UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (Roland Emmerich, 1992)

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Re: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (Roland Emmerich, 1992)

Postby Jox on 12 Sep 2019, 23:33

The 4K edition in 4K out on November 4 (I'll find disappointing that they stick with this visual)
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Unviersal-Sold ... 07XB1CP76/

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Re: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (Roland Emmerich, 1992)

Postby Jox on 21 Sep 2019, 10:30

In the UK, the steelbook with newer artwork will only be a Zavvi exclusive:
https://www.zavvi.com/blu-ray/universal ... 78311.html

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Re: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (Roland Emmerich, 1992)

Postby Jox on 25 Sep 2019, 02:26

Looks like the 4K edition will released in the US on November 5 as well after all 8)
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dvd-un ... r/34193637
https://www.blowitoutahere.com/universa ... 1398308126
(and so much cheaper :shock: )
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Re: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (Roland Emmerich, 1992)

Postby Jox on 26 Sep 2019, 22:21

US 4K UHD edition Amazon pre-order link:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y98NLM8/
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Re: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (Roland Emmerich, 1992)

Postby Jox on 10 Oct 2019, 12:06

Cover for the US 4K

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They could have done a nice steelbook out of the vintage international key art...

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Re: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (Roland Emmerich, 1992)

Postby Jox on 15 Oct 2019, 01:22

Official announcement for the US release
https://www.lionsgatepublicity.com/home ... soldier_4K

Press release:
https://lionsgate-brightspot.s3.amazona ... final.docx

Special features:
- Audio commentary (2004) by Roland Emmerich, Dean Devlin, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Dolph Lundgren
- Audio commentary (2001) by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin
- “A Tale of Two Titans” Featurette
- “Guns, Genes, and Fighting Machines” Featurette
- Alternate Ending
- “Behind the Scenes” Featurette
- Trailer

High-resolution cover:
https://lionsgate-brightspot.s3.amazona ... raocrd.png

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Re: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (Roland Emmerich, 1992)

Postby Jox on 20 Oct 2019, 17:23

Russian VHS

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Russian VHS of the TV sequel pilot (Matt Battalia / Jeff Wincott) :mrgreen:

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Re: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (Roland Emmerich, 1992)

Postby Jox on 28 Oct 2019, 11:48

Screening November 25th at the Loft Cinema, Hereford, UK
https://www.facebook.com/events/501248207094572/
https://www.loftcinema.co.uk/whatson/20 ... al-soldier

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Revisiting the Universal Soldier Franchise
Tom Jolliffe revisits the Universal Soldier franchise…
https://www.flickeringmyth.com/2019/10/ ... franchise/
With a 4k release for the cult classic due soon, as well as the release of director Roland Emmerich’s upcoming WWII epic Midway, now seems a good time to revisit the original Universal Soldier, and the eclectic sequels it spawned.

Universal Soldier

The early 90’s. In the wake of Terminator 2: Judgment Day came Universal Soldier. It was a lower budget (albeit still fairly hefty) action sci-fi that saw reanimated dead soldiers being used by an off record Government agency. Stripped of all soul and humanity, and wiped of memory, the soldiers become essentially cyborgs needing constant cooling to account for their new found strength, stamina and regenerative powers. Complications arise when two of the Nam vet re-animated soldiers get flashbacks to the war and their own personal conflict resurfaces. Those two of course, were Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren (as Luc Devereaux and Andrew Scott respectively).

By this point in time there was a crossover. Van Damme was well into a progressive career rise, starting from the relatively small, and cult favourite, Bloodsport and then establishing himself firmly as a strong cinematic pull in low budget action films. Lundgren on the other hand was in decline having hit the big time quickly in Rocky IV. He never quite managed to find the momentum and in no small part his choices were a string of misfortune with crippled companies (New World Pictures, Cannon), nefarious producers (Jack Abramoff) and more, meaning that films which on paper could have done well theatrically (Masters of The Universe, Red Scorpion, Dark Angel, and The Punisher), bombed at the box office (or due to external issues with The Punisher, bypassed theatrical release in the US). Ironically, going back to Terminator 2, that film also played no small part in terminating Showdown in Little Tokyo at the box office, which came a week after Ahnuld’s monster hit. The film was quietly put out and left to drift its way off screens in the hope of getting good returns on home video (which Lundgren’s films all did at the time).

