A full decade later, John Hyams (son of the hit and miss Peter Hyams) decided to tackle the material with both returning stars, Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren. Throw in UFC's Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski and you have a masterpiece, right? Uhhhh, no. Using one of the most irritating, budget-saving action movie cliches, "science fiction" is envisioned by having a bunch of guys fight in an abandoned refinery. Imagine my surprise to discover that Hyams was attempting another sequel, not only with Van Damme, Lundgren, and Arlovski returning, but with the addition of our golden-boy of modern action flicks, Scott Adkins! Holy crap, prepare to mark out! So if you're like me, you'd probably think that Hyams is going to waste all of that talent on another cheap, forgettable sequel... and you would be wrong. Dead wrong. [edit: Since this review was written, I've gone back and revisited UNIVERSAL SOLDER: REGENERATION (2009), and realize I let a few annoying details ruin an otherwise solid solid film. It still isn't anywhere near the insanity of this film, but it's definitely an enjoyable outing with some great stunt work].
Starting off with a fantastic sequence in which, through the eyes of average schmoe John (Scott Adkins), we see him check his home for the monsters that his daughter is afraid of at night. After checking every room in the house, he opens the kitchen door and there they are. Three men in black who beat John senseless with a tire iron and then one takes off his balaclava to reveal that he is Luc Deveraux (Van Damme). He then executes John's wife and child with extreme prejudice. It's a scene that would normally feel cliched and old hat, but here Hyams makes it very engaging and interesting by making it a first person view, complete with slightly blurred tunnel vision from being woken up in the middle of the night, somewhat reminiscent of some of the first person scenes in ROBOCOP (1987).
|An audience member after seeing the film|