19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2013
This movie is truly bonkers. I don't really know how Hyams sold the concept of this to the studio execbots: "yeah, Universal Soldier 4 is going to be a pastiche of loads of common sci-fi tropes -- like clones, body regeneration, implanted memories -- that I'm going to mix in with Kubrickian slomo camera shots, Lynchian psychodrama, and loads of Apocalypse Now. We'll have Van Damme ape Brando's Kurtz and have him walk around a lot mumbling and looking miserable, and not fighting, and Scott Adkins driving around a lot looking miserable, and not fighting, and some random big dude with a beard who fights everything. But when it gets violent I'm going to push the violence as far as I can, and try and offend everyone with my opening sequence. It'll be great, I'm telling ya."
In all seriousness, this is not a movie for everyone, but I quite frankly loved it. Hyams really does let his imagination run wild on this one, and cheerfully cribs from loads of other directors and movies, but he never seemed to get the memo that this is the fourth in a series of increasingly minor action roles that no one -- save for the odd action junkie fondly remembering movies from his or her childhood/youth -- cares about any more, and tries hard to make this movie anything but your conventional DTV B-movie with ageing action stars.
Day of reckoning is crass, extremely violent, uneven, and low budget, but it should also be commended for being ambitious, and shot through with passion and creative vision. It is absolutely not a movie for everyone -- if you want a safer trip up action-memory-lane stick with The Expendables 2 -- but if you fancy a detour of the beaten path, and are willing to forgive the flaws the flaws that are a consequence of the directorial ambition, then by all means give this a shot.
Just remember that the film is absolutely bonkers.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2015
John Hyams did a remarkable job with Regeneration. Devoid of cheesiness or jokey one liners he sensibly went the direction of dark, sci-fi horror action. Day Of Reckoning continues this trend.
The difference in this film is that initially things aren't very clear. Many action fans have watched DOR and concluded that it makes no sense, doesn't follow the series as it should and is therefore a waste of time. You can't blame fans for thinking this as Hyams is trying to tell you what happened from Regeneration to DOR by way of visual clues. It's a very daring thing to do when most Hollywood directors like a narration and metaphorically hold you by the hand to fill in the gaps and join the dots. Here Hyams is having some fun by twisting this and letting you work it out.
Regeneration had already set in place the cloning, body part regeneration, and mind control. The nullifying of the nervous system was already stated in the first Universal Soldier.
So our Andre Arlovski Antagonist from Regeneration is back. Only cloned and controlled by the government, at least until he fights Andrew Scott (Lundgren) who injects him to alter control at the brothel. As a visual indicator before the fight you'll notice the back of the neck scars that represent the detatchment of government control (tracking devices) on the free unisols. Freedom by Luc Devereu.
The much disturbing intro scene. Luc is wearing gloves but the government say his prints were everywhere and John (adkins) gets hit maybe a few too many times by that crowbar across the head to survive. A clue in itself maybe. A motivational memory implant by the government so John will seek to avenge his family's death against Luc. Luc who is rebelling against the government with his own army of unisols. And yes there are two Johns (Adkins) in this film.
The good guys aren't as good as they should be, and the bad guys aren't as bad as they should be.. once you understand the mind control, memory tricks. It's premise is a psychological horror of the future. When John realises the truth, the very last scene depicts him going against the government himself. Taking out a government official to replace him with a unisol. John is the quicker and smarter government created unisol that succeeds in taking down Luc's resistance and yet continues his need for vengeance beyond.
The violence in this film echoes that of Regeneration. A balance between brutal, realistic yet visually pleasing. It's a fun film in many ways and could be indicative of Van Damme and Lundgren's final scenes as unisols if any future films are made to continue the series further. But then again who knows. Maybe this film is to test fan reaction, then the next film may fill the gaps properly with a film set before this one and after Regeneration. It takes a few watches to appreciate what's going on here and it's a brave shot by the director. But one that goes against the Hollywood grain and offers up a new slant on action film making.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
In the opening scene John (Scott Adkins) sets the screen scene record for a non-cyborg to get hit by a crowbar and survive. As he wanders off into a coma as he watches Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) who is wearing gloves, murder his family. The FBI knows it is Luc, because he "left his prints all over the place." Now is this a clue, or just a screw up?
John awakes from his coma and doesn't remember much of his life as he looks for Luc and tries to put things together. He discovers he was not a nice person and that entering a strip joint causes instant healing as he no longer has to use his cane to get around. He teams up with a dancer (Mariah Bonner) who knows the bad him and they go on an adventure having to fight off a "Manchurian" plumber who drives a truck with a self repairing hood.
In order to keep things level, people who could act better than Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren were not considered for roles. All around a fairly sorry film for the franchise. Oh, not "Halloween 3" bad, but close.
Parental Guide: F-bomb, sex, full frontal nudity (male and female), plenty of blood and exploding heads.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2014
ohn awakens from a coma to discover his wife and daughter were slaughtered in, and he vows to kill the man responsible, Luc Deveraux.
While John tries to piece his life back together, things get more complicated when he is pursued by a relentless UniSol named Magnus.
Deveraux and surviving UniSol Andrew Scott are preparing to build a new order ruled by Unisols without government oversight. They are weeding out the weak and constantly testing their strongest warriors in brutal, life-and-death combat.
Luc takes in wayward Unisols whom the government has been secretly operating as remote-controlled sleeper agents.
As John gets closer to Deveraux and the rogue army of genetically enhanced warriors, he discovers more about himself and begins to call into question everything he believed to be true......
