything to go by.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 4:35 a.m. CST

    Hyams.. Outland..

    by gotilk

    Now there's a movie. I swear that film had some of the best sound design I've heard in a theater. I'm not surprised this is good considering his dad was on set (unless that was a typo or grammar mistake.. the sentence reads like his dad was the cinematographer on this one). If my dad was on set, I'd want to make a good film, too. Especially if my dad was Peter Hymans.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 4:36 a.m. CST

    Does he get a boner on TV again?

    by Kobaal

    Sorry. This actually sounds rather good.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 4:41 a.m. CST

    I've seen it - thanks to my 'suppliers'

    by johnwalanp

    I have been fortunate enough to see a 'naughty' copy of this, and I will be purchasing the Blu-Ray, becasue VERN nailed this review! Everything he says is true and is now one of my most favourite direct-to-dvd movies alongside The Tournament and Tremors 2. VanDamme and Lundgren and utilised beautifully in this, and the long awaited re-match is brutal and bloody! LOVE how that fight ends too! The cinematography of 'Chernobyl' is done brilliantly, and certainly does NOT look like a low-budget movie. I implore you guys, see this movie!!!!!!

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 4:45 a.m. CST

    wow, what a pleasant surprise...

    by The_Crimson_King

    I'll have to check this out for sure, who would've thought this would be that good?

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 4:45 a.m. CST

    Hyams' son is someone to watch? Glad to hear it.

    by blakindigo

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 4:47 a.m. CST

    Vern, what was this shot with?

    by blakindigo

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 4:51 a.m. CST

    Vern you make this sound amazing please say you

    by drturing

    aren't overhyping it. i mean seriously this sounds fucking badass the way you write it. hyams' dad is good friends with james cameron. hope the kid slips this under his door.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 4:53 a.m. CST

    trust me, it's BADASS!

    by johnwalanp

    I'm glad JCVD made this too, it seems like he's really trying to develop some acting chops along with Dolph. Are our beloved 80's action stars coming out in force again to show them how it should be done?! I hope so if this is any indication.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 4:54 a.m. CST

    could it be???

    by GavinVanDraven

    with JCVD and now this, has Van Damme finally broken through to the other side? if its as good as you say Vern, should we expect to see his future films go theatrical?

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 4:58 a.m. CST

    I think Van Damme's best work is with Hyams Sr.

    by blakindigo

    But, I also have real affection for "Maximum Risk". The screenwriter for that movie also adapted "The Hunt for Red October."

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 5:02 a.m. CST

    Also, I like the trailers—

    by blakindigo

    http://tinyurl.com/y9cd88e

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 5:06 a.m. CST

    It was ass.

    by Bruce of all Trades

    Such a terrible movie. The one with Michael Jai White as a villain was better.

  • I have also seen the screener and cannot believe what I have just read on here. I have seen all the Universal Soldiers and this one had to be the most boring out of the lot. Even the tediously awful 2nd one has more replay value because of Michael J White. This one had god awful acting, a terribly by-the-numbers story, and I found Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski totally annoying throughout. It was obvious to me he was trying to impress and just came across as over the top - hell his nose also annoyed me. You'll see what I mean when/if you watch it. Jean Claude looked tired and when he was jogging along into the compound in his unisol outfit, it felt painful to watch. When things start to heat up and Dolph appears, the film gets better for about 10 minutes and then hes killed off. Absolute waste of time! He looked pretty bad ass but the fight was a load of crap and when Jean Claude faced off with him the two seemed to barely connect considering they have a "history" and why was he soo easy to kill this time?.. Utter tripe. As soon as I had finished watching this mess, I took it out of my dvd player and put it in the bin. An insult to the original Universal Soldier - I realise its DTV but I've seen good DTV's, this is a bad DTV. The director should be shot. 2/10

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 5:11 a.m. CST

    Holy fuck this stunt reel from it...

