10 Things You Didn’t Know About Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning
If you’re watching the fourth installment of the Universal Soldier franchise (forgetting those DTV ones) for the first time then prepare to be both intrigued and confused. Day of Reckoning takes quite the left turn in terms of how the other films in the series have gone. No longer do we follow the heroic exploits of Luc Deveraux. Now we’re being told he’s a murderer and a terrorist and he’s pals with Dolph Lundgren! Not only is it a surprising change of pace for the franchise but it also puts a really nice bow on the film if this is in fact the final film in the series. The action scenes are possibly the best in the series and they certainly better than any of the ones in Universal Solder: The Return. So sit back and try to learn a thing or two.
This is 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning…
1. The movie was done in 30 days, which is an incredibly fast schedule for a movie of this nature. Adkins had sneakily found out about the film and pushed to get the part. John Hyams and his production guys had really wanted to put an “actor” in the role and not a “fighter” but Adkins sold them on his ability to perform the role enough to secure the part.
2. The movie is continuously called “US4” throughout the special features. It apparently chooses to forget the two direct to video attempts at continuing the series after JCVD and Dolph had moved on from their roles. To be honest, most people have never seen those DTV flicks so it won’t surprise anyone.
3. The effects were a good mixture of practical and CGI. Many of the shooting would feature one practical squib and then a few CGI ones that viewers might not notice. The same was done for muzzle flashes as well.
4. The guy who fights Andrei Arlovski in the compound is none other than boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. John Hyams claims that he was afraid to offer the role to Roy as it was low pay and poor accommodations and he didn’t want to offend him. But despite those feelings, he says that Jones was an absolute joy to work with.
5. The first draft of the screenplay delivered by director John Hyams featured a protagonist with no lines. He was described as the “epitome of brawn”. From the sound of Dolph Lundgren’s reaction to the script, many of the cast were confused by the direction of the film before it was explored a little more heavily.
6. The movie was filmed in 3D so all of the fight scenes had to be tightened up a bit. No longer could they get away with actors “punching across the face” or missing kicks by two feet.
7. The car chase was described as much more of a “car fight” between Adkins and Arlovski. The end of the scene flows directly into the sporting goods store fight so it is essentially a continuation of the fight itself. The car scene was filmed over a two day span.
8. The final fight scene between Jean Claude and Scott Adkins was going to be a flashier and more high-flying scene but Adkins had torn his ACL and they didn’t want to lose him because the scene was filmed closer to the middle of the shooting schedule.
9. Jean Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren both return to their iconic roles but share no scenes together in this film. This was JCVD’s 4th time in the series and Dolph’s 3rd time.
10. This film is obviously much darker than any other film in the series. It has much more of an Apocalypse Now feel to it than one might expect from an action film. The series follows the character played by Jean Claude Van Damme for the entire franchise but even though he is only in a few minutes of this film you can still feel his presence. Especially on a second or third watch.