For a while now, I’ve been banging on about how great Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning is. I’m not going to re-review the movie here, but feel free to listen to our audio HJ to the film (contains spoilers) if you haven’t already. If you don’t feel like listening to two men gush about a movie for longer than its running time, I’ll just present you with this.
If neither of those things worked for you, well, please email the show, and explain why you hate movies so much.
Hopefully, in a just and righeous future, people will hold Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning in the same regard as action masterpieces like John Woo’s The Killer and Paul Verhooven’s hyper-violent Christ allegory featuring a beplasticed Bucakroo Bonzai and Eric Foreman’s Dad
That’s what I hope.
Unfortunately, the world is not always a fair place. Which explains why the showing of Fury Road I saw was the second half of a drive-in double feature. The first half?
Besides the arbitrary whims of an inequitable universe, there’s a couple of other things working against US:DOR achieving Robocop status, even though they’re both beautifully shot movies that maximize every dollar of a limited budget and have a lot more on their minds than the titles would lead you to believe.
The first thing is something that I’m planning to do a whole article on, so I’ll be brief here. At some point, in our collective consciousness, we decided that action movies were something to be regarded seperate from the rest of “film.” It seems to be getting a little better in the last couple years, but action still seems to have a lingering stank on it, and it’s the only genre of art I can think of that consistently gets compliments with the word “dumb” in them.
The other problem: the nearly by-the-minute release of direct-to-video genre movies flooding the streaming services. Now, US: DOR did get a limited theatrical release, for all intentes and purposes, it was a DTV flick. If you ever want to waste a whole bunch of time, just scroll through Netflix and look at all of the shitty box art of movies with words like “strike” and “force” and “justice.” Most of which star a bloated, leathery Steven Segal casually firing a machine gun, all of which are directed by Keoni Waxman.
The U.S. cover art for US:DOR unfortunately checks all the boxes on the skippable dtv action list. Aging action stars? Check. Casual gunnery? You bet your sweet ass. Simultaneously grim and goofy title? Well…
But, don’t worry. There’s something we can all do about the second part, something that Robocop and The Killer both have, and DOR deserves, because John Hyams is an incredible director, one of the best working in America today. We just have to get DOR a box like this:
We have to get Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning into the Criterion Collection.
Criterion is a name that gives a movie package instant credibility with most of the film community (whether that means the movie is good is totally debatable), in the same way that the Nike logo does for a shoe box, or BMW does for a car. They’re selected, curated, and distributed by he Criterion company; usually with a fantastic transfer and packed to the motherfucking gills with extras. If you’re a film geek, and I’m sure a lot of you are; you want to buy the Criterion version of your favorite flick, whether it’s one of the Zaitoichi movies, Stranger than Paradise, Hoop Dreams, or even
Criterion claims to sell “important classic and contemporary (like a gorgeous Phillip K Dick-esque, martial-arts action sci-fi thriller with a dash of apocalypse now) films” to film aficionados (that’s us.) So, let’s let Criterion know what we want. I’m don’t think I’m being presumptuous, if you see this movie, you will want this. I could go on about the photography, the incredible fight coreography, the intense, minimalist performances, the horror movie aesthetic, but really, just watch it for yourself. Then, after you recover from your balls or labia(s?) being blown off, please help get this movie to Criterion. You can tweet them with the hashtag #DORCriterion, or, email them in beautiful, flowing prose, kindly suggesting they add this new action masterpiece to their collection.