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The Universal Soldier series is a series of science fiction action films. The series began in 1992 with Universal Soldier and as of 2012 comprises six entries, though only three are considered to be canon. The films centered around the character of Luc Deveraux (played by Jean-Claude Van Damme and Matt Battaglia respectively until Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning, which focuses on a new protagonist named John (played by Scott Adkins).
The six entries in the series are:
The series most recurring stars are Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren. Van Damme plays Luc Deveraux, a soldier killed in the Vietnam War and reanimated in the 1990s as a highly advanced Universal Soldier, or "UniSol" for short. Lundgren plays Andrew Scott, also a Vietnam soldier, who suffers a psychotic break before being killed and is reanimated as Deveraux's sadistic nemesis for the majority of the series.
After Universal Soldier was released, Carolco, the production company that backed the film, went bankrupt. In 1995, Carolco sold the rights of the series to Skyvision Entertainment in Toronto. Two TV films, Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms and Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business, were released direct-to-video, starring Matt Battaglia as Luc Deveraux and Jeff Wincott as his brother Eric Deveraux. They were produced for Showtime / The Movie Channel as a miniseries meant as a backdoor pilot for a series. Having almost no input whatsoever from the original filmmakers, their canonical status is questionable.
Van Damme eventually returned for the fourth installment, Universal Soldier: The Return, which has since been removed from the series canon. An overwhelming critical and financial failure, The Return contradicted several elements of the previous film's plot by making Luc Deveraux no longer a Universal Soldier, giving him a daughter, and removing female protagonist Veronica Roberts. The subsequent film in the series, Universal Soldier: Regeneration, disregards the events of The Return entirely. Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning featured Van Damme and Lundgren in much smaller roles, introducing a new protagonist named John (Scott Adkins) fighting against both Deveraux and Scott. Although no explanation is given for why Deveraux has become a villain, Scott is assumed to be a clone like the one in the previous film. Cloning was added to the story as part of the UniSol program during the second and third installments.
|Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms|
|Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business|
|Universal Soldier: The Return|
|Universal Soldier: Regeneration|
|Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning|
|Luc Deveraux||Jean-Claude Van Damme||Matt Battaglia||Jean-Claude Van Damme|
|Andrew Scott||Dolph Lundgren||Andrew Jackson||Dolph Lundgren|
|Eric Deveraux||Jeff Wincott|
|Veronica Roberts||Ally Walker||Chandra West|
|Seth||Michael Jai White|
|Magnus / NGU||Andrei Arlovski|
|Miles||Kristopher Van Varenberg|
|Dr. Colin||Kerry Shale|
|Dr. Porter||Garry Cooper|
|Film||Release date||Box office revenue||Box office ranking||Budget||Reference|
|United States||Foreign||Worldwide||All time domestic||All time worldwide|
|Universal Soldier||July 10, 1992||$36,299,898||$36,299,898||#1,835||$23 million|||
|Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms||September 27, 1998|
|Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business||December 1999|
|Universal Soldier: The Return||August 20, 1999||$10,937,893||$270,000||$10,717,421||#3,837||$40 million|||
|Universal Soldier: Regeneration||October 1, 2009||$844,447||$844,447||$14 million|||
|Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning||October 25, 2012||$5,460||$363,719||$369,179||#11,358||$11.5 million|||
|Universal Soldier||20% (25 reviews)|
|Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms||0% (7 reviews)|
|Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business||20% (5 reviews)|
|Universal Soldier: The Return||6% (52 reviews)||24 (14 reviews)|
|Universal Soldier: Regeneration||50% (44 reviews)|
|Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning||50% (44 reviews)||58 (18 reviews)|
A Universal Soldier video game was produced by The Code Monkeys and released by Accolade in 1992. The game was a conversion of Turrican II: The Final Fight for the Sega Genesis and Game Boy. Another version was developed later for the SNES, but it was never released.