Universal Soldier (1992)

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Roland Emmerich directs Jean Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren and Ally Walker in this sci-fi actioner about Vietnam casualties of war resurrected to become super human zombie soldiers. 

What was a throwaway bit of beefcake Terminator 2 rip off cash-in back then, has aged remarkably well 25 years down the line. The location shoot helps to add a sheen of rare quality, as do career best turns from a nasty Lundgren and keenly cynical Ally Walker (she should have had a better career). The action is big and sustained and there are nascent traces of the excess that came with Independence Day and Godzilla from Emmerich… but here, at least, excesses on a tight, executive controlled budget. It proves to be quite the R rated thrill ride in this anemic age of invincible superheroes. You’d never see Loki turn up with a bracelet of severed ears around his neck or enjoy Ego the Living Planet lob grenades at a bus racing along the edge of the Grand Canyon or watch Thanos get churned up in a combine harvester. “You’re discharged, sarge.” There’s even a joke about the Muscles from Brussels accent. “What accent?”

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