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Universal Soldier 3 (2010)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: John Hyams

Starring:
Jean-Claude Van Damme/Luc
Dolph Lundgren/Andrew
Andrei Arlovski/NGU
Zahary Baharov/Topoff
PLOT-CRUNCH
Terrorists kidnap the kids of the Russian president and take over the Chernobyl Nuclear Complex, threatening to kaboom it unless their demands are met. Did I tell ya that they’re also controlling a super undead soldier in the guise of Andrei "The Pit Bull" Arlovski? Now you know. After trying to resolve the conflict the old fashion way, the military resorts to “starting him” again, the original Unisol Luc Deveraux (Van Damme)! He’s reset to kill and sent in to that clean house!
THE LOWDOWN

We’ve been over this all before? – Andrew Scott

The original 1992 macho man overdose UNIVERSAL SOLDIER is one of my fav films starring two of my top action stars; Dolph Lundgren and Jean Claude Van Damme. When the 1999 follow up UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: THE RETURN was put out; I was mucho bummed out by it. Not only didn’t it measure up to the original but it also couldn’t stand on its own as a potent action Sci-Fi bonanza of fun. Granted I appreciate it more today on a cheese level but still – not a sequel worthy of UNIVERSAL SOLDIER. Now in 2010, the straight to DVD UNIVERSAL SOLDIER 3: REGENERATION aims to rectify the wrong that was Part 2 – did it succeed? F*ck yeah!

UNIVERSAL SOLDIER 3 was a relentless, mean spirited and visceral action ride that aimed for the throat and ripped it the f*ck out. The flick kicked off its set with an exhilarating car chase and then hardly stopped for air till its end credits. Action, action, action. I'm pretty sure I blew a load when the Van Damme sent in to one-man army the baddies bit kicked in with the camera following him around, in one long take at that (shades of the JCVD opening). Definitely, one of my fav pow-wow scenes from the flick! AWESOME! Moreover, the visual approach the filmmakers took with this film swayed me. Everything was played out bleak and grounded (Hookers and beers to DOP Peter Hyams for his gritty cinematography!), even the Sci-Fi elements were put out in a realistic fashion. Think Universal Soldier by way of Bourne Identity. Same went for the camera moves here, which were refreshingly old school. Lots of over the shoulder goodness, tracking shots and most importantly, hand to hand fights that were done right (wide shots and close ups for inserts...that's it). In terms of the latter point.. WOW...  I didn’t think action filmmakers did that anymore – THANK YOU! I esteemed the use of real squib shots as opposed to CG squibs as well – added to the authentic feel of the picture.

And for those of ya looking for Van Damme and Dolph back where they god damn belong, in the cinematic ring together, you’ll be almost happy. Van Damme’s Luc Deveraux, although almost a subplot (he’s in like half the film), made for a compelling hero for all the wrong reasons. He was beaten down, morose and filled with regret (basically me on Sunday mornings). I was captivated by the character for non obvious reasons and also really dug that they kind of brought him full circle with this film. Dolph Lundgren was of course back as the happy-go-psycho Andrew Scott, and although his screen time was WAYYYYYY too limited for my tastes (less than 15 minutes), the fanboy joo-joo cranked up to DANGER ZONE every time he surfaced. I literally got goose bumps travelling up my spine when JCVD and Dolph were finally in the same frame together - long overdue. And what of the rematch between Dolph and JC? All I’ll say is this; the showdown hit the spot, it may be better than the one in the original. The dudes went all out and then some, punches, shoving, kicking (Van Damme still has it!), jumping out a second story window...the works! Fun times! Made for an intense mano et mano!

Finally, let’s face it, a film is only as good as its villain, and newcomer Andrei "The Pit Bull" Arlovski (a former UFC Heavyweight Champion) filled that spot with brutal glee. Imposing physically, photogenic and brutal as f*ck, to say that his machine gun punching technique to the face had me slit throating from ear to ear would be an understatement. Punch that melon bro! Punch it good! F*CK YEAH! Add to all that a minimalist yet effective edgy score by Michael Krassner & Kris Hill (kind of John Carpenter vibed), a sleek capitalization on its locations (that snowy setting owned) a pretty even pace and able supporting players (Zahary Baharov was bang-on as head terrorist Topoff, loved him) and you get a low budget sequel that was much better than it should have been.

But all was not perfect. Unfortunately JCVD’s and Lundgren's limited screen time was often felt and even resulted in one subplot that I didn’t care for: unknown soldier goes in to recon. Not that it wasn’t a compelling sequence in its own right, its just that by that point, the storyline begged for JC and Lundgren in the forefront, that’s where the story was at, hence the scene felt like padding/stalling till the Titans of Brawn got into the full swing of things. Furthermore, more development as to Luc’s story would have been nice and I didn’t fully buy the “cloning” thing when it came to Andrew Scott (why clone a Unisol that went rogue in the past) – but I let that last one go, just happy to see Lundgren in the film. Finally Andrew Scott’s failure at snipping off his enemies’ ears like he did in the original peeved me – all I needed was ONE SCENE of him doing that and I would've been in a tizzy...but... NO DICE! 