    by drturing

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gE_ymsdRz40 This movie looks like a perfect b movie.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 5:14 a.m. CST

    Oleg!!!!

    by Bloo

    Oleg makes any movie better even if he's in it for only 10 Minutes<P>Oleg owns your ass

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 5:16 a.m. CST

    Was it better than the first one?

    by TheNorthlander

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 5:27 a.m. CST

    Capricorn One

    by TheBoyFromUlster

    Completely agree with nightmute, Capricorn One is a fantastic film, brilliant piece of 70’s paranoia and has a fantastic score to it. If you have never seen it, it is definitely worth sourcing......Loving the Universal Soldier love, it was definitely badass in its day!

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 5:29 a.m. CST

    VERN WAS SHOCKED AT HOW BIG THE CHECK WAS.....

    by TehCreepyThinMan

    To promote this.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 5:30 a.m. CST

    Thanks for the SPOILER, Gman22—

    by blakindigo

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 5:49 a.m. CST

    The Russian Premiere?

    by catlettuce4

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 5:54 a.m. CST

    Gman22...

    by johnwalanp

    ...If you don't want your DVD dude, give it to someone else who might enjoy it. Van Damme looked 'tired'? The bit before the single shot action sequence that tops the intro of JVCD in terms of duration, action and brutality? And you preferred Michael JAI White in UniSol:2??!! ...Yikes. I'm not going to discuss the plot point you mentioned about JVCD and Dolph's characters, because you clearly weren't paying attention to the logic of the story. Also, 'Easy to kill'??!! Well, for fear of giving away more spoilers for the people who haven't seen it yet, you must have been watching a different movie. Finally Andre plays a Next-Gen UniSol, so its in the character to be over-the-top and impressive, otherwise the finale would be dull as hell and would nullify the carnage throughout the film's build-up, and would not hype the character as a superior threat. 'Trying to impress'? He never changes his emotional state, and he's kinda doing what the choreography and script call for - this isn't a competition to impress Simon Cowell with how many people you can kill. Of course you are entitled to your opinions, and this may not be everyone's cup of tea, but two established reviewers on successful, related sites (Joblo) both give the same glowing review of the movie, so what does that tell you?

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 6:41 a.m. CST

    Go and watch this one....

    by lostbat

    Was also skeptic but started watching the movie and wasn't bored one moment.... For DTV movie standards good! and for fans of JCVD and DL a must!

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 7:30 a.m. CST

    VERN, you disappoint me. I was expecting to laugh today.

    by Mike_D

    I am denied that experience. Instead I read a glowing review for a DTV action film.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 7:34 a.m. CST

    OLEG!

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Sounds good. My only question is why does Van Damme need to be rehabilitated. He was average joe in Universal Soldier The Return. Something must have happene in between.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 7:49 a.m. CST

    Binks

    by Bloo

    I think the director pretty much ignored the last couple of DTV sequels

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 8:17 a.m. CST

    Yeah, but Bloo if I recall JCVD

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    was in the only big screen sequel. There were several DTV sequels, but unless I'm forgetting one JCVD wasn't in any of those. The last time we saw him he was duking it out with Michael Jai White and Goldberg. He was in the original, and that one only. Or, am I having a brain cramp?

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 8:18 a.m. CST

    Is Vern that guy from 30 Rock???

    by moorE12

    The writer who always wears the trucker hats...Judah Friedlander. One day I was really bored and started to watch a biography of Steven Seagal, and basically Judah was giving commentary on a bunch of Seagal movies, talking about the violence and how Seagal was doing things that up until then no action star or movie was doing.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 8:23 a.m. CST

    Im shocked how they put Dolphs character back together again...

    by theDannerDaliel

    Seeing as he went through a wood chipper/corn harvester in the first one. Medical geniouses them people. Seeing as they also basicly found a way to cheat death with JCVD character being completely normal in US2.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 8:23 a.m. CST

    Yeah, but Bloo if I recall JCVD

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    was in the only big screen sequel. There were several DTV sequels, but unless I'm forgetting one JCVD wasn't in any of those. The last time we saw him he was duking it out with Michael Jai White and Goldberg. He was in the original, and that one only. Or, am I having a brain cramp?

