The idea for this movie kind of went off the rails since despite being perfect for the 90s, which it was, the sequels that came after were, well, not exactly quite as easy to accept. But when the initial movie came out the idea was actually pretty cool even if it would be an abhorrent way to utilize soldiers that had already done their duty for their country. The whole idea of the Unisol (Universal Soldier) program was to take veterans that been cryogenically preserved and put them to use once again as a specialized anti-terrorist organization that used human beings in a capacity that made them little more than tools to be used over and over by utilizing technology that could make them more efficient, more obedient, and even more durable. It also gave them what amounts to a healing factor, even if it came at a fairly high price. Their bodies would actually begin to heat up, almost like an engine overheating, and they would need to be cooled down every now and again in order to keep them functioning.
Luc Devereaux, who was played by Jean Claude Van Damme in the majority of the movies, was one of the first inductees into the Unisol program along with his commanding officer, Andrew Scott, who was played by Dolph Lundgren. The first movie showed Luc and Scott in Vietnam, where Scott went berserk and started killing his own men as well as a group of villagers after suffering a psychotic break. When Luc tried to talk him down, Scott accused him of being a traitor and ordered him to kill a pair of villagers that he’d bound and forced to kneel on the ground. When Luc refused, Scott shot one of them, forcing Luc’s hand as he attacked Scott and told the remaining villager to run. After Scott tossed a grenade that killed the final villager, he and Luc ended up shooting one another to death. Their bodies were packed in ice soon after, and that’s where the story enters the modern era of the time.
Being that this was an action movie and that it was JCVD and Lundgren, it’s fair to say that a lot of people didn’t take the dramatic part of it that seriously since they were more interested in seeing the fight scenes and watching a government conspiracy being blown up as Luc and reporter Veronica Roberts, played by Ally Walker, expose the Unisol program after Veronica obtained pictures of one of the Unisols after he’d been packed in ice and the opening mission had been reported to have been without casualties. Of course, when a man that’s filled bullet holes opens his eyes and starts to lift himself up it was bound to freak just about anyone out, and when Luc starts to remember his life before the Unisol program, in fits and starts, complications began to build as Scott started to remember as well. By the time Scott comes to realize who he is and what his own personal mission is, there’s no going back as he shoots his own commanding officer in the eye and takes control of the other Unisols.
This movie has been given a few sequels and to their credit, they all have a good deal of action, but the storyline, despite being more or less the same in every movie with notable changes, does get lost after a while. Rebooting this movie does feel like it could bring it back to square one and even spread it out a bit in order to see what might happen if other countries managed to get in on the technology and use it for their own ends. Imagine that for a moment as the most affluent countries started using the technology for their own Unisol groups, and then decided to use them for one purpose or another in order to show their strength. it does feel as though a lot of countries might find that advantageous, but it wouldn’t be any less wrong for the simple fact that not only are they using human beings as weapons, but they’re using them against their will. That would cause a great deal of drama to come out in the movie no doubt, and the technology that would be used for a reboot would likely be updated in a big way as well.
The potential for a great movie is still there with this idea if it gets a little darker and a lot more serious since there was still a lack of a deeper, darker undercurrent in the first movie, and by the time those darker undercurrents did come up, they were ineffective since a lot of people had moved on. Bringing back Lundgren and JCVD for a reboot should be possible, but in a much different capacity since younger, up-and-coming stars would be preferable for the lead roles.