Universal Soldier Franchise


Introduction

Universal Soldier is a series of science fiction action films.

The franchise began in 1992 with Universal Soldier and, as of 2012, comprises six entries (some of which are now considered non-canon).

The films centred on the character of Luc Deveraux (played first by Jean-Claude Van Damme and then by Matt Battaglia) until Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, which focuses on a new protagonist named John (played by Scott Adkins).

Outline

The Universal Soldier franchise began in 1992 with Universal Soldier, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren. The series centers on two American soldiers, Luc Deveraux (Van Damme) and Andrew Scott (Lundgren), who are killed during the Vietnam War and reanimated in the 1990s as highly advanced Universal Soldiers.

Universal Soldier: Regeneration, the fifth film, revived the franchise in 2010; disregarding the events of The Return (the fourth film), as well as its made-for-cable predecessors (Universal Soldier II and Universal Soldier III).

The sixth film featured Van Damme and Lundgren in much smaller roles, and introduced a new protagonist named John (Scott Adkins) fighting against both Deveraux and Scott.

Universal Soldier Series

  • Universal Soldier (1992):
    • In the first installment of the franchise, American soldier Luc Deveraux (Van Damme) finds that his superior officer, Andrew Scott (Lundgren), has turned violently deranged, and the two fight to the death during the Vietnam War.
    • After their bodies are retrieved, they are placed into a secret program in which they are reanimated and trained to become unquestioning killing machines.
    • While Devereaux and Scott initially have no memory of their former lives, glimpses of their pasts start to return, rekindling their intense conflict.
  • Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms (1998):
    • This direct-to-video sequel takes place exactly after the events of the original Universal Soldier.
    • After the terrible events of the original Universal Soldier testing, the budget has been slashed by the government; however, under the orders of a CIA director, a gang of mercenaries take control of the new line of Universal Soldiers and try to use them into helping to smuggle diamonds to the highest foreign buyer.
    • Meanwhile, Luc Deveraux (Matt Battaglia) and Veronica Roberts (Chandra West) are in hiding on his parents’ farm.
    • The Unisol controllers then activate a homing beacon embedded inside Devreaux’s body that makes him return to the Unisol base in Chicago where his memory is reprogrammed.
    • Veronica follows and while sneaking into the Unisol lab to rescue Luc, she discovers that his older brother Eric, a deceased soldier from Vietnam, has also been resurrected.
  • Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business (1998):
    • Luc Devereaux (Battaglia) and Veronica Roberts (Chandra West) continue their attempts to expose the Universal Soldier unit.
    • After a hostage situation mistakenly leaves Veronica a fugitive, the two escape the city and go into hiding.
    • Meanwhile, CIA Deputy Director Mentor (Burt Reynolds) and Dr. Walker are in the process of creating a powerful new Universal Soldier clone of Luc’s brother, Eric (Jeff Wincott), to assassinate him and Veronica.
  • Universal Soldier: The Return (1999):
    • In this theatrical sequel to the original film, Luc Deveraux (Van Damme), had his cybernetic implants removed and is an ordinary human, and a single parent.
    • He works with scientist Dylan Cotner to create a new, safer breed of fighters that are connected through an artificially intelligent computer system called S.E.T.H. (Self-Evolving Thought Helix).
    • The project loses funding, and the supercomputer is scheduled to be turned off.
    • To preserve itself SETH takes over a superior UniSol model (White) and kidnaps Deveraux’s daughter.
    • Deveraux must save his daughter and prevent the machine from destroying mankind.
  • Universal Soldier: Regeneration (2009):
    • In this revival of the franchise, “Regeneration” disregards the events of “The Return,” as well as its made-for-cable predecessors by beginning the film with Former UniSol Luc Deveraux (Van Damme) undergoing rehabilitation therapy in Switzerland under Dr. Sandra Fleming with the goal of rejoining society.
    • However, when a terrorist sect uses an experimental Next-Generation UniSol (NGU) to seize the atomic reactor at Chernobyl, Deveraux is reactivated to save the planet from nuclear Armageddon.
    • Unfortunately, Deveraux will also have to contend with his nemesis, Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren), a fellow Universal Soldier who has been recharged by the terrorists.
  • Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (2012):
    • Archenemies Luc Devereaux and Andrew Scott contend with a terrifying army of reanimated super-soldiers determined to infiltrate the government which they hold responsible for their pain.

Cast

  • Luc Deveraux:
    • Jean-Claude Van Damme (1992 and 1999 to 2012).
    • Matt Battalgalia (1998).
  • Andrew Scott:
    • Dolph Lundgren (1992 and 2009 to 2012).
    • Andrew Jackson (1998).
  • Veronica Roberts:
    • Ally Walker (1992).
    • Chandra West (1998).
  • Soldier/S.E.T.H. – Michael Jai White.
  • Eric Deveraux – Jeff Wincott (1998).
  • Mentor – Burt Reynolds (1998).
  • Romeo – Bill Goldberg (1999).
  • Captain Blackburn – Justin Lazard (1999).
  • Erin Young – Heidi Schanz (1999).
  • Maggie – Kiana Tom (1999).
  • Magnus/NGU – Andrei Arlovski (2009 to 2012).
  • Miles Kristopher – Van Varenberg (2009 to 2012).
  • Dr. Colin – Kerry Shale (2009).
  • Dr. Porter – Garry Cooper (2009).
  • John – Scott Adkins (2012).

Trivia

  • After the original film was released, Carolco, the production company that backed the film, went bankrupt and sold the rights of the series to Skyvision Entertainment, located in Toronto, in 1995.
  • As a result, two TV films were released direct-to-video starring Matt Battaglia as Luc Deveraux and Chandra West as Veronica Roberts in Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms and Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business.
  • These two films were produced for Showtime/The Movie Channel as a miniseries meant as a backdoor pilot for a series.
  • On 09 October 2018, Todd Black and Jason Blumenthal hired Richard Wenk to write the reboot. The story will focus on one resurrected soldier.
  • A Universal Soldier video game was developed by The Code Monkeys and published by Accolade in 1992.
    • The game was a conversion of Turrican II: The Final Fight for the Sega Genesis and Game Boy.
    • Another version was developed later for the SNES, but it was never released.
  • In 1992, a short-lived comic book tie in was released by Now Comics.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 1992 to 2012.
  • Running Time: 92 to 114 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

 

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