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 8:26 a.m. CST

    I'm fuckin' sold

    by caruso_stalker217

    But then, why wouldn't I be?

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 8:47 a.m. CST

    "previous five UNIVERSAL SOLDIER pictures"?!?!...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...I'm speechless.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 9:03 a.m. CST

    What if the Predators stole JCVD Unisol

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    for their little game hunt project that Rodriguez is putting together. Woe to them.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 9:04 a.m. CST

    i stopped reading a few paragraphs ago

    by Datascream

    Vern you need to edit your reviews. I got the point a long time ago, after I learned you loved it, how well it was made and who the director was, you could have just ended it right there. After a while you're just rambling. Do you have to reach a certain quota of how many words you use in your reviews?

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 9:10 a.m. CST

    sounds great

    by Omar B

    I was gonna check it out anyways but you've done a nice little review. am I the only one who wants a DTV section here on the site? I'm a huge nerd for those, there are a lot of good directors and entire crews slugging away at DTVs and doing better work than most blockbuster movies. Isaac Florentine comes to mind, I'll watch anything he does. We've gotten to a point where computer tech and good cameras are inexpensive enough that you can still deliver a good looking movie on a DTV budget. Story's another issue, but it'll look great.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 9:27 a.m. CST

    OLEG!

    by travis-dane

    is the way to go!

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 9:36 a.m. CST

    Avoid this...

    by Human_Bean_Juice_

    Love Van Damme back in the day, but this junk is bad. They never leave that damn robocop looking compound, the fights are decent if you like men going through fake glass a lot, and haggard Van Damme is too looking well past it.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Honestly I was shocked too.

    by MainMan2001

    This movie is amazing. It so could have been in the theaters.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 10 a.m. CST

    Did this deserve a Theatrical?

    by drunkenmonkey73

    Thanks for this would never of known it was out, will check it out. Long live DVT!

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 10:01 a.m. CST

    omar

    by lex romero

    come over to Vern's site, he reviews DTV along with theatrical releases and there's a small but great community of commenters.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 10:03 a.m. CST

    Michael Jai White has become my folk hero

    by Darkartist

    When I first saw SPAWN I was sure it was the worst comic book movie I would ever see. Of course I was wrong because CATWOMAN & WOLVERINE & BATMAN & ROBIN were on deck to eventually stick their clammy hands down my pants and take hold of my cock, ripping it from it's sack, leaving me with a feeling akin to relief that I'd had only lost a penis and not my life. But even amongst this cream of the crap, SPAWN still ranks pretty high. It's nothing but a motherfucking incomprehensible mess of dull acting, unimaginative special effects and lousy writing. But it's greatest flaw lies in one man, John "The Pest" Leguizamo. I've never been a fan his desperate, coked-up, idiot-energy style of comedy, so his portrayal of the Violater set my teeth on edge from the moment he waddled into frame. In fact, I hated him so utterly and passionately that I continue to loathe John Leguizamo to this day and it took me over a decade to forgive anyone who had anything to do with it, including Michael Jai White. Then I watched UNDISPUTED 2. oon after that I saw the deleted scene he did with Carradine from KILL BILL and started paying attention. Just like that within 2 weeks I'd seen BLACK DYNAMITE & BLOOD & BONE, 2 movies that have entertained me more than any other film production from last year. I don't know at what point he became so badass and I don't care. I just want the man to continue making movies because he's doing something right. Blood & Bone took the elements of Bruce Lee movies that made them classic, like fights that focus on combat effectiveness instead of shaw brothers theatrics, and incorporated them to hip hop and street culture in brilliant ways that turkeys like ROMEO MUST DIE could never manage. Everything from the acting, writing, humor and fight choregraphy are top notch. I was an idiot to ever doubt the man or his talents. He deserves to come out of the shadow of Welsey Snipes in a big way and I hope the world soon takes notice

