Apparently There’s A Universal Soldier Reboot In The Works
Universal Soldier is a rare movie franchise that actually got better in its later sequels. The original and its follow-up The Return are basically okay schlock, but 2009’s Regeneration was a weirdly great film (and Van Damme was brilliant in it) and Day of Reckoning wasn’t half bad, either (we’ll ignore the intensely crappy made-for-TV movies, which were quickly retconned out of existence).
Perhaps buoyed up by the latter two films’ success, screenwriter Richard Wenk has revealed in an interview that he’s now working on a “re-imagining” of the franchise. Wenk, who wrote The Equalizer, explains that his script features a sole soldier rather than the pair seen in the original movies and is eager to stress that this is not a remake, saying:
“I will say that I’m just finishing up a re-imagining — let’s be clear about this it’s not a remake and it is not a redo — but it is a re-imagining of a movie called ‘Universal Soldier’…very much like ‘The Equalizer,’ it’s the title that inspired me and not the movies…I’m just about to finish (the script) and turn it in this week.”
So, what would a re-imagining of the franchise look like? Well, the core idea is of a clandestine program that takes dead soldiers and reanimates them as unquestioning, brainwashed killer drones, able to act without morals or hesitation. It’s a fine science fiction concept, and I can think of many ways in which Wenk could pick up this baton and run with it.
For one, it’d be neat to tie this in with soldiers returning from America’s illegal Iraq campaign with crippling injuries and PTSD, struggling to find a place in a society that once venerated them but is now eager to cast them aside. After all, what’s science fiction good for if it’s not a reflection of real-world woes?
Whatever form this project eventually takes, it’ll be a while before it bears fruit. Todd Black and Jason Blumenthal are set to produce, but given that the script has just been finished, Universal Soldier probably won’t be hitting cinemas until 2020 at the earliest. Let’s just hope they find room for a Van Damme cameo.