Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning Movie Poster Image
Strange but interesting action sequel is ultra violent.
  • R
  • 2012
  • 114 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie suggests that a man will go much farther in order to fight for his family than he will to fight for his country. But this message is delivered in a very cynical fashion, and it all really boils down to revenge.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Aside from skilled martial arts fighting at its best, the characters have nothing to offer. They're all stoic, emotionless, and mysterious. And as the hero uncovers more information, he doesn't learn any lessons or grow or change; he only gets angrier.


Extremely strong martial arts violence. Lots of fighting (hand-to-hand, as well as with baseball bats and machetes), and the main character's wife is shot in the head; his daughter is shot as well, but the scene cuts just before anything is shown. Other brief instances of violence against women. Lots of blood: smeared, dribbling, and spraying. Viewers see a mangled corpse, and toes and fingers are chopped off during fights. A woman pounds a nail into a man's hand. There are guns and shooting; an elderly woman is shot and killed, and a man's head is blown off.


A man and a woman (both minor characters) are shown having graphic sex in an adult club. Full-frontal nudity is almost shown, but it's mostly obscured by shadows and the scene's quick action. Many topless women are shown at the same club. Glimpses of porn video boxes, and, in the club's bathroom, viewers see adult pictures and innuendo scrawled on all the walls. The main character is shown sleeping in the same bed with the female lead, but only sleeping.


Language is strong but not constant and includes several uses of "f--k," plus "t-ts," "f----t," and "piss," as well as "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In a few scenes, super soldiers are shown gulping down bottles of whisky, though it doesn't appear to affect them at all. The female lead is shown smoking two or three cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning is the fourth in the Universal Soldier sci-fi action movie series. Violence is extremely strong and over the top, with lots of dripping, spraying, and smeared blood, dead bodies, severed body parts, guns and shooting, and fighting (hand-to-hand, as well as with baseball bats and machetes). Several topless women and a graphic sex act are shown in an adult club. Language includes more than a dozen uses of "f--k," and super soldiers are seen gulping down bottles of whisky. Many fans of the franchise will be disappointed that stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren only have small roles this time around and that the movie is far stranger and moodier than most action movies of its type, but it may appeal to more adventurous moviegoers.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySam M. November 2, 2017

Suprising Noir revamp of a 90s B movie

Not an excellent movie for sure. The characters story arent at all new or very deep especially if one is into sci fi and video games. Yet we still get a genuine... Continue reading
Adult Written bySeanT726 June 27, 2016

Absolutely incredible movie, but NOT FOR CHILDREN, PERIOD.

This is one of the most brutally violent action movies I have ever seen, with disturbing themes (it's not every day that the premise of a movie genuinely g... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bymovie loving teen December 10, 2012

A good ultraviolent movie that makes scott adkins a star.

I must say I enjoyed this movie becase it had a very fair amout of good action and beilieve it or not good acting. How ever it does have a fair amount of adult... Continue reading

What's the story?

John (Scott Adkins) wakes in the night to find masked intruders in his home. They kill his wife and daughter, and the leader reveals himself as super soldier Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme). Months later, John comes out of a coma, with his memory fuzzy. He tries to find Deveraux and to figure out what's going on. He meets a mysterious, beautiful woman, Sarah (Mariah Bonner), and keeps encountering a vicious, bearded plumber who tries to kill him. Meanwhile, bad guy Andrew Scott (Dolph Lundgren) appears to be training a new army of unisols. By the time John reaches the final showdown, he'll have discovered some disturbing truths about his past.

Is it any good?

Director John Hyams (son of veteran director Peter) turns in a most peculiar and welcome sequel to the aging UNIVERSAL SOLDIER sci-fi/action franchise. It's as if David Lynch collided with a truckload of martial artists and brawlers, and the resulting explosion created this strange, moody universe, full of odd sound cues; shocking, dreamlike imagery; and less flashy, more vivid fight scenes.

Many longtime fans of the franchise will be disappointed -- and perhaps tune out -- when they realize that Van Damme and Lundgren hardly appear in Day of Reckoning (and never together), but star Adkins makes up for that lack, and the film's surprising and unusual style helps as well. Unlike most action movies, the fight scenes are long, wide, and clear, and every move registers. One climactic fight scene in particular is filmed in a single, long, traveling take. For all audiences that appreciate "something different," here's hoping Hyams continues to provide it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning's violence. Is it meant to be thrilling, shocking, or both? What impact does it have, and how did the filmmakers achieve this?

  • Are martial artists role models for kids or teens? Does it matter what kind of character they're playing?

  • What is the movie's stance on revenge? Do you agree with it? Can you think of other movies that have dealt with that subject?

  • What's the appeal of this long-running sci-fi movie series about artificial super soldiers?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

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Themes & Topics

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