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 10:41 a.m. CST

    Dolph is still the best Punisher.

    by cookylamoo

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 10:42 a.m. CST

    AVATAR to become highest grossing film ever this afternoon

    by Dreadlock Holmes

    Sorry to derail (pfft, yeah right) but i think that should bear mentioning.Sometimes, i look at the old talkbacks and just breathe in the hate to see how wrong these morons ended up becoming.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 10:45 a.m. CST

    i was reading.. i was enjoying... but

    by BendersShinyAss

    Whats the deal with threatening to detonate a bomb in chenoble, spreading radiation everywhere. i mean.... aren't they going into an area where radiation is spread everywhere already? or is it to piss off the people who finally got it all cleaned up? i'm gunna continue reading now that i got that off my chest

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 10:48 a.m. CST

    Fuck AVATAR

    by BoggyCreekBeast

    Yeah, I went there!

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 10:58 a.m. CST

    had it for awhile too and not checked it

    by Waka_Flocka_Flame

    will now tho

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 11 a.m. CST

    jai white should be in everything

    by Waka_Flocka_Flame

    he's the man

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 11:21 a.m. CST

    is there a scene where Dolph

    by Meadowe

    Caresses someone's ears? That would be cool and creepy on so many levels.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 11:21 a.m. CST

    is there a scene where Dolph

    by Meadowe

    Caresses someone's ears? That would be cool and creepy on so many levels.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Probly?

    by Acappellaman

    Vern, dude... spell check is your friend. Seriously. <p> I'm actually looking forward to this now. I didn't realize there were FIVE Usol movies. Holy crap! I've got me some catching up to do, and I'll finish with this one. I also still need to see JCVD.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 11:23 a.m. CST

    lex romero

    by Omar B

    There are DTV reviews on Vern's site? Gimmie a link man, I've never been to his site.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 11:29 a.m. CST

    Robot Jox... LOL

    by Naboo_the_Enigma

    I paid to see that one! hehe

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 11:40 a.m. CST

    hell yeah Darkartist! Michael Jai White

    by turketron_2

    Agree with your paragraph up there, I recently experienced BLOOD & BONE and BLACK DYNAMITE as well, loved them both. I'm going to have to check out Undisputed 2 and the Kill Bill 2 deleted scene now!

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 11:42 a.m. CST

    Great moovie

    by Sanya08

    This movie is fuckin goood! And I mean it!

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 11:43 a.m. CST

    And DTV is?

    by CrunchyMilk

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 11:44 a.m. CST

    You've got to be kidding me!!!! WTH?!?

    by jael

    Oh, for cryin out loud, Vern, are you out of your mind? How can you sanction that lousy movie and call it good? Obviously the kidnapping was fun to watch for a while, but even then the low budget is plain visible. And even so, that only lasts for about five minutes. There are still 92 minutes of horseshit remaining. The storyline of Bambi is more daring and diverse. The entire movie lacks dialogue, emotion and something called a damn script. Let's not even talk about the poor setting. It's been shot in a bulgarian military facility. One could expect that they do the damn effort and put on a couple of russian bio-hazard and radiation shields if you want to sell it as Tchernobyl. It's Dolph against Van Damn. We get it. It's a hi from the past. Right. Then why is it that the entire conversation between the two of them contains about five sentences? The original Universal Soldier had at least verbal conflict. Regeneration is a Who-can-stare-the-hardest-contest. It's awesome, if you have the attention span of a goldfish. It's dark, it's sinister. That was not a bad attempt to take the whole thing somewhere else, but it was simply a bit too dark and too colourless. There was no break from that theme, so it sucked. There was just no atmosphere building up. The heroes, lame. The villains, lame. The chick, ah, there she... oh, she's gone already. Such a rush of emotions... not. Sorry guys, but Regeneration is an epic fail!

