The year 1992, what a magical year it was. This was the year when Rage Against The Machine released their fantastic debut album, simply called Rage Against The Machine. This is one of those classic rap metal albums that sounds just as good today, as it did when the album was released 30 years ago. I have to mention Faith No More´s album Angel Dust as well, perhaps their best studio album ever that was also released the same year. 1992 was also the year when especially action movies would deliver a lot of goodies in VHS stores. The video store owner Micke at Videomix, who i visited a lot at this time, he knew how much i loved violent action films. So he would tell me what releases are on the way, and there were plenty of titles that seemed really cool. But the real place to experience action movies was of course at our local cinema, and i still remember the first time i watched The Last Boy Scout with Bruce Willis in cinema ( technically a 1991 film, but was not released in cinema until January of 1992 in Sweden ). The Last Boy Scout turned out to be a really fun, and well made action film from legendary director Tony Scott ( director of so many classics such as True Romance, Crimson Tide, and of course the 1986 film Top Gun ( a film i can watch, but i am not a big fan of ). The Last Boy Scout starts of with a televised football game L.A. Stallions running back Billy Cole ( Billy Blanks ) receives a phone call from a mysterious man named Milo ( Taylor Negron ), who warns him to win the game. Cole ingests PCP and, in a drug-induced rage, brings a gun onto the field, shooting three opposing players to reach the end zone. Cole ends up shooting himself in the head. Meanwhile, private investigator Joe Hallenbeck ( Bruce Willis ), a disgraced former Secret Service Agent, beat up his business partner and best friend Mike Matthews ( Bruce McGill ), for sleeping with his wife Sarah Hallenbeck ( Chelsea Field ). After this is done, Joe agree on taking a well-payed assignment, to act as a bodyguard for a stripper named Cory ( Halle Berry ). It turns out, there is much more behind the story than Joe expected. The Last Boy Scout is easily one of the best action movies in Bruce Willis career, and he have such a great chemistry in this film with actor Damon Wayans. This might actually be one of my favourite films from director Tony Scott. Definetely worth checking out on streaming sites. I recently went through a list of action films of 1992 and i noticed that Universal Soldier with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren turns 30 years this year. Of course we have to celebrate that, so i decided to make a 30 years anniversary review of this film. Is it just as good today as it was back in 1992, or have Universal Soldier aged a lot over these years, and lost some of the magic?
In 1969, a U.S. Army team is ordered to secure a village against North Vietnamese forces. Soldier Luc Deveraux ( Jean-Claude Van Damme ) discovers members of his squad and villagers murdered, all with their ears removed. Deveraux finds his sergeant, Andrew Scott ( Dolph Lundgren ), who have gone insane and made a necklace of severed ears, and holding a young couple hostage. Scott execute the man, and orders Luc to execute the girl. He refuses and tries to stop him. They both end up dying in a gun battle. Their bodies are taken care of the American army and cryogenically frozen down, to be used in a new military program called Universal Soldier. The idea with this program is to bring back dead soldier´s back to life, and make them super soldier´s, who will only follow orders and finish each job, no matter what they are told to do. But when Luc Deveraux suddenly have memory flashback´s, where he remember what former sergeant Andrew did in Vietnam, he have problems following orders. Suddenly, the Universal Soldier program is not working as it should, and Andrew is also getting his memory back.
Even if 30 years have passed, Universal Soldier still manage to entertain the audiences worldwide for a number of reasons. First of all the combination of having both Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren fighting against each other, makes this film especially entertaining. They both have a really good screen presence, and it is their action scenes together where this film works best. Even if this film does not have much martial art scenes that we are used to see Van Damme do, we still have plenty of guns, explosions and violence. But the final fight is where we really get to see these action icons really hit the right spot. I also enjoy the comedy influences thrown in here in certain scenes, where this film does not take itself too seriously. This was actually a good thing, because if you are going to make a film about dead soldiers coming back to life, you have to be able to joke about certain details, without harming the plot itself. If you are looking for great acting, this may not be the film you are looking for, but that is not what is important in a film such as this. I still feel that Jean-Claude Van Damme as his character Luc Deveraux and Dolph Lundgren as Andrew Scott, both manage to make their characters fun and doesn´t take themselves too seriously. Actress Ally Walker ( who i used to love watching in the 90´s TV crime series Profiler as the character Dr. Samantha "Sam" Waters, who can also be seen in TV series Sons Of Anarchy ) deliver a fun acting performance as reporter Veronica Roberts. Director Roland Emmerich manage to combine some really fun ideas with Universal Soldier, and he proved that it is possible to make an action film entertaining, even if the Vietnam war influences are usually taken very seriously. He also manage to combine the right action ingredients to make the film work, without feeling too cheesy. Universal Soldier has a little bit of everything if you just want to have a good time, and watch a movie that is purely made for action fans. I would definetely say that Universal Soldier will be seen as one of the 90´s action classics, because even 30 years later, this film still manage to entertain me, just as much as it did on the big screen. Definetely worth checking out this summer and celebrate 30 years of a classic, no matter if you watch it on streaming services, DVD or Blu ray. There is not doubt, Universal Soldier still have a lot to offer, no matter what genre you usually prefer. I guarantee, once you have experienced this film, you will definetely fall in love all over again.