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2 items from 2014

The birth, death and regeneration of the Universal Soldier movies

20 August 2014 4:10 AM, PDT | Den of Geek | See recent Den of Geek news »

Universal Soldier began in 1992 before suffering from some tawdry sequels. Then John Hyams revived the franchise in spectacular fashion...

The Universal Soldier films are a strange case of life imitating art. Much like how series protagonist Luc Deveraux is killed in action then resurrected into something post-human, Universal was a pretty standard 90s action film which crashed and burned when it came to sequels, but became something unique and beautiful when it was reanimated for the straight to DVD market.

It’s a hushed secret among genre fans, but Universal Solder 3 and 4 (or possibly 5 and 6, it’s complicated) are some of the most remarkable action sci-fi films of the 21st century so far. Yes, really. I actually watched the series backwards when I first saw them, after being blown away by Universal Solder Day Of Reckoning and deciding to work my way back, and Roland Emmerich’s perfectly acceptable 1992 blockbuster »

- ryanlambie

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How Jean-Claude Van Damme's Ego Allegedly Almost Killed Manu Bennett's Career

5 May 2014 10:53 AM, PDT | | See recent Cinema Blend news »

More than a decade ago, director John Hyams made a documentary about Mixed Martial Arts star Mark Kerr entitled The Smashing Machine. It was purchased by HBO and got wonderful reviews. A few years later, the material was re-written as a biopic, and Jean-Claude Van Damme was hired to play the lead. Then, just days before filming was to begin, the production was abruptly cancelled. At the time, the actor claimed he nixed the project because of creative differences, but if the dude who played Crixus on Spartacus is to be believed, that.s not what happened at all. Back in 2007, Manu Bennett was a completely unknown actor taking auditions in an attempt to catch a big break. He met with producers of The Smashing Machine, and they hired him to play a lead character who battled steroid problems. Not wanting to let anyone down, he decide to jump in »

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