After a home invasion leaves John in coma, he awakens nine months later to discover that both his wife and daughter were murdered in cold blood. Suffering from memory loss, John's only lasting memory revolves around Luc Deveraux, the man responsible. Hellbent on revenge, John sets out to track this man down and avenge the deaths of the ones he loved. John Hyam's Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning is a fast-paced, brutal action film that is surprisingly artistic in it's approach. The film begins with an opening sequence showcasing the home invasion in which we are transported entirely into John's point-of-view the night of the attacks. It's a hint of things to come, being that the sequence is well executed and shot entirely in John's POV in a way that would make Brian De Palma blush. Day of Reckoning is a surprisingly moody and atmospheric piece of filmmaking that does a great job at creating atmosphere, specifically revolving around John's memories and how he is haunted by the murder of his wife and child. This film also brings a nice nihilistic quality to the story, showing how insignificant we are as individuals in the eyes of our governing body. As the story unfolds we learn that Luc Deveraux and Andrew Scott are building an army of Universal Soldiers, intent on bringing a new world order in which they are no longer slaves to their masters. The biggest problem with Day of Reckoning is that in its somewhat ambitious approach to a tired concept, the film at times becomes a little muddled, particularly around John's story arch. That being said, I'm not sure this really matters cause these movies are watched for the action, which Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning delivers in spades. This is without question one of the best action films of the year, with action that is blunt, violent and contained to the screen, with none of that inter-cutting bullshit which is far too common in Hollywood these days. The fights in particular are well choreographed and there are plenty of them to go around, making for an extremely fun action flick. Universal Soldier: The Day of Reckoning is a great "b-movie" in which the director attempts to merge arthouse sensibilities with action flick tropes and while the film does suffer when it tries too hard, it's absolutely worthy of any action junkies time.
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