**½/**** Image A- Sound B+ Extras B
starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Ally Walker, Jerry Orbach
screenplay by Richard Rothstein & Christopher Leitch and Dean Devlin
directed by Roland Emmerich
by Bryant Frazer You might expect an early-1990s T2 knock-off starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren to be a bit of a romp, but Universal Soldier is pretty dark from the get-go. It opens with a cut-rate Vietnam War-movie pastiche that has Sergeant Andrew Scott (Lundgren) going on a My Lai-style rampage, stitching human ears into a necklace, executing innocent civilians, and decrying the horrified American soldiers around him as traitors before shooting them, too. Private Luc Devreux (Van Damme) manages to jam his bayonet into Scott's gut, ending his murderous spree but earning a lethal volley of return fire in the bargain. Both men end up bleeding out in the mud before the U.S. military spirits their bodies away and declares them AWOL. Fast-forward 20 years or so, and the government has figured out a way to revive and power up dead soldiers and repurpose them as an unbeatable tactical force. We see these so-called "universal soldiers," including Scott and Deveraux, working as a unit to take out a group of terrorists in an action set-piece that was, impressively, shot at the Hoover Dam. All goes well for a while, until both Scott and Deveraux start recalling their former lives--and remembering they don't like each other very much.