ReviewWriter: Eu Sze SeanWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"Universal Soldier", "JCVD"
Jean-Claude Van Damme, famous for his success as a martial artist and equally famous for his acting career, both positive and negative. He's had his fair share of pitfalls, both professional and personal, and may not be known for the best of reasons, but is still recognised when the name is mentioned, and that's what counts.
So Jean-Claude once again graces the big screen with a new movie (sequel actually) after his surprise 2008 theatrical hit "JCVD", which is part biography, part fiction, part drama, part comedy, and all good. With the success of "JCVD", perhaps Jean-Claude really understands about how the world perceives him as an actor, and how to improve himself and his image, because "Universal Soldier: A New Beginning" is a surprisingly enjoyable movie.
The beauty of "A New Beginning" lies in its simplicity. Many a time have we come across an action film which tries too hard to cram in action, plot and drama, and in doing so becomes mediocre and un-enjoyable. "Universal Soldier: A New Beginning", on the other hand, cuts away with any unnecessary crap. Story and plot? Simple and straight to the point. Dialogue? Only when required. Drama? Just a small dose. Comedy? Enough to satisfy the audiences. Action? Hell yeah and lots of it!
The flow of the movie is also very smooth and natural. From the moment the film begins, a cause and effect is already set into motion (along with the action) and once again the Universal Soldiers (UniSols) are brought out of retirement. From then on, the non-stop action delivers satisfyingly with the military precision and tactics, as well as the hand-to-hand combat of the UniSols. As mentioned earlier, all combat scenes have no unnecessary dialogue and no redundant background music. Just two buff men, staring off in silence, with a mutual understanding of what's about to occur. A few timely comedic sequences also give a nice break from the action.
There are still a few unsettled injustices in this film. Dolph Lundgren, who also starred in the first "Universal Soldier" film, returns in this sequel as well as the third main UniSol. Unfortunately, his screen time was fairly short in the film, and he rightfully deserves an equal amount of screen time as the other two UniSols. Another disappointment comes from the fact that the three UniSols never actually face off together in one super battle action sequence, which would have been the icing on the cake.
The cinematography also deserves some praise, with well-placed camera angles and third person views following the action closely in real time. The realism of the military tactics also compliments the rest of the film nicely. Also complimenting the film is the music, which is a synth score, reminiscent of classic John Carpenter movies.
The notion "less is more" is clearly applied and the simplicity of it all makes this film a truly enjoyable experience. It may not win Emmy's but it will certainly win appreciation. With movies like "JCVD" and "Universal Soldier: A New Beginning", the future is looking positive for Jean-Claude Van Damme.Cinema Online, 27 January 2010