Bort bort! It’s Burl! Yes, I’m here to review a robot movie, or maybe it isn’t about robots, but they’re some sort of synthetic people! I’m talking about a picture known as Universal Soldier: Regeneration!
I’m not too familiar with these Universal Soldier movies, I have to say! I think I might have seen the first one when it came out on video, or maybe I just saw part of it! I only saw this one sort of by laziness-based chance, and the reason I even considered a viewing is that I read some intriguing reviews of the most recent of these pictures, which I guess I’ll try to catch up with some time! No rush, though!
The concept behind these movies, as I understand it, is that the Army or somebody decided to take soldiers who had died and inject them with some kind of drug cocktail that makes them into unfeeling, indestructible zombie supermen! In this episode, some disaffected Russians who are not Chechens have taken over Chernobyl and kidnapped the President’s children! They’ve hired a turtle-faced rogue nerd scientist to help out, because he has a Universal Soldier of his very own, which he keeps like a pet and rents out to do dirty work!
Ha ha, it was with the introduction of this angry nerd that I became truly interested in the picture, because he looked, sounded and acted just like the mayor of my town! His aggressive, mean, petty petulance is so off-putting that you can’t wait for his inevitable gruesome death, and it was the same with this scientist character! Turns out his death scene was directly inspired by – not to mention wholly ripped-off from, ha ha – Blade Runner! One of his synthetic creations, Dolph Lundgren, looking like Rutger Hauer inflated by a bicycle pump, takes the fellow’s head in both hands and gives it a mighty hard squeeze!
Blade Runner is certainly not the only movie to have provided this picture with inspiration! Of course there are liberal doses of Robocop (whose android pathos it tries to co-opt, but never manages to) and The Terminator (with its implacable, unstoppable zombie wrestler) in there as well! It’s pretty dumb, ha ha, but it has a few peppy action scenes, such as the opening car chase and a fight scene between Jean-Claude Van Damme and ol’ Dolph!
The picture was directed by John Hyams, who turns out to be the son of famed, but often lousy, director-cinematographer Peter Hyams, who shot this one and presumably provided Van Damme-wrangling advice! Of the elder Hyams, I have to admit to liking Outland and Running Scared, but when I saw End of Days I thought “Sweet wingalls! Only a terrible filmmaker could have made this!” Hyams the younger made the more recent Universal Soldier picture too, so my judgment on his talents is tabled for now! In the meantime, I’m going to give Universal Soldier: Regeneration one and a half headpipes!