Where was Universal Soldier filmed?
Mohave County, Arizona; Boulder City, Clark County, Nevada
American, NatureScapes, Automotive, Retro, Buildings/Offices
Americana/Anywhere America, Bus, Classic Truck, Dated/50’s-60’s-70’s Building
About Universal Soldier
Universal Soldier is a sci-fi film that centers on two soldiers who kill each other in Vietnam at the end of the war. However, they were reanimated years later as super soldiers with extraordinary strength and self-healing abilities, along with other soldiers who died on the battlefield.
If you want to know more about this action-packed, thrilling science fiction movie, this guide is for you! We’ve also included some interesting scenes (spoiler alert!) and Universal Soldier locations worth exploring for movie fans and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
This classic 1992 action/sci-fi movie was directed by Roland Emmerich, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme as Luc Deveraux and Dolph Lundgren as Andrew Scott. But when they were brought back to life as genetically enhanced soldiers known as UniSols, they became Universal Soldiers GR44 and GR13, respectively. They are designed as an elite team of superhuman warriors through a top-secret military experiment.
Cryogenically preserved and genetically modified to become the perfect soldiers, they are now unstoppable killing machines programmed to obey. They are without a memory of their past and devoid of emotions or free will. However, none of them see the possibility of one of them having flashbacks of his previous life.
After one of their missions to rescue hostages from terrorists, Deveraux begins regaining pieces of his memory. It is triggered when he sees two of the hostages that look like the villagers he tried to save from Scott, who had gone murderously insane, back in Vietnam.
While sneaking onto the base to investigate the UniSol project, a journalist Veronica Roberts (Alley Walker), is caught with her cameraman, who Scott mercilessly executes. But when Scott is about to shoot Veronica, Luc intervenes, and they escape in a vehicle. With Luc and Veronica fleeing from the UniSols, Scott is determined to track them down with whatever means possible.
Universal Soldier Locations
The Universal Soldiers movie opens in 1969 in Vietnam, when the soldiers are dispatched during the war. However, though incredibly realistic, none of the scenes were actually filmed in this Southeast Asian country.
Instead, the filmmakers filmed at a golf course in Kingman, Arizona, to serve as the Vietnam setting. They simply added fake jungle foliage to the Universal Soldier film set to create the backdrop they needed for the scenes.
Principal photography began in August 1991 in Arizona, which was one of the primary filming locations of Universal Soldier. It was also filmed on location in Cottonwood, Ash Fork, and Prescott, a city in central Arizona, as well as in the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead in Boulder City, Nevada.
One of the iconic film shoot locations you might find familiar as you watch the movie is the Grand Canyon West, featured in one of the legendary Universal Soldier action scenes. It is now home to the world-famous Skywalk, located on the Hualapai Reservation at the Canyon’s West Rim. It is perfect for adventure seekers and nature lovers, providing a spectacular view of the Canyon and exciting experiences on Hualapai Tribal land.
Fun fact: .
Some officers from the Kingman Police Department also play a part in the movie. They played as background actors or extras for the scene where Veronica and Luc are surrounded by the police
The rappelling scene in Universal Soldier
Hoover Dam, Nevada
Police agencies are ordered not to make an attempt to rescue the hostages or intervene as a team of UniSols is deployed to resolve the hostage situation. When the police officers see uniformed men running down the building without effort and using nothing but a rope and body strength, they can’t help but wonder who these guys are!
If the setting of this scene looks familiar to you, that’s because it’s the Hoover Dam, one of the tallest in the world. It’s as tall as a sixty-story building and was the world’s highest dam during its completion in 1935. It has a thick base and can handle the water volume that flows over the world-renowned Niagara Falls.
Visitors are welcome to explore the iconic Hoover Dam. In fact, it attracts nearly one million visitors each year. You can go on a self-guided tour or a guided dam tour. It allows you to visit the historic tunnels, admire the Colorado River through the inspection ventilation shaft, and more.
The dam is open to the public every day from 5 AM to 9 PM. There’s no public transit that goes directly to Hoover Dam, so you have to drive or use the rideshare service, which can cost about $60, depending on the time of the day.
The prison bus chase scene in Universal Soldier
Grand Canyon West, Peach Springs, Arizona
One of the gripping battles between Scott and Luc starts during a chase scene in the film. Luc and Veronica are caught and arrested by the police. But the police convoy is ambushed on the way to jail by GR76 (Ralf Moeller) and Scott.
“Got you now, boy,” Scott says. The prison bus, now with a dead driver, gears off the road, still chased by the massive UniSol truck driven by GR76 while Scott continues to fire at them. Later, Luc pushes Veronica off the bus to save her. The chase continues, ending with the truck and police bus driving off the cliff and exploding, killing GR76.
Look closely at the scene where the bus is pushed over the Canyon, and you’ll catch a glimpse of the Eagle Point at Grand Canyon West. Located on the Hualapai Reservation, the Grand Canyon West provided a setting for this scene, which is open for visitors today.
Several adventures await you at the site, including spectacular views of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world on Skywalk. You can’t see this ten-foot wide, horseshow-shaped glass bridge in the film because construction didn’t start until 2003. It opened in 2007 and is now one of the major attractions in the area.
You’ll have to go by car if you want to experience thrilling adventures at Grand Canyon West. Alternatively, you can join a tour that will take you there and to the Hualapai Tribal Lands. You’ll be picked up from your hotel in Las Vegas and transported back there for approximately 12.5 hours.
The explosion scene in Universal Soldier
Cool Springs, Route 66, Golden Valley, Arizona
After destroying the motel where Luc and Veronica are staying, the UniSols head to a gas station where the couple flees. But unbeknown to them, the duo set a trap in the place.
When two UniSols are inside, Garth (Tico Wells) realizes it’s a trick, yelling, “No, no! He tricked us!” He commands everyone to retreat and take cover. But it doesn’t take long for the entire place to explode, causing several soldiers to be caught on fire.
This scene is the second time that Cool Springs service station has become ruins once again. Established in the mid-1920s, Cool Springs was a booming camp and service station and an essential stop for motorists traveling from the historic Route 66. It represented a lifesaving stop for travelers looking for a place to gas up, check for oil and water, or grab something to eat in the middle of a remote area.
With the new roads built decades later that bypassed this part of Route 66, the place quickly became a ghost town. Then in the mid-60s, a massive fire burned Cool Springs, turning it into a crumbling stone relic until it came to life when Universal Soldier used it as a film location.
Today, Cool Springs station is a functioning gift shop that opened in 2005. It offers souvenirs and memorabilia. It looks like a gas station outside but only sells gift items and snacks. No public transit will take you directly to Cool Springs station, so you’ll have to bring your car or rent one to get there.
If there’s a movie you’re sure to enjoy doing a film tour, it would be the 1992 Universal Soldier film. It will take you to scenic natural attractions like the Grand Canyon West and provide exhilarating experiences, such as tours, nature walks, sightseeing, and more.
Since the Universal Soldier production took place in the beautiful state of Arizona, expect to see remarkable landscapes and diverse and vast geography. From numerous rock formations to deep canyons and desserts, there are numerous things to see and explore in Arizona, some of which are featured in this sci-fi movie.
The filming started in August in Arizona and Nevada, specifically at Hoover Dam, covering the Arizona-Nevada border approximately thirty miles southeast of Las Vegas. Some scenes were also shot in several small cities, including Ash Fork, Cottonwood, Kingman, Oatman, and more.