Friday, October 19, 2012

RoboCop Meets the Terminator Meets a Steaming Pile of Poo: "Universal Soldier" (1992)

After watching this monstrosity from director Roland Emmerich, I am now hard pressed to call "Independence Day" his worst film.

In 1969 Vietnam, Sgt. Scott (Dolph Lundgren) flips out, wanting to add to his severed ear necklace. He has killed his entire platoon, de-eared them, and now has two Vietnamese hostages. Luc (Jean-Claude Van Damme) comes in to save the day, the civilians are shot anyway, and Scott and Luc kill each other.

Fast forward twenty five years, and through the rest of this film (I love that joke!), and now two soldiers in the special Universal Soldier unit look a lot like Luc and Scott. They fight side by side, rescuing hostages being held in impossible situations, all directed from a mobile command center (big ol' truck). Just our bad luck that this newest mission brings back old Vietnam war memories in both Luc and Scott.

Spunky gal reporter Veronica (Ally Walker, who must break some kind of record here for uttering the word "shit" more times than any other performer in film) sneaks a few pictures of one indestructible soldier. Luc begins to remember things, helps her escape, and the pair start a run across the southwest United States with the rest of the genetically altered soldiers on their tails.

Don't worry, we get such wackiness as Luc's ability to bare his butt at all the wrong times (he must cool down his body in ice in order to survive). Let's not forget his annihilation of many a desert hick, since Arizona and Utah seem to be populated exclusively by morons. Hold your breath, as Luc and Veronica grow closer...a love story, too!

Emmerich directs the carnage with some style. The blood flows freely, there are hundreds of rounds shot, things blow up real good, but other than the special effects and makeup, this is so lame. All the characters did not have the "smart ass" gene removed, since there is a one-liner for every occasion here. The script does a lot of stupid things, simply because the main thrust of the story would not work otherwise. Why did Luc and Scott wait twenty five years to suddenly have memories and recognize each other as mortal enemies? Where were the guards when Veronica snaps pictures of a "wounded" soldier? Why did it take the police so long to track down this traveling roadshow of ka-boom? Oh, wait, they are all morons, too.

Finally, Universal Soldier features the embarrassment that is Lundgren and Van Damme trying to act. This provides more laughs than intended. Walker is really annoying (think Kate Capshaw in "Indiana Jones and The Temple Of Doom"), I began wishing one of these perfect soldiers would just hit their mark when they shot at her.

"Universal Soldier" generated a few sequels, all of which must be better than this...yeah, right. (*) out of five stars.