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Van Damme as hero, opposite the imposing Lundgren as villain. It showed Van Damme could headline a bigger budget and still make a hefty return ($100 million worldwide on a $23 million budget). This was also Roland Emmerich’s step into prominence, following on from his previous film, Moon 44. Universal Soldier would lead him onto Stargate, onto Independence Day and beyond. Whilst Universal Soldier’s nods to the likes of Robocop and Terminator may bring about unfavourable comparison, the benefit of time has helped a film that actually has a good blend of action and wry humour. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, while the inclusion of a strong, feisty female character (played by Ally Walker) to humanise the action a bit is also underappreciated.

Van Damme displays his physical prowess well with his trademark high kicks, but in addition a puppy dog demeanour that makes for some enjoyable comical moments. He’s better here than anyone back then would give him credit for as an actor. It might have ended up launching Van Damme onto bigger things but it sadly didn’t springboard Lundgren back up as a viable theatrical star. Not aided by sore luck with on paper hits like Joshua Tree and Men of War, the latter of which even had Oscar powered pedigree with John Sayles writing, suffering issues affecting their chances. Again, video numbers were strong suggesting the home audience were keen admirers of Lundgren but couldn’t be persuaded out the house (not that foul luck in distribution etc gave much chance, with no US theatrical releases forthcoming). Lundgren steals the film, chewing scenery with a Nic Cage-esque aplomb as the PTSD suffering Scott being ramped up to the max and going excessively haywire because of it. Lundgren handles the wry humour well but has fun playing a villain he can let loose with, in a way his heroes weren’t allowed to.

This remains one of the strongest, most enjoyable films of both CVs (and indeed probably Emmerich too). It also benefits from some impressively staged set pieces including a bus/truck chase and the hoover dam opening (and the inevitable mano-a-mano showdown).
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Re: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (Roland Emmerich, 1992)

Postby Jox on 29 Oct 2019, 03:31

Universal Soldier 4K Ultra HD
http://moviemansguide.com/main/2019/10/ ... more-22243
The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.

SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.5/5
This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover and inside a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. All of the features from previous releases, as best I could tell, have been ported over and are available on both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray discs.

Audio Commentaries:
Director Roland Emmerich, Writer Dean Devlin and Actors Jean-Claude Van Damme & Dolph Lundgrin
Director Roland Emmerich and Writer Dean Devlin

Presumably both of these were from the special edition DVD from years back (2004?) and while nothing special, do offer different viewpoints, though the first track the commentators were recorded separately (with Emmerich and Devlin talking together). The second one flows a bit better.

A Tale of Two Titans (14:12) looks at the first match-up between Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgrin, including interviews with the two actors talking about their careers.

Guns, Genes and Fighting Machines (18:53) — Retrospective featurette from 2004 on the making of the movie with cast and crew interviews about the over-the-top nature of the action and fights.

Alternate Ending (13:08) — Pretty dark alt ending where Luc’s mother is shot in the back and subsequently, the father, who wasn’t his father, shoots him before Jerry Orbach’s character comes in to make revelation that Luc was set up all along. So this was truly an alternate ending…

Behind the Scenes (15:28) is a fly-on-the-wall featurette from 1991.

Theatrical Trailer (2:19)


VIDEO – 4.5/5
Lionsgate releases Universal Soldier onto 4K Ultra HD where it’s shown in the original theatrical 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 2160p high-definition transfer. The picture is actually pretty impressive, detail is sharp and although this isn’t the most colorful movie, as a fair portion does take place at night, especially the finale in pouring rain, colors are decent though not entirely bright. The natural film noise and grain is present, however, giving it a nice theatrical-like experience 25+ years later. I noticed no apparent or obvious signs of aliasing, artifacting or other flaws.


