Universal Soldier: Regeneration (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 02-07-2010, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=165441&d=1264943024
The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373697

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373697


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

90






Studio and Year: 2009 - Sony Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 98 minutes
Genre: Action/Sci-Fi

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Andrei Arlovski
Directed by: John Hymas
Music by: Kris Hill, Michael Krassner
Written by: Victor Ostrovsky
Region Code: Free

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 2, 2010







"Reanimated. Rearmed. The Ultimate Rematch."



Film Synopsis:

With stolen top-secret technology, terrorists have created a next-generation Universal Soldier - an elite fighter genetically altered into a programmable killing machine. With this "UniSol" (Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski) leading the way, they seize the crippled Chernobyl nuclear reactor, threatening to unleash a lethal radioactive cloud. The only one who can stop them is Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), a UniSol who's been decommissioned for years. Reactivated and retrained, Deveraux must make a full-out assault on the heavily armed fortress. But inside, he'll discover not one but two of these virtually indestructible warriors. Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren), Deveraux's vicious UniSol enemy from the original Universal Soldier, has been secretly reanimated and upgraded. Now, these elite fighters are locked, loaded and programmed to kill; and the fate of millions hinges on this high-action showdown.





My Take:

I have not seen any of the ‘Universal Soldier’ films and skipped them in the 90’s with the preconceived notion that they were the ultra-cheesy movies that they looked like. After watching ‘Universal Soldier: Regeneration’ I still have a sneaking suspicion that the earlier films still might be and that this is the exception to the rule (I am going to make a point to see the original!). Helmed by John Hyams, ‘Universal Soldier: Regeneration’ was a technically proficient production with great sound, effects and cinematography by dad, Director Peter Hymas (Outland, Running Scared). Yes it has a clichéd plot; the son and daughter of the Russian Prime Minster are kidnapped and held for ransom at the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear power plant in exchange for the release of political hostages and freedom for their homeland. The terrorists have bought their own new and improved model of the now extinct ‘UniSol’ by paying off one of the creators of the original program (who has a back-up plan of his own). Needless to say, only a ‘UniSol’ can fight and possibly defeat one of its own kind; here is where good ol’ Jean-Claude Van Damme comes in. After years of rehabilitation to become normal again, he gets the ‘UniSol’ shot and is back in action. Of course no plan is a good one without that backup plan; enter Dolph Lundgren. The events culminate with a ‘UniSol’ showdown to try save the hostages and stop a detonation at the Chernobyl power plant.‘Universal Soldier: Regeneration’ did all it intended to do and did it right on the money. From the menace of a stalking ‘UniSol’, having a pseudo horror movie feel to well-choreographed and not too overblown fight scenes--all while keeping me on the edge of my seat. The violence was brutal and unforgiving, showing just how no nonsense and to the point the 'UniSol’s' programming was. Jean-Claude and Dolph could have come across dated and as a sort-of parody, they didn’t. They were used with taste and as a plot device more than a main focus; both were great in this. John Hyams was in complete control here, doing what is lacking in todays action films; give a well-made, straight forward and linear story with a less is more attitude. He focused on making every moment count and added no fluff. I hope to see him make more films, as I see quite a bit of potential in him. The bottom line is--I must admit to really enjoying this movie!!




Parental Guide:

Rated R for pervasive strong brutal violence and some language.





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 94



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373694

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373698

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373697

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373697

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373697


Video: 86



  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373697

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373698

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373698

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373696


Universal Soldier: Regeneration comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.6 mbps.

This was another gorgeous Blu-ray release from Sony; we are getting spoiled lately! The video on this one, though filmed with a subdued, dull and depressing blue and grayish tone was still a visual stunner. The fine details on the hairs of an arm while getting a hypodermic needle, to drops of blood splatter, were sharp and clear. The colors were natural and almost under-saturated, giving a slight stylized look to the cinematography. Yes it was a little 'dull', but it fit the location perfectly; I wouldn't expect a bright, vivid and cheery looking Chernobyl, you? There was no film grain at all and I assume it was filmed in HD as there was no DNR applied to cover any grain up….this one is sharp as a tack. Blacks were not as dark as I wanted and at times flesh-tones looked a bit washed out with too much contrast. These issues are nit-picking for the most part. The DTS-MA audio track was a dynamic and haunting one. The rapid gunfire reached low and shook the room, ready to startle at a second. The effect channels were used with confidence, always filling the room with bullets and ambient sounds of war. The score was used in contrast to the thunderous rattle of low-end caused by explosions, eerily keeping a relaxed nature…like it was a programed ‘UniSol’, keeping calm as it killed. All dialogue was audible and the mix seemed spot on with my system. Sony’s Blu-ray release of ‘Universal Soldier: Regeneration’ is as close to reference as it gets.

* CIH users should note that the subtitles appear below the picture area *




Bonus Features:


  • Commentary with Director John Hyams and Actor Dolph Lundgren

  • (HD) Behind the Lines

  • (HD) Visualizing the Stunts

  • Movie IQ

  • BD-Live
attachment.php?attachmentid=165442&d=1264943030


Final Thoughts:

A very impressive production for a straight to video release and a modern homage to 80’s action films where pacing, great structure and craft beat out todays 'everything but the kitchen sink’ mentality. Once again Sony does not fail us, delivering a superiorly solid A/V presentation. Unfortunately this release is a bit lacking on the supplements; though there is enough to dig into with an informative commentary track and a nice 20 minute documentary. Highly recommended, fans of action, this franchise and of great quality Blu-ray's should enjoy 'Universal Soldier: Regeneration'.





attachment.php?attachmentid=157497&d=1257542613







Lee Weber
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews




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post #2 of 19 Old 02-08-2010, 05:14 AM
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Thanks for the review. I was a big fan of the original movie, but it could have been only because I was in high school and loved stuff like that (Die Hard, Cliffhanger, etc.). I will definitely check this one out!
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post #3 of 19 Old 02-08-2010, 06:44 AM
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Big fan of the original one and the second installment somewhat. But after seeing the preview of this one i'd definitely will be collecting this and the high score is also a big plus!

