Universal Soldier: Film Review

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Another head scratcher here, folks: why would anyone want to hand over their hard earned Daddy Warbucks to watch a middle aged judo champ fake kick butt? Clearly, there’s a market for this sort of thing because they keep making sequels to The Expendables and now Universal Soldier which stars Jean-Claude Van Damme as an evil henchman who delivers blows and bodies like an assembly line does to Twinkies.

It’s the classic macho revenge fantasy: a young, handsome man named John (Scott Adkins) is haunted by the brutal murder of his beloved wife and daughter who were killed in a home invasion by a mercenary named Luc Deveraux (played by Van Damme, and no relation to Blanche of The Golden Girls…though if he were, that would make an infinitely more interesting movie). So John vows to hunt down the big, bad villain and kick his butt . . . until he actually is confronted by the bad guy and suddenly has to rethink everything because it turns out he doesn’t know as much as he thought he did or understood his life with quite the certainty he once believed. What’s worse than a Hollywood revenge fantasy? A pseudo-intellectual Hollywood revenge fantasy. Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.

This one is as interminable as a kidney stone. You just want it to be over as soon as possible so that you can retreat to more consequential and artistically weighty fare: like The Spongebob Movie.

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