Along came Universal Soldier, an action movie with a budget and buckets of blood, providing me with an 18 certificate movie which I was finally old enough to see at the cinema, as well as featuring sci-fi elements and two of my favourite action heroes. It's actually very difficult to express how much that all meant, but growing up with the Lethal Weapons, Predators and Terminators on video, unable to see them at the flicks, then finally being able to pass for 18 only to find that all the films being released in the early to mid-90s seemed to soften, even if they were part of a franchise, was terribly disappointing (one reason to be grateful for Alien 3 ).
McTiernan and his crew, perhaps gritting their teeth by this point, decided to put Van Damme in the suit and see how it all looked on camera. Production photos show Jean-Claude being helped into his predator costume, its ungainly rubber shoulders slumping. In one picture, we see McTiernan pulling on one of the predator's red rubber arms with its pointy claws, smiling wanly. In another, the most amusing of the lot, Van Damme sits next to actor Carl Weathers. Weathers has on a prosthetic stump - required for the scene where his character has his arm violently blown off - and he's looking at Van Damme with an unreadable expression. Van Damme is staring at the horizon, apparently with a mixture of exhaustion and sheer disbelief.