We’ve Seen the First 10 minutes of Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning

Scott Adkins makes his debut in the Universal Soldier series at ActionFest 2012, but maybe they should have kept this footage to themselves.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel


ActionFest landed the exclusive premiere of the opening scenes of Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, due out in 3D this fall. They erroneously called it Universal Soldier IV but true fans know it’s VI. They also said this was about 10 minutes and I didn’t quite time it but it felt like about 10 minutes. Maybe it was 7 or so.

I have to say, I think it was a mistake to show this opening on its own. It’s so dark it causes more concern than excitement. They really should have shown the whole movie. Then we would all understand (and not spoil) all the twists, and we’d be able to talk about the awesome fights. There were no fights in this section and it was not presented in 3D.

The opening of Day of Reckoning introduces Scott Adkins’ new character. It’s shot from his point of view, which is kind of a cliché, the first person camera experience. It’s well shot, with lots of reflections in mirrors, but it’s an old trick. This won’t be a major 3D sequence I imagine.

It seems like this is the explanation for how Adkins’ character becomes a Unisol, if you know how Universal Soldiers are made. Maybe not, maybe he stays human and has to fight the Unisols. Either way is fine. I like Adkins and I would follow him in this entry.

It’s very gloomy and unpleasant though, the way modern movies revel in how grim violence is. It worked in Universal Soldier: Regeneration because it was exploring how bad it felt to be a Unisol after all these years. That’s the thing, just seeing this opening scene of violence doesn’t let us know there’s anything deeper to it. It’s just an uncomfortable sequence.

Then there’s a shocking reveal of one of the regular characters in the Universal Soldier series. I’m not sure I like it, but you have to see where they’re going with it. This just raises uncomfortable questions. As in, it’s not tantalizing like, “Woah, WTF is going on?” It’s more “Ew, is this what the whole movie’s going to be?”

When Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning comes out, we’ll watch the whole thing and then judge it. ActionFest would have gone ape for an exclusive screening and they would have talked it up all year. This was not an enticing clip to show.