Toronto After Dark, Day 4: Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning
Apparently the essential components of a Universal Soldier movie are JCVD, and government created super soldiers. JCVD doesn’t even really need to factor into the plot.
I say this after watching Day Of Reckoning, the latest entry in the Universal Soldier movie franchise which really has very little in common with its predecessors, both in terms of style and content. What we have instead is a dark, gritty film which takes the time to ask some interesting philosophical questions about the reality of memory, and then answers those questions with a serious dose of gory martial arts and gun-based ultraviolence.
I won’t spoil anything except to say that the plot actually does have a couple of interesting twists along the way. Fans looking for a good dose of Van Damme or Lundgren may be somewhat disappointed, as their presence in the film amounts more to cameos than anything else, but they do each find themselves involved in some action.
Despite flagging in stretches and perhaps being a bit too happy with the slo-mo button, this is very competent action flick. Stuntman-turned-actor Scott Adkins is suited well to the lead role, and the action sequences are hard hitting and exciting. The violence is a little bit over the top at times, but never feels out of place.
Combining art house sensibilities with ultraviolence and a touch of horror then packaging it up as an entry in an 80s action movie franchise may seem like a ridiculous proposition, but director John Hyams somehow pulls it off. 3 out of 5 stars.