Film: 3 out of 5 stars
EXtras: 2.5 out of 5 stars
First I would like to thank director John Hyams for breathing life back into the “Universal Soldier” franchise with “Regeneration”, which was a fun action packed ride. “Day of Reckoning” packs a nice punch as well but really focuses more in the horror/thriller genre (at least for the first 45 minutes). This installment brings back Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren but in very minor and rather useless roles, yet they are the focus on the box art – which is very misconceiving. The star and main focus of the film is Scott Adkins, who don’t get me wrong kicks some major ass but it really doesn’t feel like a “Universal Soldier” installment. Fans of the franchise should still check it out though (in 3D if possible) but don’t expect an action packed entry.
Official Synopsis: John (Scott Adkins) wakes up from a coma to discover his wife and daughter were slaughtered in a brutal home invasion. Haunted by images of the attack, he vows to kill the man responsible, Luc Deveraux (Jean Claude Van Damme). While John tries to piece his reality back together, things get more complicated when he is pursued by a relentless UniSol (Arlovski). As John gets closer to Deveraux and the rogue army of genetically enhanced warriors led by back-from-the-dead leader Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren), John discovers more about himself and begins to call into question everything he believed to be true.
The story itself starts off really interesting with a quite haunting opening scene but where a normal film would then explain the plot, this drags a bit and never really regains focus. I originally had the privilege of watching this film in 3D and it really is the way to watch this film, without it you lose a lot of the added depth especially in the first half of the film. The 2D version still is decent but I honestly wouldn’t recommend it. Unfortunately, there is no 3D US Blu-ray release planned by Sony. I watched it via VOD on DirecTV, so if you can catch it there, I would! Also there is an NC-17 cut of the film, which is also not on this Blu-ray release. I am not sure why Sony missed the mark on both of these great aspects of the film, it would have made this quite more desirable to purchase. I would just put this Blu-ray now as a renter.
The release looks sharp with its 1080p transfer and watch out for the strobe light scenes (which look better in 3D, sorry I will stop now). The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track really comes in great for the second half of the film, where the action is amped up. The special features are not jam-packed but overall decent. There is a nice audio commentary track from the director John Hyams and Dolph Lundgren. Besides the commentary, there are also three behind-the-scenes featurettes. The first is called “Coming Into Focus”, which takes a look at the production, it’s challenges and the films characters. “There Is No End” is a look at the tools used to create the final scene. Lastly “Production Wrap” is an in-depth look on the last days on set with cast/crew.