Overall though; UNIVERSAL SOLDIER REGENERATION wound up being one hell of a sucker punch. I thought I was going to get hit by a soft right - instead - I got a hard left hook to the cranium and then an uppercut to the chin. Thanks for the beating!

GORE
We get a severed arm, lots of faces beaten to a red gushed pulp, countless grisly bullets hits, slit throats, impalings and brains blown out. Violent stuff!
T & A
If shirtless dudes is on your TNA check list – dig in! If you’re in the same boat as me, do the Internet porn thing after the film.
BOTTOM LINE
I'm definitely gonna buy this one!UNIVERSAL SOLDIER 3: REGENERATION made my day! Grounded, down & dirty, extremely violent, with intense action, potent baddies and fly fist fights, it was a return to form to the franchise! Granted more meat on the story, more Dolph and further Van Damme would've made it even better, but hey this is what I got, and as-is, it surpassed my expectations. I always thought that UNIVERSAL SOLDIER had all of the elements to make a solid series. Part 2 spit on that potential then but hopefully this new entry will act as a starting pistol to a race in the right direction. If U4 is as good as this one, I want IN!
BULL'S EYE
Director John Hyams is Peter Hyams son. The latter directed Van Damme in Timecop and Sudden Death.

JCVD's son Kristopher Van Varenberg has a role in the film.

Dolph Lundgren agreed to do the film a couple of days before it went under the camera. he didn't like his lines, they re-wrote them, he jumped on board.

Dolph Lundgren filmed his role in 5 days. Jean-Claude Van Damme filmed his in 20 days.

REPEAT PUNCH THE OFFICIAL U3 WEBSITE HERE

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+0
5:21PM on 02/10/2010

WOW! Better than it had a right to be...

The story was lame (of course). If you expected a great story and plot, you are a tool. But the action set pieces were so good in this little gem that it more than made up for it. The bloody shoot outs, knife fights, hand to hand fights and stunt work were top notch. Arlovsky was a great villain, but I agree Dolph was underused and desperately needed to wear the ear necklace. Nevetheless, time he had onscreen was great and his fight with Van Damme really owns. Since he seems determined to
The story was lame (of course). If you expected a great story and plot, you are a tool. But the action set pieces were so good in this little gem that it more than made up for it. The bloody shoot outs, knife fights, hand to hand fights and stunt work were top notch. Arlovsky was a great villain, but I agree Dolph was underused and desperately needed to wear the ear necklace. Nevetheless, time he had onscreen was great and his fight with Van Damme really owns. Since he seems determined to squander his chance to go mainstream (ie: turning down the Expendables) after his acclaim in JCVD, let's hope Van Damme keeps churning out more straight to DVD goodness like this bad boy.
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+0
10:48AM on 02/03/2010

Good throwback to the nineties

Agreed with Arrow. This was actually pretty good, though I can understand some people do not actually consider this as a true sequel. For me it was more as if the story happened in a parallel world. The action sequences were brutally awesome, bloody and visceral... not something we get to see often nowadays. And sure, I would have loved Dolph to be the main villain, but his fight with Jean-Claude was great. And no, I do not think a lot of stunt men were used. I paused even when the camera was
Agreed with Arrow. This was actually pretty good, though I can understand some people do not actually consider this as a true sequel. For me it was more as if the story happened in a parallel world. The action sequences were brutally awesome, bloody and visceral... not something we get to see often nowadays. And sure, I would have loved Dolph to be the main villain, but his fight with Jean-Claude was great. And no, I do not think a lot of stunt men were used. I paused even when the camera was shaky and could clearly see it was Dolph. Not so sure for VD, but see how beaten down he looked, I would not be surprised he actually did it all himself. Also loved the scene where they meet, completely similar to the time of their death in Nam. No words were needed. Jean-Claude's silence was on the contrary a good thing. As if to say, we are both tired, old weapons who are only good for this: fight. No words needed. Let's just get to it and end it.
As for the score, I loved it as well. Very cold, electronic, like a John Carpenter movie. The ending was a bit WTF, but overall, good flick.
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3:55AM on 01/22/2010
This movie didn't do it for me. I like Arlovsky in his role, but I sure as heck would've preferred more Dolph as his ear-slicing, wise-cracking Andrew Scott. And the fight between JCVD & Dolph wasn't all that great, unless crashing through walls counts as great fighting to you. And I really didn't like Dolph getting snuffed as his memories came back and before he could reveal what he remembered. JCVD's Luc may not have cared, but I did dammit.

I guess this story was a plausible way to
This movie didn't do it for me. I like Arlovsky in his role, but I sure as heck would've preferred more Dolph as his ear-slicing, wise-cracking Andrew Scott. And the fight between JCVD & Dolph wasn't all that great, unless crashing through walls counts as great fighting to you. And I really didn't like Dolph getting snuffed as his memories came back and before he could reveal what he remembered. JCVD's Luc may not have cared, but I did dammit.

I guess this story was a plausible way to re-introduce Luc and Scott, but I wished they would've come up with a way to put those two as the main characters. This movie just felt like a "doing it for the paycheck" flick...just empty.

Arlovsky and his soft chin may have just found a new career. Here's hoping.

