Good, Bad & Ugly Review: Universal Soldier – Day of Reckoning

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 54% (Critics) / 64% (Audience)
Directed By: John Hyams
Written By: John Hyams and Doug Magnuson
Starring: Scott Adkins, Dolph Lundgren, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Andrei Arlovski
Studio: Magnolia Pictures

Synopsis: John (Adkins) wakes up from a coma to discover his wife and daughter were slaughtered in a brutal home invasion. Haunted by images of the attack, he vows to kill the man responsible, Luc Deveraux (Van Damme). While John tries to piece his reality back together, things get more complicated when he is pursued by a relentless UniSol (Arlovski). As John gets closer to Deveraux and the rouge army of genetically enhanced warriors led by back-from-the-dead leader Andrew Scott (Lundgren), John discovers more about himself and begins to call into question everything he believed to be true. (Source)

The Good:
It was cool to see Van Damme and Lundgren reprising their roles from the earlier Universal Soldier films. In his action movie golden years, Van Damme seems to be easing into a niche as a pretty nifty bad guy. Lundgren seemed to be enjoying himself immensely.

The Bad:
I expected more from Scott Adkins in the lead role. He has been a bit of a stand out presence in other supporting roles I have seen him in but in this film he was like a blank slate and didn’t bring anywhere near the levels of charisma and fire that were needed for the role.

The Ugly
Above all else this is supposed to be an action movie but in the hands of there seems to be a certain level of art house pretentiousness that just made watching this movie a total chore.
And maybe I missed it being explained but I am clueless as to just why Van Damme’s Luc Deveraux went from hero of the earlier films to incredibly evil villain in this one.

Final Verdict: While as violent as one would expect a movie from this franchise to be, the desire to be something more (and failure to reach those desired heights) served to be the undoing of a film that would have been better served just trying to live up to its action pedigree.

Grade: C+

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