Universal Soldiers (2007)

universalsoldiersNo, this is not connected in anyway to the Van Damne turkey “Universal Soldier.” And it’s not a sequel, remake, or spin-off. It is indeed yet another rip-off from none other than Asylum, who insists it’s much better than the original. And trust me, if you’ve seen “Universal Soldier,” it is not a claim to be proud of, in any respect. In either case, it’s probably one of the most laughable attempts to mimic and blatantly steal from another established property, while also basically stealing a title.

While the Asylum usually just presents a facsimile of a bigger title (Ex: Hillside Cannibals), “Universal Soldiers” is a shameless and embarrassing knock off claiming to be a part of an established franchise without any reasonable proof, and displaying no regard for the intelligence and common sense of its audience. If it has any. A small group of soldiers, half clean cut male models, and half blond buxom young women find themselves in a large forest being hunted by an unleashed government experiment gone horribly awry. What’s hunting them? Well, I’d say your guess is as good as my guess is, because it’s never completely made clear what the villains are. Are they robotic soldiers made to look human, cyborgs with human exoskeletons, or corpses combined with robotic structures?

I could never decide, and apparently, neither could Latt or Furst. But, as made apparent by the opening credits, the look like bad carbon copies of the Terminator robots, even possessing vision similar to the robotic soldiers from the aforementioned property; it’s another shameless rip from a better movie. In sheer illogical moments, the robotic soldiers spy on the remaining human commandos in a field almost standing over them, when they’re actually in a rather indistinct distance. “Universal Soldiers,” as previously noted in many other sources, is really just another slasher movie with a shiny science fiction veil thrown over it, along with robotic soldiers chasing saps in a forest, instead of a knife wielding masked maniac. Thus, rather than actually own up to its intentions, Furst persists in the faux-science fiction masquerade, and really never breaks any ground or explores new ideas in the premise he sets.

Meanwhile, I received a shocking Nam flashback to “The Hills Have Eyes 2” as I realized the alleged soldiers here are probably some of the dumbest ever portrayed on-screen. They move very slowly, they never perform actual procedures we’d see during battle, and willingly sit out in the open awaiting death. “Universal Soldiers” is DOA from the very beginning with sheer stupidity steeped in the pre-requisite wooden performances. Not a single character stands out here, and everyone are simply set up just to die a gruesome death, whine, cry, and argue, or remain a typical military stereotype spouting lingos, and commands with zero exposition in sight while shooting guns that almost never need reloading or waste ammo.

The super soldiers themselves look very much like psychotic “Star Trek” fan boys, and rarely appear on-screen together at a time. Most of the film is spent with our vapid soldiers, and when a super soldier is spotted, they’re mostly obscured in the darkness, run quickly past camera, or are shot over the shoulder without much of their detail revealed to us. Thus, even the villains feel like set pieces, with zero characterization or dread to make this a competent thriller.  “Universal Soldiers” makes no bones about its purpose, and the response to it is equally negative. It’s another pointless and utterly excruciating genre disaster with a thin story, broadly drawn characters, terrible dialogue, and horrible acting all around.