Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning
By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Strange but interesting action sequel is ultra violent.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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.
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Based on 3 parent reviews
Suprising Noir revamp of a 90s B movie
Report this review
Absolutely incredible movie, but NOT FOR CHILDREN, PERIOD.
Report this review
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?
- In theaters: November 30, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: January 22, 2013
- Cast: Dolph Lundgren, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott Adkins
- Director: John Hyams
- Studios: Magnet Releasing, Magnolia Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- Run time: 114 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: brutal bloody violence throughout, strong sexual content, graphic nudity, and language
- Last updated: April 5, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Best Action Movies for Kids
Martial Arts Movies for Kids
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate