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Laramie Movie Scope:
Universal Soldier

High octane sci-fi actioner

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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July 28, 1992 -- ``Universal Soldier'' is the latest militant action flick to be thrust upon summer audiences this year and it is pretty good for this type of film.

I am told by informed sources that the ``hunk factor'' in the film may drum up additional ticket sales. The two leading men in the film, karate man Jean-Claude Van Damme and the other, Dolph Lundgren, who played the Russian boxer in Rocky IV, both are being classified as hunks in the media blitz that accompanied the release of the movie.

There are, reportedly, certain members of the moviegoing public who are attracted to hunks. For those of you who are interested, it might be worth mentioning that there are a couple of scenes in the film similar to the ``Terminator'' films in which a hunk appears in less than full attire, hence the ``R'' rating. Enough said about this less than delicate topic.

As for the rest of the film, it is not bad for a no-brainer semi-science fiction action saga. There's a bit of a story here, kind of a mixture of ``Robocop'' and ``Terminator,'' but the film is not as good as the original ``Robocop'' or either of the ``Terminator'' films.

The story is about several soldiers who die in Vietnam and are packed in ice for weird military medical experiments which revive the men and turn them into virtual supermen. They are under tight mind control, but manage to get some of their old memories back, along with their independence. While Van Damme just wants to go home, Lundgren feels he should kill everybody he does not like, and he likes no one, it seems.

Van Damme is the lost, misunderstood soul, while Lundgren plays a sort of Frankenstein Monster, who eventually turns on his creators. Feisty television reporter Ally Walker also comes along for the ride.

The stunt work, photography, editing and sets are good. Somebody spent a lot of money on this film and it shows. The acting isn't bad, but then the actors are not called upon to show much in the way of emotional range. In the end, the main drawback is the brainlessness of the story and the lack of a believable emotional payoff.

There's also a lot of violence and gore in the film. If all of this sounds good to you, it may be worth your time. It rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)