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Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning(2012)
John awakens from a coma to discover his wife and daughter were slaughtered in a brutal home invasion. Haunted by images of the attack, he vows to kill the man responsible, Luc Deveraux.
For more about Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning and the Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning Blu-ray release, see Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on January 11, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Scott Adkins, David Jensen (II), Mariah Bonner, Andrei Arlovski
Director: John Hyams
» See full cast & crew
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning Blu-ray Review
Reckon a lot of Action fans will enjoy this one.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, January 11, 2013
There's monsters in the house.
In truth, there are monsters pretty much everywhere in Director John Hyams' Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, the action-packed follow-up to the entertaining and very well-crafted Universal Soldier: Regeneration, that 2009 picture also a product of Hyams' handiwork. Day of Reckoning carries over much the same style and tone that made its predecessor one of the strongest direct-to-video pictures in memory and the best film in the Universal Soldier series that dates back to Writer/Director Roland Emmerich's 1992 film that starred series stalwarts Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren, then in their primes but still kicking and packing quite the punch in Hyams' films even as they're separated by two decades from the original. Just as important, Day of Reckoning doesn't reduce its story to second-class status; it's thought-provoking but nevertheless a rather straightforward affair that serves as a fine frame from which the action may spring. And much like the last film in the series, Day of Reckoning shows that there's still plenty of leg left in the Universal Soldier universe, a leg spurred on largely by style over substance but, in this case and considering the series' premises, characters, and action-oriented direction, style that accentuates what the film has to offer and demonstrates the effectiveness of Action filmmaking done with dark atmosphere, high energy, and hard-hitting action dominating the screen.
A man's home is invaded by a trio of individuals. He's severely beaten to the point of physical helplessness and witnesses the brutal and methodical execution of his wife and young daughter. Nine months paths; John (Scott Adkins) awakens from a coma only to face a new reality without his family and a whole lot of questions from the FBI's Agent Gorman (Rus Blackwell). John learns that the man who forever changed his life is none other than Luc Devereaux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), a Universal Soldier working with Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) to form a force of renegade UniSols. As John hunts down Devereaux, he must square off against "the plumber" (Andrei Arlovski), a powerful Universal Soldier bent on keeping John from his target at all costs. As John fights his way towards Devereaux, he begins to unravel the startling truth about his past and the direction of his destiny.
First, it must be noted that Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning is an unabashedly brutal film. But it's also very well put together, stylistically effective and largely effortless in its ability to immerse viewers into an ultra-violent world of killing machines and dastardly deeds that leave nearly every surface soaked with blood. That said, Day of Reckoning doesn't simply engage in violence merely to disgust or unsettle its audience. The film doesn't have any real explicit purpose away from raw entertainment, but it does emphasize style, choreography, and mood above violence for violence's sake. It will undoubtedly be too much for some -- particularly the brutality with which several scenes depict the methodical slaughter of innocent people -- but at its core this remains the prototypical "dumb action movie" given a facelift to elevate it as close to something more akin to motion art as a movie of this style can go and still appeal to a broad young male demographic by keeping the blood flowing and the body count high. Viewers impressed with the style of the most recent Universal Soldier film will appreciate Director Hyams' retention of a heavy underlying low-key score during brutal combat that enhances the attention to style and keeps the audience engaged without resorting to the usual high-energy music routine that in lesser films masks largely repetitive actions scenes that viewers have witnessed countless times before.
Just as important, Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning tells an inherently interesting story of confused identity, conspiracy, and revenge. None of the elements are particularly novel but they are made a part of the film in such a way that they all blend together nicely and with the beautifully styled action dominating but not overwhelming the plot. Nevertheless, Day of Reckoning moves through its story with little structural imagination; the end twist isn't at all hard to see coming but it does serve the narrative well enough. On the technical front, the film aims to create a "perspective" experience in which it engages in some effective first-person photography that simulates various individual states; the film opens with a disoriented father searching the house for intruders, depicted by the screen going light and dark as a means to cinematically recreate a drowsy, not-yet-fully-functional human state. Through such scenes, the film aims to make the audience a character rather than a detached observer. That works to an extent and proves effective at times -- like in that disorienting open -- but fails when the movie makes use of a psychotic strobe effect that will leave viewers closing their eyes and turning away as the screen mercilessly pulsates as a means of conveying story information from a unique perspective. It's a strong idea in theory and it does work as intended; the question is whether audiences want to see it. Otherwise, Hyams' film is a pleasure. Get past some excess violence and a few questionable choices and Day of Reckoning presents itself as a fairly engaging and very well-made picture that matches the last in intensity and style.
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning Blu-ray, Video Quality
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning arrives on Blu-ray with a stunning and practically flawless high definition transfer. The HD video source photography has an evident but not particularly bothersome glossy sheen to it. Though it appears rather inorganic by its nature, it boasts some positively striking details. Close-ups reveal every droplet of sweat, stubble of facial hair, and splotch of blood. Exterior foliage enjoys superb definition even some distance away from the camera, ditto manmade objects such as concrete and automobiles or heavily painted wooden beams as seen in chapter eleven. The image is razor-sharp and crystal clear in every scene, a real pleasure to behold. Colors are just as striking. The palette is rich and satisfying, vibrant and even with every hue true to life and sparkling under the increased resolution and higher scrutiny of Blu-ray. Flesh tones are excellent, and black levels deep and true. There are no major flaws of which to speak; banding, noise, and blocking are largely nonexistent. This is a high end presentation and another great Blu-ray visual from Sony.
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning features a rich and satisfying high definition DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Sony's sound presentation carries the movie extraordinarily well; sound plays a critical part in not only supporting action scenes but also defining them through deep, hardened elements that frame the action in a more artistic context. The deep, heavy low end and steady notes are rich and satisfying, playing with excellent clarity and an even spacing around the entire listening area. The track also creates a wide-open world through its atmospherics. Listeners will enjoy an authentic sense of space in most every major location throughout the movie; light background din at a hospital, the subtle electric buzzing of fluorescent lights, and other scene- and mood-critical effects spring to life and, no matter how subtle, seem to always play at just the right level and place around the soundstage to create maximum realistic effect. Gunfire plays with a positive, crisp presence. It's not quite as ear-piercing authentic as it might be -- particularly shots within smaller, enclosed spaces -- but the net effect is at least average for a fast-moving Action flick. Dialogue is always clear and remains grounded in the center channel. This is a top-level soundtrack from Sony.
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning contains two meaty extras.
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning is an excessively violent film but also one that's very well put together. Like Director John Hyams' Universal Soldier: Regeneration, his Day of Reckoning blends small-minded action with intense staging and superb choreography. Both are unique pictures and Reckoning is sufficiently different from Regeneration to make them both worth a watch if operatic, hardcore action with a fairly good story fits the bill. Sony's Blu-ray release of Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning features fantastic technical presentations and a supplemental package that's small in number but large in substance. Highly recommended.
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Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: January 22-29 - January 20, 2013
For the week of January 22th, Universal Studios Home Entertainment brings End of Watch to Blu-ray. A cops-and-criminals thriller from Training Day writer David Ayer, End of Watch follows two hotshot police officers (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña) as they work ...
• Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning Blu-ray - December 10, 2012
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release on Blu-ray director John Hyams' action thriller Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (2012), starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Andrei Arlovski and Scott Adkins. The release will be available for purchase ...
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