Plot: What’s it about?
Luc Devreaux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) served in Vietnam together, but they weren’t always the best brothers-in-arms. When Luc learns that Andrew has been torturing innocent civilians, it causes a heated conflict between the two. The situation soon boils over and violence breaks out, as the two nearly kill each other. This tension follows them beyond the battlefield however, even beyond the grave. After the two eliminate each other, a government experiment revives them over two decades later, as genetic creations with enhanced abilities across the board. But when the memories kick back in, will these two go another round and how much chaos will ensue?
Van Damme vs. Lundgren! A true clash of the titans, as Frank Dux battles Ivan Drago, in a futuristic world loaded with high end weapons, no less! This is from the time when action movies were action movies, no PG-13, watered down stuff, just testosterone laden mayhem on a grand scale. This one is soaked with explosions, bullets, and blood, just like it should be. Universal Soldier wasn’t given a huge budget, but it boasts some fun set pieces and looks more expensive than it was. A solid action movie that delivers on all fronts, Universal Soldier is just a fun, wild ride. Lundgren is awesome here, chewing through scenes with reckless abandon, while Van Damme is more laid back, but still his usual self. This might not be Oscar material, but Universal Soldier is great fun and worth a look for any genre fans.
Video: How does it look?
Universal Soldier is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. I didn’t know what to expect in this area, but man, the visuals here look excellent. The print looks clean, which allows the image to show impressive depth, with detail that is much finer than I had expected. I was hoping for solid, but the depth here goes beyond that, subtle touches spring to life. The colors are bright and on the mark, while contrast is smooth and consistent. In short, this is not only a great looking catalog transfer, it is a great looking transfer period, superb work.
Audio: How does it sound?
The DTS HD 5.1 option provides just the kind of soundtrack we want here, with ample power and surround presence. This one has plenty of action, so the surrounds come to life often and deliver the goods. When something explodes, you feel it and when bullets start to fly by, you might even duck a couple of them. The power is where the mix shines, but subtle audio is fine also, so no issues with the music or dialogue to report. All in all, a powerful soundtrack for a powerful movie. This disc also includes subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
A trivia track has been included for this Blu-ray edition, which is fun, but not too insightful. An audio commentary brings a few folks together from both sides of the camera, with middling results. Some stretches have interesting comments here and there, but others seem to dwell on silence or narration. This disc also includes a couple of brief featurettes, one on the film’s two leads and the other a general behind the scenes piece.