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Universal Soldier

Year: 1992
Production Co: Carolco
Director: Roland Emmerich
Writer: Richard Rothstein/Christopher Leitch/Dean Devlin
Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Ally Walker, Ed O'Ross, Tommy Tiny LIster

Now I finally come to write the review of this film that I love so much, I can't really put my finger on what was so good about it. With Van Damme and Lundgren front and centre it can't have been the acting (although watch Lundgren in several scenes - he brings menace far and above what the script deserves to his role). With Roland Emmerich in the director's chair it can't have been the emotional nuance of the script.

All I can put it down to is the cool idea I fell in love with at first sight and the blistering execution. Two American soldiers, Luc (Van Damme) and Scott (Lundgren) are killed at the end of the Vietnam war. When Scott - a platoon commander - goes jungle crazy and starts killing civilians, Luc confronts him and the pair gun each other down.

There's no exposition or sci-fi boffins in white coats to tell you how it happened, but suddenly it's the modern day and both men are not only alive again but part of a squad of physically advanced but docile super soldiers reanimated from the dead that a rogue Colonel has groomed for dangerous and secret operations.

But what nobody suspected is that these zombie soldiers carry their former lives with them, and during their first mission - liberating the Hoover Dam from a group of urban terrorists - Luc has a flashback to the jungle and attacks Scott again. As the tagline said, 'Almost human. Almost perfect. Almost under control'.

As the doctors and commanders argue about whether to take the program offline until they can figure out what went wrong, TV reporter Veronica (Walker) zeroes in to expose the secret project, running away with Luc to get the story out with the vengeful Scott hot on their heels.

It's not about drama or emotion, it's about two of Hollywood's best action talents of the time injecting a muscle enhancing serum and beating seven shades out of each other dressed in army fatigues. I loved it but I was 21 - what are you gonna do?

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