AUDIO – 3.0/5
Where the video excelled, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track was surprisingly weak to the point where I had to make sure my right speaker was properly working (even though before I had watched another movie where it was working fine), and it was outputting audio but oh so barely, same with the rears so depth wasn’t all that impressive. The center channel is relegated for the on-screen action and dialogue, the latter of which was fine but the usage of ADR was rather evident.

OVERALL – 3.25/5
Universal Soldier is a flawed film, even a little amateurish in some respects especially with the direction by Emmerich (from what I can tell, this was his first big Hollywood picture), but still a fun enough flick pairing up Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren who did as well as one would expect given the material. This 4K Ultra HD release does offer great video but the audio was lackluster and the good bonus material ported over from the previous releases.
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Re: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (Roland Emmerich, 1992)

Postby Jox on 30 Oct 2019, 17:47

https://hdmoviesourcebluray.blogspot.com/2019/10/universal-soldier-4k-review.html

Screenshots:

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-YybuJs75T90/ ... OT%2B2.png

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-GA_9lJlwad8/ ... OT%2B3.png

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-91I085yPguQ/ ... OT%2B4.png

I was not expecting much from this movie, it's an old movie with a limited budget. However, the masters must have been kept in relatively good condition because the image here is really good in my opinion. The sharpness is very good; and I don't believe this is something that Blu-ray could do, it's definitely more resolution than the 1080p. I don't typically take a look at the Blu-ray to compare, but the Blu-ray looked terrible by comparison. The resolution and sharpness is improved, the color is much improved, and the blacks are much, much improved. There is zero halo-ing or edge enhancement on this disc, wow, impressive, and I believe that this is a 2K master I think. So this is a 2K disc with no added sharpness or halo-ing, I've almost never seen this. Now, the disc isn't perfect, this is noise in some shots when inside some of the trucks and poorly lit scenes. Is this from the negative or the transfer? I'm not too sure, but the fact that I see it has made me lower the video score. The film grain is relatively even, but I did notice some slight differences in film grain inside the trucks vs outside, also there were some low res soft shots. If your a fan of this movie I think you're going to be happy, and I'm impressed by the way this movie looks.

VIDEO SCORE = 4.25 out of 5

THE BASICS: IMPRESSIVE



The audio was pretty basic here, and a little disappointing, here's why. The audio was around 4db to low which is typically fine, however, then on top of that the dialogue is also around 4db too low, after making adjustments the audio the movie did sound fine, but wow, was it really this bad in the 90's? The audio is also really harsh sounding; not smooth like today's mixes, I would have liked to have seen some Dolby Atmos filtering to smooth out the sound for this movie. Overall it's a pretty rough sounding disc, no frills added.

AUDIO SCORE = 2.5 out of 5

THE BASICS: PRETTY POOR
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Re: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (Roland Emmerich, 1992)

Postby Jox on 31 Oct 2019, 19:13

AVForums 4K review
https://www.avforums.com/review/univers ... view.16779
UHD 4K Blu-ray Picture

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Universal Soldier makes its UK 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray debut courtesy of Studiocanal a day earlier than the Lionsgate/Studiocanal US release. It's another fabulous full-fat native 4K restoration from Studiocanal, doing a superb restoration job with the original 35mm print, remastered with Dolby Vision as the cherry on top.

The disc presents a 3840 x 2160p resolution image utilising the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 1.85:1. It uses 10-bit video depth, a Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range (HDR) in the form of Dolby Vision, and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec.

We reviewed the UK Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Universal Soldier on an LG 55B7 Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD OLED TV with an LG UP970 Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

Studiocanal continues its unpredictable selection of shot-on-film restorations for 4K, after a tremendous 2019 roster including The Deer Hunter 4K, Apocalypse Now 4K, Don't Look Now 4K, Angel Heart 4K, and even the Rambo Trilogy 4K, Cliffhanger 4K, Lock Up 4K and Red Heat 4K (with Leon 4K on the way). The results are stunning, and all the more impressive for universally wielding Dolby Vision too. Easily the best these films have ever looked, Universal Soldier's 4K presentation - continuing the run of somewhat surprising and unlikely 4K candidates amongst this selection, like Lock Up, Red Heat and arguably even Angel Heart - certainly isn't the exception to that rule.