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 12:01 p.m. CST

    "They're like perpetual war in human shape."

    by johnnyangelheart

    Sounds like an allegory for the human condition. Welcome back, Vern, you have been missed, and I'll be looking for this movie, sounds like a good one.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 12:24 p.m. CST

    Saw this at Fantastic Fest this year

    by Evil E

    And I can back Vern up. Totally bad-ass and brutal. Deserves a run in theatres, but if not definitely worth picking up on blu-ray.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 1:22 p.m. CST

    I HIGHLY DOUBT this movie is worth a flaming bag of dogshit

    by REVENGE_of_FETT

    But then again, I think the original sucked donkey dick, so....

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 1:34 p.m. CST

    Van Damme doing any leg-splits in this?

    by Darkartist

    That's all I want to know because it seems like he's aged about two quarters of a century in three years time. He's either way too old to do the splits anymore or he's finally realized how utterly gay he looks when he does it.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 1:44 p.m. CST

    This movie was just BAD

    by Blackguard

    I watched the screener and was just appauled. How can you make a sequel and ignore the previous installment? This wasn't a reboot so why not add a line saying that his "human life" in part 2 wasn't working and he was degrading or something. And WHY would you "clone" Dolph Lundgrens character and let him age? The only redeeming quality was "Pitbull." They were smart and didn't give him any lines. Whoever the actor was that played the rogue doctor was over the top awful. While this movie had some great action overall it was just plain bad.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 2:05 p.m. CST

    One of the best "pure" action movies in a long time

    by PowersBootheForDKR

    Anyone who's hating on it probably made their mind up before watching it. It's the most grounded out of the series and probably the best made. The first good surprise movie of the year.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 2:47 p.m. CST

    jael and Blackguard

    by Vern

    I loved it for pretty much all the reasons that you hated it, and would have hated it if it had all of the generic formula qualities you thought were missing. The low level of dialogue, the simplicity of the story, the ignoring of the moronic last installment where Luc Deveraux was made alive again, the lack of a phony love story, the consistently bleak and serious tone - these are all what makes it soar above other movies of this type.<p> It's all a matter of taste of course, I don't mind that you don't like it. But Jael, you can't say that it's for people with the attention span of a goldfish when it was you that was bored because it didn't have a bunch of dialogue explaining everything you're supposed to feel about it. I think you're especially wrong about the confrontation between Van Damme and Lundgren. Everything you need to know is on their faces and in the few words they speak. To say more would ruin it.<p> Sorry you didn't like it though. Thanks fellas

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 3:02 p.m. CST

    Preacher_mg, it's the distributors fault

    by Proman1984

    And nobody else's

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 3:04 p.m. CST

    great review vern, i agree

    by Waka_Flocka_Flame

    hyams is def one to watch. his handling of action is excellent. WE CAN ACTUALLY SEE WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON. big fan of his dad too.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 3:05 p.m. CST

    also he did The Smashing Machine

    by Waka_Flocka_Flame

    mma fans know how great that is

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 3:21 p.m. CST

    blackindigo

    by Munro Kelly

    The movie was shot on the Red One with Master Prime lens.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 4:27 p.m. CST

    Only Vern could burn that many words on a DTV action flick.

    by The Reluctant Austinite

    God Bless him.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 4:51 p.m. CST

    direct to vagina action flick

    by Waka_Flocka_Flame

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 5:54 p.m. CST

    it's kick ass OLD SCHOOL, and completely awesome

    by quantize

    bunch of fuckin whining cunts on this forum...this is precisely the kind of action film that doesn't get made anymore that true geeks love. It's brutal, brilliantly shot and edited and the music superbly minimal.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 6:52 p.m. CST

    Would Be Better With Pee Wee Herman

    by Akira Cowabunga

    He could kick all their asses.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 7:14 p.m. CST