If you are thinking of something along the line sod the original film, this is as farther from that film as you could expect. It's as if Herzog, Lynch, and Cronenberg have taken the franchise and mutated it.
The film begins in a very disturbing way, and sets the whole tone of the film, dark and grim and unsettling. Adkins proves himself as a bona-fide action star in this, and stands well against Van Damme and Lundgren........and this is the major problem with the film.
The stars are hardly in it. Lundgren is in a total of three scenes, lasting around eight minutes, and Van Damme is in it a little more, but has nothing to do until the last ten minutes of the film, so if you are after them in a film, this is very deceptive.
Another problem I had with the film was the strobe lights in a couple of scenes, I literally had to come back to the film later, as it made me feel nauseous.
It takes a while to get going, and after one gruesome scene at a 'parlour' the action really gets going. We have a great car chase, and then a mental fight in a sports shop.
After the confusing plot comes to a head, we have the final third, which contains an almost one shot edit of Adkins going on a killing spree before finally meeting Van Damme.
So all in all, it's a very big risk for a Universal Soldier movie as it will divide fans. But it works, and it really gets exciting after the fifty minute mark.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 14 December 2012
I've never been a fan of the Universal Soldier Franchise. I saw the first one when I was young, and the only reason I came back to it was because I was expecting a huge turn in Van Damme's career after "JCVD". So I watched "Universal Soldier: Regeneration", and honestly I was kinda disappointed by the actor who seemed not to care anymore about his acting. But the one thing that surprised me was the director John Hyams (son of director Peter Hyams), who did a great job on the movie. It was raw, violent and not dumb (I wouldn't say smart) like the first entry of the series.
So when I heard that he was back for "Day of reckoning", and that the main character would be played by Scott Adkins - a man who's actually interested in building a name for himself - I was quite interested. From the trailers, interviews and early reviews, you could actually see that the movie was gonna be very different from the last ones. But just to make sure I prepare myself for the worst - cause it was still gonna be a B-movie after all !
Now that I watched it, I can easily say that "Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning" is very easily the best, most mature, violent and disturbing movie of the franchise. The thing is, it's in fact so disturbing and unexpected that a lot of people (who are only seeking a good old pop-corn action flick) won't stand it.
"Day of Reckoning" is trying very hard to mature the series - maybe too much for its own good; but for someone who wasn't expecting much but a stupid plot and gory fight scenes, I would say that I was pleasantly surprised. For once, there's actually a commited director behind that kind of movies: someone with guts, who's thinking about what is doing, and who wants to make a film that will provoke people. And that my friends, is rare enough to be applaused.
on 7 October 2013
I didn't even know they had made another Universal Soldier but when I saw the dvd on the shelf at my local Blockbuster I thought well, I've watched all the others...why not. I'm very pleased I did as I wasn't expecting it to be so good.
Regeneration relaunched the franchise with a low budget super violent take on the previous overly produced Hollywood offerings. I loved this movie as it was raw, brutal and realistic. No fancy kicking or Kung Fu rubbish. Just real life frantic fight scenes to the death.
I am very pleased to say that all though Day of Reckoning is more glossy than Regeneration it follows the same format of sheer brutal action. Some of the scenes are genuinly shocking so this is really not for the faint hearted. The film however also has horror! The beginning of the movie is particularly spine chilling. Not what you would expect from a Universal Soldier movie.
Van Damme plays the villain brilliantly. I believe he is better in this type of evil role than he is playing the hero, it just seems to fit him better, he again demonstrated this in Expendables 2.
Lundgren as always is entertaining in his all American macho way and I believe we may have found a new action hero in the form of Scott Adkins. He can act and he can certainly fight. Very impressed with him and best of all......he's English!
An excellent movie.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 December 2013
I must admit if you like lots of violent action and blood and guts well look no further, this is one of the best films in 3d I have ever seen, its a must see for all die hard horror fans. Its got a good story line but you can get a bit lost at times, I didn't really get the ending, its one of these films you have to watch a few times to really get it. All in all its a fantastic movie if you like that sort of thing, I thourley enjoyed it.
on 28 July 2013
Universal Soldier Day of Reckoning is an incredibaly violent and bloody sequel. I'm not sure if it's number four, five or six in the franchise as I feel like there was a couple that didn't feature Van Damme and this is his fourth Universal soldier Film. Day of Reckoning is well made on a low budget and has an interesting developing story and keeps you watching. The fight choreography is excellent especially the final Dolph Lundgren fight. This film is worth a watch for fans of the series, but be warned fans of Van Damme as he isn't in this that much. Lundgren is also only in a few scenes, although I think he is a very under rated screen presence.
on 28 September 2013
It's intriguing stuff, with shades of Frankenstein, Blade Runner, Total Recall and even Apocalypse Now thrown into the mix.Superbly choreographed and filmed action sequences enliven this ultra-violent B-movie. An actual great piece of brainy action cinema. An entertaining Universal Soldier movie that dares to try something different. Day of Reckoning is somehow not just the best film in the series, but a damn fine piece of action filmmaking by any measure. "Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning" superior to most of the big-budget action films I've seen lately.
on 25 December 2014
Three actors (Dolph Lundgren, Jean Claude van Damme and Scott Adkins) who've all co-starred in the far superior "The Expendables 2", are beyond wasted here. There doesn't appear to be any storyline of any kind, just a whole load of "action scenes" to fill some of the running time of this "movie", and some highly questionable performances.
A warning to potential buyers of this DVD : don't even accept it into your collection - even if it was given to you for free!.