Lovingly restored, there's a gorgeous amount of detail pulled from the image, evident right from the 'Nam opening, and particularly noticeable on the close-ups. Sure, it's a cleaner image, and the seeming lack of grain suggests a degree of digital manipulation, but thankfully the restoration work here doesn't rob all the underlying detail in its bid to clean up the image.

Of course, it's the WCG and HDR - here, Dolby Vision - that make all the difference at the end of the day, with dozens of stunning moments across the feature - a film which hitherto you may not have expected to provide anything approaching 'demo'. From the lush dark green jungle opening, beautifully peppered by gorgeous bursts of flame, and rich with inky blacks, all the way through to the desert chase sequence, which makes The Grand Canyon setting all the more stunning, transforming the barren landscape into a wondrous environment, with reds tweaked to make the orange sand rich and alive, and a gorgeous blue sky to cast it upon, this is a fabulous enhancement to the colour palette. And we're still back in the era of practical effects work here, so the explosions are all real, popping with savage fiery intensity and reminding you of just how good old film explosions can look. Excellent.


Universal Soldier UHD 4K Blu-ray Sound

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Although Studiocanal go that extra mile with Dolby Vision, it's sometimes a little disappointing that we don't get a Dolby Atmos remix, even if it is slightly more understandable given both the vintage and profile of the pieces. Universal Soldier was the last film to use the pre-DTS CDS Cinema Digital Sound system, which is often looked back upon as being a superior sound system. This all translates to a very good DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, even if it's nowhere near reference material.

Dialogue gets keenly disseminated throughout, rising above the action to get clear and coherent prioritisation. The score was actually by a former member of Tangerine Dream, Christopher Franke, who turns in his first solo major motion picture work here, even if the end result is marginally unrefined in action. As a curious irony, the latest DTV Universal Soldier sequels had scores which were purposefully designed to be Tangerine Dream in style, and are considerably more memorable as a result. Nevertheless, the score gets keen priority too, providing a near-consistent backing element for the surrounds to lap up. Effects are where it's at, with thunderous explosions thrumming with LFE intensity, some nice Desert Eagle booms and heavy machine gun fire, as well as all those over-exaggerated body blows commensurate with this kind of 90s action fare. It may not be a demo track, but it does a fine job with the material.


Universal Soldier UHD 4K Blu-ray Extras

Studiocanal also does another good job on the extras front (again commendably porting them over to the 4K Ultra HD disc itself), with an assortment of decent additions.

Headlined by a couple of Director-driven Audio Commentaries, one of which comes with contributions from stars Van Damme and Lundgren, there are also a trio of Featurettes and an interesting Alternate Ending which has Platoon-esque overtones and was likely changed in much the same way as the original end of First Blood.


Universal Soldier UHD 4K Blu-ray Verdict 8 OUT OF10

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Universal Soldier continues this year's impressive run of stunning native 4K restorations from Studiocanal, following Angel Heart 4K, The Deer Hunter 4K, Apocalypse Now 4K, Don't Look Now 4K and Cliffhanger 4K, Rambo Trilogy 4K, Lock Up 4K and Red Heat 4K. Although there's clearly a group of bona fide classics, and then a second group of action 'classics', if you're a fan, these are unequivocal must-have editions of the films.

Universal Soldier's UK 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc affords us not only stunning native 4K video but also added Dolby Vision enhancement, and with great audio and a welcome selection of extras, it remains another great release from Studiocanal, giving fans, without a doubt, the best possible definitive edition of this 90s actioner, a Van Damme / Lundgren favourite they likely never expected to hit the format.
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Re: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (Roland Emmerich, 1992)

Postby Jox on 01 Nov 2019, 19:08

US edition backcover:

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UK/French/German steelbook:

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(I didn't know that Roland Emmerich was an Academy Award-winning director! :mrgreen: )
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