The action genre is currently in a state of emergency. Major studios now treat action as merely an ingredient in a “four-quadrant filmmaking” recipe. It’s become a small part of a larger whole, no longer worthy of its own filmic category. Gone are the simple plots and relatable protagonists of “golden era” classics like ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Lethal Weapon’. Likewise for set pieces that make any sort of visual sense. In recent years, the DTV format has become the last bastion of traditional action cinema. It’s also become a proving ground for untested talent.
Filmmaker John Hyams has chosen to ply his trade in the DTV arena. He offers a more classical approach, one grounded in the values of 70’s cinema. He’s revived the ‘Universal Soldier’ brand, turning in its two best entries to date: ‘Universal Soldier: Regeneration’ and ‘Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning.’ The latter turned a good many heads upon release. I proudly count myself among its admirers. Mr. Hyams recently shared the details of his creative process with me. His insights revealed him to be a true renaissance man.