For cripes sake, can we get a film where JCVD & Dolph have a fight that actually showcases their martial arts skills? Is that too much to ask for as a fan?
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+0
10:49AM on 01/16/2010

Great review

Like everyone else, I had know hope for this movie. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Hyams created some great action sequences...mainly the opening car chase and the entire last 40 minutes. I also loved the kind of "Bourne" style that it had...very gritty. Of course it wasn't as good as the original but it was MUCH better than the horrible US2. It's no masterpiece but a very solid little action/sci-fi flick thats worth a watch...loved the music too. I look forward to owning
Like everyone else, I had know hope for this movie. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Hyams created some great action sequences...mainly the opening car chase and the entire last 40 minutes. I also loved the kind of "Bourne" style that it had...very gritty. Of course it wasn't as good as the original but it was MUCH better than the horrible US2. It's no masterpiece but a very solid little action/sci-fi flick thats worth a watch...loved the music too. I look forward to owning the bluray.
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8:54AM on 01/16/2010

Sucker Punch indeed!

I had almost no expectations for this film. Other than the curiousity of the Hyams duo behind the camera and why Van Damme would return for a third, i wasnt too interested.
This movie is fuckin good. Arrow's review says it all, but I wanted to throw in my endorsement too.
Very, very entertaining. Skillfull and creatively brutal action.
I had almost no expectations for this film. Other than the curiousity of the Hyams duo behind the camera and why Van Damme would return for a third, i wasnt too interested.
This movie is fuckin good. Arrow's review says it all, but I wanted to throw in my endorsement too.
Very, very entertaining. Skillfull and creatively brutal action.
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2:43AM on 01/14/2010
I have to wholeheartedly disagree with this review. I know...it's different strokes for different folks...but...

I'm a big fan of Universal Soldiers, and this flick pissed me off to no end. First off...how did it connect with the other flicks? If it forgot about the second film, fine...then what about Ally Walker aka Van Damme's love interest? He was human and back to form and now he's all of a sudden with this therapist on whereever? There's like...not connection to the first movie.

You
I have to wholeheartedly disagree with this review. I know...it's different strokes for different folks...but...

I'm a big fan of Universal Soldiers, and this flick pissed me off to no end. First off...how did it connect with the other flicks? If it forgot about the second film, fine...then what about Ally Walker aka Van Damme's love interest? He was human and back to form and now he's all of a sudden with this therapist on whereever? There's like...not connection to the first movie.

You didn't see Van Damme except for two quick, pointless scenes in the first 40 minutes. And action? What action? Yeah Van Damme did some stuff at the end (I can admit, the whole one-long-take action scene was good). But there wasn't that much action, even the second one had more action than this one.

This just reeked of every other direct-to-DVD sequel. The supporting cast sucked, the villains were completely forgettable (as was the score), and when Van Damme and Lundgren meet again...do wet get any connection to the first movie? Like Dolph saying "Traitor" or "You were right, the war IS over"? Nope, Van Damme just stands there like he doesn't even KNOW Dolph...such a wasted opportunity. And the fight rivaling the first one? I don't think so, not in the slightest. Unless you want to see mostly stuntmen pushing one guy into another wall, and vice versa...

This film had no heart to it. The first one did, and this didn't. Just a money-making, shameless 'direct to DVD POS' that should never have been made.

Don't want to or mean to rag on you at all Mr. Fallon aka The Arrow. We all like and dislike many types of movies, and that's cool. Not one thing wrong with that.

But as for me...I thought this was sucked hard. 1/4
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12:11AM on 01/13/2010

Just didn't grab me...

The movie just didn't grab me like I had hoped...there was just something missing from it...mostly JCVD and Dolph...I loved what I saw of Dolph on screen but he just wasn't there enough and neither was JCVD much...and I woul dhave rather seen the movie center around them more.
The movie just didn't grab me like I had hoped...there was just something missing from it...mostly JCVD and Dolph...I loved what I saw of Dolph on screen but he just wasn't there enough and neither was JCVD much...and I woul dhave rather seen the movie center around them more.
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9:18PM on 01/12/2010

Hell yes!

Fantastic review, I was so worried that this film would suck. Looks like we can still have faith in the Hyams's after all. W00T!
Fantastic review, I was so worried that this film would suck. Looks like we can still have faith in the Hyams's after all. W00T!
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5:39PM on 01/12/2010
I can't wait. Uni Sol is one of my all time fave actioners and is the best film Roland Emmerich will ever make. The final fight and of course Scott's death are LEGEND!
I can't wait. Uni Sol is one of my all time fave actioners and is the best film Roland Emmerich will ever make. The final fight and of course Scott's death are LEGEND!
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+0
5:28PM on 01/12/2010
I think this is like the 5th Universal Soldier movie altogether. I saw Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business at Blockbuster and rented the hell out of it.
I think this is like the 5th Universal Soldier movie altogether. I saw Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business at Blockbuster and rented the hell out of it.
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12:13PM on 01/12/2010
i'm actually excited to see this now
i'm actually excited to see this now
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10:20AM on 01/12/2010
This sounds awesome.
This sounds awesome.
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