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Universal Soldier

Universal Soldier at 30: Still an Action Movie Essential | ft. JCVD & Dolph Lundgren

They say old soldiers never die but in the case of 1992’s Universal Soldier, old soldiers could just be soldiers who once died. Having killed each other Rocky II-style during the Vietnam War, two soldiers are brought back to life decades later by a secret, illegal government project that resurrects the dead, injects them with superpower serum, and keeps them around as brainwashed mercenaries. This is 1992's Universal Soldier movie!

And now, as the film hits its 30th anniversary, we spoke to stars Jean-Claude Van Damme (who played Luc Deveraux) and Dolph Lundgren (who played Andrew Scott) as well as director Roland Emmerich (Stargate, Independence Day) about the difficulties of making the film, its legacy, and more. It’s time to look back at how the film gave us two action stars and a maestro of big screen global destruction.

Billed as a showdown between the “Muscles from Brussels” Jean-Claude Van Damme and the “Heemen from Sweden” Dolph Lundgren, Universal Soldier was also the first big American studio film for Roland Emmerich, whose direct follow-up films would be Stargate and Independence Day.

With the title of Supreme '80s Action Hero fiercely traded back and forth by Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, martial artist Van Damme first made waves as a leading man with 1988’s Bloodsport, which he followed up with Kickboxer, Cyborg, Lionheart, and Double Impact. Universal Soldier would be his biggest hit yet though, featuring the best production value, stunts, and story up to that point. Meanwhile, Dolph Lundgren had already portrayed one of the most hated villains in movie history, with Rocky IV’s Ivan Drago, and then gone on to be the first live-action He-Man in 1987’s Masters of the Universe and the first live-action Frank Castle in 1989’s Punisher.

Join us as we trace the making of Universal Soldier 1992!