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post #4 of 19 Old 02-08-2010, 07:41 AM
 
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Thanks for the review,I first saw the original also and i still have it on vhs tape.
I'll check this one out to.
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post #5 of 19 Old 02-08-2010, 07:56 AM
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I have seen all of the Universal Soldier movies in the past, and they all have a sense of nacho cheesiness to them. I was pleasantly surprised that this latest installment was as entertaining as it was overall. Yes, the original stars (John-Claude & Dolph) are definitely getting old, they both still held their own IMO. I would definitely suggest renting this movie if enjoy some of that retro type action with numerous guns and hand-to-hand combat.
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post #6 of 19 Old 02-08-2010, 08:46 AM
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I liked the first one good enough to have it in my collection and have watched it about 4 times now. I passed on the second installment but may give this one a rental before deciding whether or not to add it to my collection.
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post #7 of 19 Old 02-09-2010, 07:48 PM
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There are too many good things being said about this movie, I guess I'll just have to check this one out.


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post #8 of 19 Old 02-09-2010, 08:52 PM
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As a fan and a member of the VanDamme forums I picked this one up asap on bluray. Its a good movie full of action and great cameos and fight scenes. Very good Van Damme!
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post #9 of 19 Old 02-10-2010, 01:05 AM
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This movie was much better than I expected. They made sure to keep JCVD's dialogue to a minimum.
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post #10 of 19 Old 02-14-2010, 10:38 AM
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Watched it the other day and it was really good, exceeded my expectations.
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post #11 of 19 Old 02-14-2010, 01:08 PM
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Quote:


Sony’s Blu-ray release of ‘Universal Soldier: Regeneration’ is as close to reference as it gets.

Ralph, I thought the DTS-MA audio was 'reference' quality, insanely loud at times with room rattling bass. I had to turn it down from reference levels I usually use for DTS-MA. I watched a rental from BB but when the price drops to my target range I will pick up my own copy. Nice review.

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post #12 of 19 Old 02-15-2010, 04:13 AM
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I enjoyed the original Universal Soldier and own it on Blu-ray, skipped the sequel after pretty bad reviews, and have now added this to my collection after a rental. Definitely surprising, as most direct-to-videos are not good, with a few exceptions.

I also agree that director John Hyams has a promising future based on this movie and his genes, as his fathers' "Outland" is one of my all time favorite guilty pleasures (highly underrated) .. and considering how awful that DVD looks, hopefully someday it will get a decent Blu-ray release.

Mike
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post #13 of 19 Old 02-15-2010, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.G View Post

Ralph, I thought the DTS-MA audio was 'reference' quality, insanely loud at times with room rattling bass. I had to turn it down from reference levels I usually use for DTS-MA. I watched a rental from BB but when the price drops to my target range I will pick up my own copy. Nice review.

Hi Mr G., Lee here, I reviewed this one

DTS-MA is an uncompressed format. All mixes and sound production will differ and some will be better than others.

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post #14 of 19 Old 02-15-2010, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetalMike666 View Post

I enjoyed the original Universal Soldier and own it on Blu-ray, skipped the sequel after pretty bad reviews, and have now added this to my collection after a rental. Definitely surprising, as most direct-to-videos are not good, with a few exceptions.

I also agree that director John Hyams has a promising future based on this movie and his genes, as his fathers' "Outland" is one of my all time favorite guilty pleasures (highly underrated) .. and considering how awful that DVD looks, hopefully someday it will get a decent Blu-ray release.

+1 on Outland.

Im also a big Running Scared fan.

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post #15 of 19 Old 02-23-2010, 08:06 PM
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Surprisingly, this was better than expected. Right on with the review. I guess I have not been following JCVD much lately but boy does he look old and not move like he used to. Kind of made the movie a bit nostalgic for me since I still remember him when he was young, buffed and limber as heck. I think I move better than JCVD now. HA!

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post #16 of 19 Old 02-26-2010, 05:47 AM
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I was torn on this movie. I would have never even rented it if it wasn't for this thread. I wanted to like it and thought it was ok. The production value was on the low side but it wasn't so bad as to be in the cheesy catagory. Lundgren was barely in the movie and JCVD looked old. Overall I thought it was just ok. The sound track was pretty good at times and other times it sounded a bit thin to me.


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post #17 of 19 Old 02-27-2010, 04:50 AM
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no offence but Dolf Lundgren in this movie = so much fail. He was ground into hamburger at the end of the first movie.

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post #18 of 19 Old 03-01-2010, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Weber View Post

Hi Mr G., Lee here, I reviewed this one

DTS-MA is an uncompressed format. All mixes and sound production will differ and some will be better than others.

Oops, sorry Lee. Good review and I agree about the different mixes that one gets nowadays on Blu-ray. I thought this film was a good followup to J.V.C.D. which helped to revitalize his career once again. Having seen him in that film prepared me for his physical appearance in this Universal Soldier. Yes, he is older (closing in on 50) but still in great shape and I certainly won't begrudge someone a chance to extent their movie career if they still have the juice.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JCVD

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post #19 of 19 Old 03-02-2010, 10:18 PM
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Didn't even know they has made another one, and with the original actors as well.

I have a soft spot for Van Damme, the Muscles from Brussells has had a pretty messed up life, but he seems to be landing on his feet these days.

Anyway, thanks for the review: Given how positive it was, and for the pure nostalgia of it, I'm going to have to check this out
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