Mixed martial artist Andrei "The Pit Bull" Arlovski stars as 'NGU' (Next Generation UniSol), a Universal Soldier of the latest type, along with fellow fighter Mike Pyle as Capt. Kevin Burke. Tekken star Jon Foo appears as a cameo in the film as one of the four UniSols. The film was released theatrically in the Middle East and Southeast Asia and directly to video in the United States and other parts of the world. The film has received average to mixed reviews, but it has since developed a notable cult following.
A group of terrorists led by Commander Topov (Zahari Baharov) kidnap the Ukrainian prime minister's son and daughter and hold them hostage, demanding the release of their imprisoned comrades within 72 hours. In addition, they have taken over the crippled Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and threaten to detonate it if their demands are not met. It is revealed that among the ranks of the terrorists is an experimental Next-Generation UniSol (NGU) (Andrei "The Pit Bull" Arlovski), who was smuggled in by rogue scientist Dr. Robert Colin (Kerry Shale). U.S. forces join up with the Ukrainian army at the plant, but quickly retreat when the NGU slaughters most of them effortlessly. Dr. Richard Porter (Garry Cooper), Dr. Colin's former colleague on the Universal Soldier program, revives four UniSols to take down the NGU, but they are systematically eliminated.
Former UniSol Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), who is undergoing rehabilitation therapy in Switzerland with Dr. Sandra Fleming (Emily Joyce) with the goal of rejoining society, is taken back by the military to participate in the mission. As the deadline nears its expiration, the prime minister announces the release of the prisoners. The terrorists, having gotten what they wanted, rejoice and shut off the bomb. Dr. Colin, however, is not pleased with the outcome, as he feels his side of the business is not done. As the NGU is programmed not to harm the terrorists, Dr. Colin unleashes his second UniSol: a cloned and upgraded version of Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) - Deveraux's nemesis - who quickly kills Commander Topov. However, Dr. Colin never considered Scott's mental instability, and he is killed by his own creation. Scott then reactivates the bomb before heading out to hunt the children.
In the midst of the chaos, Capt. Kevin Burke (Mike Pyle) is sent in to infiltrate the plant and rescue the prime minister's children. He is successful in locating them and leads them toward safety. On their way out, they encounter the NGU. The children flee as Burke tries in vain to hold off the NGU, who stabs him to death after a brutal fight.
With 30 minutes remaining on the bomb's timer, a re-conditioned Deveraux is geared up and sent to the plant, where he kills every terrorist he encounters. He searches the buildings and finds the children cornered by Scott. Scott, who has distorted memories of Deveraux, is about to kill the children when Deveraux attacks and a grueling fight ensues. In the end, Deveraux impales Scott on the forehead with a lead pipe and fires a shotgun through it, blowing his brains out.
As Deveraux escorts the children to safety, they are attacked by the NGU. Deveraux and the NGU take the fight to the site of the bomb, with less than two minutes remaining. During the melee, Deveraux removes the detonator and jams it in the back of the NGU's uniform as they both jump out of the reactor chamber. NGU pulls the detonator off his back as it explodes, taking him with it. U.S. soldiers quickly arrive on the scene and tend to the children as Deveraux leaves. Burke's body is placed in a black bag and taken away, as well as recovered pieces of the NGU.
In Langley, Virginia, Burke's body is shown stored in a cryogenic chamber as a new UniSol, along with multiple clones made of him.Jean-Claude Van Damme as Luc Deveraux
Dolph Lundgren as Andrew Scott
Andrei "The Pit Bull" Arlovski as NGU
Mike Pyle as Captain Kevin Burke
Corey Johnson as Colonel John Coby
Garry Cooper as Dr. Richard Porter
Emily Joyce as Dr. Sandra Fleming
Zahari Baharov as Commander Topov
Aki Avni as Colonel Petrov
Kerry Shale as Dr. Robert Colin
Yonko Dimitrov as Dimitri
Violeta Markovska as Ivana
Stanislav Pishtalov as Prime Minister Musayev
Marianna Stanisheva as Olga
John Laskowski as Captain
Kristopher Van Varenberg as Miles
Jon Foo as UniSol 2
In a phone interview between director John Hyams and the Van Damme fanbase, the director commented:
I am hoping that we are taking a film that was made a long time ago and we are now trying to present these characters in a contemporary context, and that means stylistically contemporary and to use my own taste, something that feels like it belongs in this era of film making. I also think that that film is a bit of a nostalgia piece, not only to late '80s but also early '90s.
The music in the film was a synth score and to me was something that was reminiscent of the John Carpenter movies that I loved growing up, like The Thing, Carpenter would always have these great synth scores. Another piece we used was the group Tangerine Dream did a great score for the movie Sorcerer and taking a note from films like Blade Runner, movies influenced me and my idea of science fiction and action film making and take all the work I did in documentaries and the work I did within MMA and taking all those elements and putting them together to create a style of the film that I think is very different to the first two films, but I think fans of the first two will appreciate and maybe people who haven’t seen them will appreciate it.
On October 1, 2009, a surprise screening of the film took place at the Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, U.S.A.
The film's international theatrical release dates are as follows: in Israel on January 7, 2010, followed by the Philippines on January 8, followed by both Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates on January 27, both Malaysia and Singapore on January 28. A month later, it was released in Lebanon on March 25, 2010, Jordan on March 31, 2010 and Japan on June 26, 2010.
The film was released directly on DVD and Blu-ray on February 2 in the United States, February 9 in Brazil, April 5 in the United Kingdom, and May 4 in France and Germany.
The film has been mostly released directly to DVD / Blu-ray in the US and Europe, as well and the following figures do not include theatrical box office reports from important territories such as Israel, Japan or South Korea. As of April 7, 2010, the film has grossed $844,447 in United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Italy, Lebanon, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Since its release, the film has received better than average reviews for a straight-to-DVD franchise sequel. Dread Central gave it 3 out of 5 knives, saying "there is almost nothing but solid b-level action until the credits roll.". In a retrospective, Tom Breihan of The A.V. Club cited it as the most significant action movie of 2009, crediting it with providing newfound levels of critical legitimacy to the straight-to-DVD format, and describing it as "good enough to leave its theatrical predecessor in the dust."
It was announced in May 2010 that Van Damme and Lundgren would return for a fourth official installment. Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning will be the first in the series to be filmed in 3-D. John Hyams also returned as director.