The fourth (and, at this point, final) instalment in the Universal Soldier series, this stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren in supporting roles, playing incarnations of the same characters that they played in all of the previous instalments, but gives the spotlight to Scott Adkins as the new action lead.
Adkins plays a man named John who wakes from a coma after a home invasion that left his family dead. He knows who did it, apparently, and viewers may be surprised to know that it's Luc Deveraux (Van Damme). But is John remembering the truth or has his perception of events somehow been warped? He hopes to find out as he sets off on a one-man warpath.
Director John Hyams also returns to the series, having done such a good job with the previous instalment, and this time both directs and also helps with the script, co-written by himself, Doug Magnuson, and Jon Greenlagh. Although things get a bit twisted and overly complicated as the plot starts to develop, everything seems to make just enough sense and it keeps this instalment more interesting than just another retread of the material that we've all seen before.
Action movie viewers should already be well aware of Adkins, a guy who does just well enough in the actual acting stakes to make him a viable star when it comes to vehicles bult around his physical skills. He does great work here, thanks to some superb fights that really try to convey the strength of the fighters and the impact of the hits. Andrei Arlovski also returns, and is once again impressively badass in his role, chasing down Adkins like a Terminator and forcing him to fight for his life. Van Damme and Lundgren are used sparingly throughout, which may disappoint some, but come to the fore during the third act, with the scripted idea of a torch being passed on working for both the events of the film and also outwith the screen, with the older stars able to leave things in the hands of Adkins.
Some people will tell you that this is the best of the series. It's a tough one to argue against, especially after having just watched some of the incredible fight scenes, but I put them on a par with one another. As mentioned in my review of the previous film, the original manages to feel like a more complete entertainment package, but this one is arguably more satisfying for those looking for movie action with a bit of . . . oomph (to use the technical term).
This is still a great way to get them.
Americans can buy the blu here.