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UNIVERSAL SOLDIER

Long before there was an INDEPENDENCE DAY and GODZILLA, director Roland Emmerich brought genre fans UNIVERSAL SOLDIER ($30). UNIVERSAL SOLDIER is a lively sci-fi action movie about two Vietnam era soldiers who killed each other and are then resurrected twenty-five years later as part of a secret government program. Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as Luc Devreaux, a soldier forced to kill his sergeant, after the sergeant goes mad and begins killing civilians as well as his own men. Dolph Lundgren portrays Sgt. Andrew Scott; a man driven round the bend by the atrocities of Vietnam. The corpses of Devreaux and Scott, along with a number of their fallen comrades, are taken by the government and utilized in experiments to create a race of unstoppable fighting machines known as Universal Soldiers.

These Universal Soldiers or Unisols are surgically and genetically enhanced beings, with the ability to regenerate themselves if damaged in combat. Without memory, or a will of their own, the Unisols are deployed in the most hazardous combat and terrorist situations. The Unisols pass muster on a number of tests, but when a nosy reporter tries to discover the secret of the Unisols, things take an unexpected turn. Ally Walker portrays Veronica Roberts, the reporter that awakens the final memories of the heroic Devreaux and psychotic Scott. As they reenact the events of their deaths, Devreaux is forced to protect Veronica from the homicidal Scott, who relentlessly pursues them across country. With these two titans set to face off, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER builds to its action packed climax. The cast of UNIVERSAL SOLDIER also includes Ed O'Ross and Jerry Orbach.

Live Entertainment presents UNIVERSAL SOLDIER on DVD with a fine looking Letterboxed transfer that restores most of the film’s 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio (mistakenly listed as 1.85:1 on the DVD packaging). The transfer is quite good, with a sharp, detailed image and excellent color reproduction. Digital compression artifacts were seldom noticeable, except for a couple of darker sequences.

The audio has been re-mixed into a Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack with fine results. While not as good as films mixed theatrically into a discrete format, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER has the kind of atmosphere, bass and directional effects that won’t leave genre fans wanting. Other soundtrack options include a matrixed Dolby Surround compatible track. Subtitles are available on the DVD in Spanish as is English captioning.

The interactive menus offer access to a theatrical trailer, a theatrical teaser, a "making of" featurette, production notes and cast and crew biographies/filmographies.

 
UNIVERSAL SOLDIER 



 

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DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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