    This is quite good

    by nicegoogly

    It is a bare bones actioner takes a different road than the original film. This one seems to keep them grounded instead of the silly sci-fi world of the first one. The military strikes are more thoughtful and the main players beat the piss out of each other. I felt that Luc was always the good guy. When they dehabilitate him he does it for the right reasons: to help others. I think the military is really the bad guy, both sides in this case. The budget is low, but it is a great update of how this story should be told. The original was an early nineties flick...science fiction was more fiction. Keep you expectations in check and you will really enjoy this film.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 10:29 p.m. CST

    OFFICIAL: AVATAR HIGHEST GROSSING MOVIE OF ALL TIME

    by Colt19801980

    Just passed Titanic

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 11:04 p.m. CST

    Thanks Munro Kelly —

    by blakindigo

    So Peter Hyams is on the list of DP's using RED? Nice.

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 11:10 p.m. CST

    MORTAL KOMBAT REBOOT!!!!

    by Johnno

    Not only is Avatar the highest grossing movie of all time, but WB is now looking to reboot Mortal Kombat!!!<br><br>http://tinyurl.com/ydx9g6k<br><br>This is it! A chance to do it right! KMFDM to score! Hire Tony Jaa and that Rain guy to play Liu Kang and Kung Lao!!! I want Subzero to freeze my eyeballs out in Stereoscopic 3-D!!!

  • Jan. 25, 2010, 11:35 p.m. CST

    Wow, i might check this out

    by theKip

    I actually liked Vern's comments about a resurgence in DTV movies. I like all these quirky, little known genre movies that have come out in the past year. As far as I'm concerned right now you have thoughtful DTV movies and extremely, profitable, yet predictable blockbuster. Nice review.

  • Jan. 26, 2010, 12:35 a.m. CST

    DTV...the last bastion of American martial arts

    by Scottadkinsfist

    Hey all...you knew I had to throw something out here. But if you think about it, DTV in general is the only real place we can see martial artists perform that isn't enhanced with CGI (Like Ninja Assassin) and you get to see real martial artists go at it. The stories and acting sucks, but what the hell, I don't want to see MJW or Scott Adkins reciting Hamlet. I want to see them kick the living shit out of somebody. BTW Isaac Florentine is the best director of DTV films-period. Hyams has a way to go to get to that level, but it seems he's making a good start here. I be checking this one out...

  • Jan. 26, 2010, 12:36 a.m. CST

    Ugh...typos abound lol

    by Scottadkinsfist

    I meant I'll be checking this one out.

  • Jan. 26, 2010, 4:16 a.m. CST

    johnwalanp / blakindigo FOLLOW UP

    by Gman22

    This is a follow up to a post I left saying how bad this film was. Jonhwalanp... if you think that film was good, fair play to ya. But I have been watching films since I was 7 and Im and now 30. I have an extensive collection of both Jean Claude Van Damme's work and Dolph Lundgren's. I know what a good film is and I know what a bad film is. Rather than other people on here get their hypes up about "ooooh jean claude faces off against dolph" I thought I would put into perspective what was a wasted opportunity and a dull film to watch. I didnt see a different film from you and I haven't ruined any "plot point" - Blakindigo. All I said was how easy was he to die, I think its pretty obvious that its not going to be franchise material so I think people are safe to assume dolph at some point is going to die as I did before I watched it. What I was commenting on was the fight which lasted no more than 5 minutes. If you say it lasted anymore than that, you must have had the slow motion button on. When you compare it to the fight scene at the end of Universal Soldier 1, it was awful. But yes, everyone is entitled to his or her opinion as you are to yours however 2 reviews of a film aren't going to convert me or convince me what I saw was any good. How many "good" reviews of Transformers 2 were there? Does that make that a good film as well? I rest my case. Seriously everyone else, this isn't a good film despite the negativity I had after my post and Michael J White is far superior as a bad guy to Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski anyday. At least he has experience acting.

