Universal Soldier 4K UltraHD Blu-ray Review
Soldiers Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) and Sgt. Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) killed each other in Vietnam. But their demise proves to be just the beginning for the U.S. government, which brings both men back to life decades later for a secret anti-terrorism program.
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Run time: 89 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Disc Spec: 2 BD
‘Universal Soldier’ is one of the those action movies from the 90’s that still holds up well here in 2019. We have Jean Claude Van Damme the action star of the later 80’s/early 90’s and Dolph Lundgren who rose to a bit of fame off of his role as the Russian in ‘Rocky IV’. When you pair both Van Damme and Lundgren, you get one of the most enjoyable mindless action movies. ‘Universal Soldier’ was a box office success with a total gross of $36 million dollars.
The story begins with both soldiers Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) and Luc Deveraux (Jean Claude Van Damme) in the Vietnam War that end up not making it out alive. What becomes even more interesting is that the government takes their bodies and keeps them in a cryo state for 25 years until the ‘Universal Soldier’ program goes into effect. These aren’t any ordinary soldiers, they are super soldiers also called ‘UniSols’ which is short for ‘Universal Soldier’. To make matters worse, there is a reporter Victoria that gets herself involved and on the hunt by the ‘UniSols’ when she spies on their camp. Luc’s memories are starting to come back from the Vietnam War about what a lunatic that Scott was killing innocent people. This sets the stage for Scott to go after Deveraux on one explosive ride.
This is one of those action films that is always moving at 100 miles per hour throughout and never lets up. It begins from the opening scene with the Vietnam War all the way to the final battle between Scott and Luc. ‘Universal Soldier’ is also a film where you have to set aside reality and just enjoy what is being presented to us. I have enjoyed all of Van Damme’s films from earlier in his career, but haven’t had a chance to see any of the ones he has worked on in the last 8 or 9 years. Where you may not get top notch acting, you will get some of the better action sequences. Lundgren also adds wisecracking comments throughout the film that will make you die of laughter coming from a man that has always played roles where he is a lunatic or maniac.
The print is presented in 2160p with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. ‘Universal Soldier’ was originally available on Blu-ray via Lionsgate, and that disc was really well done. In 2008, Lions Gate released an updated Special Edition of the Blu-ray where the print was much cleaner and presented in anamorphic 2.35.1 widescreen. The new 4K Blu-ray transfer looks excellent for a film that is 26 years old. The image is pristine from any dirt or specs to the print. Details are excellent bringing out strong and vivid colors. Blacks are deep holding very solid during any dark scenes. It is as if Lionsgate has brought this film back to life on 4K Blu-ray and the 2004 DVD and 2008 Blu-ray releases were not a slouch either.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless mix. ‘Universal Soldier’ sounds very good taking advantage of the soundfield using front and rears to emulate dynamic sound. Guns blazing, explosions, vehicle collisions, and fight scenes sound very explosive. Dialogue is very clean through the center channel, but I found it to be a bit low which was a disappointment.
- Audio commentary by Roland Emmerich, Dean Devlin, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Dolph Lundgren
- Audio commentary by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin
- “A Tale of Two Titans” Featurette
- “Guns, Genes, and Fighting Machines” Featurette
- Alternate Ending
- “Behind the Scenes” Featurette
Another job well done by Lions Gate bringing an older action film to the 4K Blu-ray format with superb video quality that will make you think twice if this is a newer release. If you are a fan of Jean Claude Van Damme, I highly recommend viewing ‘Universal Soldier’ or if you are looking for a night of mindless action this is the film for you. This is the only film in the series worth checking out, the sequels were horrid attempts to cashin on the success of the original.