ABC Film Challenge – Action Movies – U – Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms (1998)

Director: Jeff Woolnough

Writer: Peter M Lenkov (Screenplay)

Starring: Matt Battaglia, Andrew Jackson, Eric Bryson, Kevin Rushton, Desmond Campbell, Michael Copeman, Gary Busey, Burt Reynolds

 

Plot: The Universal Soldiers are used to smuggle diamonds for a CIA Director, but Luc Deveroux continues to cause him problems.


Tagline – No memory. No emotion. No mercy… Until one of them decides to become human again.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Ouch!

 

Story: Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms starts as Luc Devreaux (Battaglia) has escaped with reporter Veronica (West) the only known living members of the universal Soldier project run by Otto Mazur (Busey). Wanting Luc back they set out his programming to return to base where Veronica must track him down while avoiding the law.

When Veronica reaches the base, she must sneak in (as you do) and work with Luc’s long lost brother Eric (Wincott) another member of the program to rescue him and stop Otto’s plans.

 

Thoughts on Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms

 

Characters – Luc Devreaux is the universal soldier, one of the last ones standing and now he has been reprogramed, but can his memories be stirred to bring back the human side from inside him. Veronica is the reporter that has found out the secret about the program and now she wants to expose it with Luc, she will do what it takes to save Luc from the base. Eric is the elder brother of Luc’s he has been missing for years, but he is one of the original universal soldiers now he works to save his brother. Otto is the recruiter for the program, he finds the dead soldiers, or he makes his own to keep the program filled for his bosses.

PerformancesDo I want to talk about the acting, well no because most of it is almost painful to watch through the film, Matt Battaglia doesn’t come close to Jean-Claude Van Damme and for the rest they are better but nothing overly convincing.

StoryThe story follows the idea of the universal soldiers being developed and how the government want it kept a secret. The story lacks the punch that the first one had, it does feel like the pilot for a television show which was the point. The story doesn’t have the twists but does want to continue to world build.

Action/Sci-Fi The action is also messy, we get too many cuts with not enough pure fighting which you would have had with Van Damme. The idea of enhanced soldiers works for the story, but we don’t get enough time to see everything going on with the project.

SettingsThe settings do feel almost pointless, we don’t get much happening with knowing as the we have plenty of random roads and no iconic buildings.

Special EffectsThe effects continue to show the weak points off the film which doesn’t connect the way they should.


Scene of the Movie –
Karaoke time

That Moment That Annoyed Me Just the acting in general.

Final ThoughtsThis is a pretty poor to terrible action sequel, the film just doesn’t hit the marks the other films in the franchise have and you will be left disappointed by the end.

 

Overall: Universally Bad.

Rating

 

 

Blackjack (1998)

blackjackDirector: John Woo

Writer: Peter Lance (Screenplay)

Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Kate Vernon, Phillip Mackenzie, Kam Heskin, Fred Williamson, Andrew Jackson

 

Plot: Dolph Lundgren plays Jack Devlin, a U.S Marshal who protects high-profile clients when it comes to a matter of security.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lundgren Action Party

 

Story: Blackjack starts when casino boss Bobby (Keleghan) gets threated by mobster he calls in Jack Devlin (Lundgren) to protect his daughter Casey. This gives us a chance to see all of the combat skills Jack possesses when the house comes under attack and of course he saves the day.

Months pass a Jack is still recovering from the effects from the attack when it comes to the colour white and his Dr Rachel Stein (Vernon) is trying to help him with the problem, but Jack is in for surprise when Casey turns up on and he has been left in custody of her after her parent’s death.

Cinder James (Heskin) the next top supermodel is about to get the biggest deal of her career and is being targeted by a fan, Tim Hastings (Williamson) is trying to investigate who is trying to kill her. Tim turns to Jack to become her bodyguard after the latest person Don Tragle (Jackson) struggles with the job. Jack must protect the supermodel from the people who want her dead but can he do this when he faces Rory Gaines (Mackenzie).

Blackjack was always meant to be a pilot episode for a television show but ended up being its own movie. You can see in how the story is told that this is the case, we get quirky sidekick characters, a life changing moment and of course an easy story for our hero. We get what could easily be considered another version of The Bodyguard with more action being used. Saying all this we do have what you would call a simple action film storyline but that is all you need.

 

Actor Review

 

Dolph Lundgren: Jack Devlin is the slick bodyguard that is the go to guy when someone needs protecting. After his latest job he finds himself struggling around the colour white. He becomes a father when his close friends die and his latest job is supermodel Cinder James. Jack must use all his skills to protect Cinder. Dolph is good in this role and this is what he is good at.

Kate Vernon: Dr Rachel Stein is the doctor trying to help Jack with hi fears, she tries to teach him to accept the colour but also ends up becoming helpful when it comes to dealing with the problems of Cinder. Kate is good but doesn’t get enough time to do anything with her role.

Phillip Mackenzie: Rory is the man trying to kill Cinder, he has a passion which borders on the lines of stalker but who he really is on Cinder knows. Phillip is good in the villain role.

Kam Heskin: Cinder is the supermodel about to get one of the biggest deals of her career but one man is trying to stop this from happening. She ends up under Jack’s care who will do everything he can to stop the killer but she isn’t making it easy for him. Kam is good in this role summing up the supermodel lifestyle.

Support Cast: Blackjack has your typical supporting cast which is all it needs in the film.

Director Review: John WooJohn gives us one of his weakest outing without any of hid ground-breaking directing style.

 

Action: Blackjack has great fighting scenes throughout without being too stand out.

Thriller: Blackjack does keep you wondering where it will go next.

Settings: Blackjack uses basic settings without making anything too standout.
Special Effects
: Blackjack has good effects during the fight scenes.

Suggestion: Blackjack is one for the action fans to try watching. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Lundgren is good in the leading role.

Worst Part: Fear of white.

Action Scene Of The Film: Opening fight in the house.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

Tagline: Hired to protect. Trained to kill. Forced to survive.

Trivia: Was intended to be the pilot (first episode) of a TV series cantering on Dolph Lundgren‘s character.

 

Overall: Easy to watch action film

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