  • Jan. 26, 2010, 5:08 a.m. CST

    Normally I disagree with Vern

    by tempurasan

    Because I think he can be such a fucking cunt sometimes. But he is right about this film. This IS the best movie Van Damm has ever been in (save for maybe Hard Target). It kicked all kind of asses. Yet for all the asses it kicked, it never sacrificed suspense and intelligent plotting. Every character has a very legitimate, compelling and interesting reason to be in the film. They are there for exactly the right amount that the script calls for, no more, no less. There is literally no ego in this film, despite having so much testosterone. Van Damm VS Lundgren IS the terminator fight that T3 tried to do but failed. This film is a lot more intelligent that some of you can appreciate (especially for those that has the fucking need for a movie to explain everything that happened in the most formulaic Hollywood fashion possible).

  • Jan. 26, 2010, 12:45 p.m. CST

    thanks tempurasan

    by Vern

    That's the sweetest thing anybody's ever said about me.<p> I think the secret is that this is the rare DTV where the people making it are clearly approaching it as art. They don't care about what a movie like this is supposed to be, and instead are making what it could be in an ideal world. The people who have said they didn't like it all seem to have criticisms based on expecting it to follow the formula. If you need it to have a love interest or are going to have a stopwatch to time how long Dolph and Jean-Claude's fight is that's gonna be a problem.<p> I mean don't get me wrong Gman22, I wouldn't mind a half hour of Dolph fighting JCVD. Dolph was the only reason I was excited for this movie. But in this case it's quality over quantity. Dolph's small role in this is infinitely more valuable than his starring roles in COMMAND PERFORMANCE or RETROGRADE. And although I enjoy the original UNIVERSAL SOLDIER I think his broken man yearning for humanity here is way more interesting and affecting than his more generic crazy guy take the first time around.

  • Jan. 26, 2010, 6:07 p.m. CST

    Dolph in Universal soldier 1 was so awesome

    by tradeskilz

    Me and a mate still quote stg Andrew Scott after all this time. When we finish a bear: "Its emptaaaaay" Need more booze. "you for got to take your...............medication." Simulating Dolphs voice.

  • Jan. 26, 2010, 9:31 p.m. CST

    Hamburger

    by shawnh199

    I thought that JCVD ground him into hamburger in a thresher at the end of Universal Soldier. Has it taken 20yrs for him to regenerate?

  • Jan. 28, 2010, 5:06 p.m. CST

    No, really ...

    by Yer_Maw

    ... this is not good. Barely worth watching and certainly not even close to being in the class of Univeral Soldier. It looks like low-budget dreck, which I suppose is fair enough given that's what it is. <p>It has its plus points (Carpenter-esque music, decent look, the two veterans) but the zero-plot shoot-em-up video game approach sucked giant sweaty beef. Also whoopee, we can see all that's going on in the fight scenes. Yes we can - stunt doubles. Don't get me wrong, I know that any 'through-the-wall/down-the-stairs' actioner will use doubles regardless to its cast's abilities, but surely it could have been hidden better? This looks like one of those 60s TV episodes where it cuts to longshot, and suddenly you're watching Gene LeBell in a wig.<p>Oh well.

  • Feb. 6, 2010, 11:35 p.m. CST

    Yes it's better than the original...

    by Sicuv Uyall

    ..

  • Feb. 6, 2010, 11:37 p.m. CST

    Because the original sucked...

    by Sicuv Uyall

    but not as much as the sequels. This is actually a good movie on its own and i'll probably buy the blu ray.

  • Feb. 14, 2010, 12:20 p.m. CST

    man, i tooks your recommendation...and YOU'RE FUCKING RIGHT!

    by idrinkyourmilkshake

    This movie rocked.I actually ordered it(I havn't bought a new DVD in over a year!). It was TRULY AMAZING.This could've gotten theatrical release.It really was DAMN GOOD ACTION.I PRAY Hyams gets more shots at directing.He's goodat action and the viscveral stuff.