Universal Soldier: The Return

Plenty of bone-crunching brawn, but not a brain cell in sight. Long after those battlefield casualties-turned-cyberwarriors known as UNISOLs first raised hell in UNIVERSAL SOLDIER, they're still being trained at a top-secret military weapons facility under the guidance of a HAL-like super-computer named Seth. But due to a cut-back in defense spending and...read more

Reviewed by Ken Fox
Rating:

Plenty of bone-crunching brawn, but not a brain cell in sight. Long after those battlefield casualties-turned-cyberwarriors known as UNISOLs first raised hell in UNIVERSAL SOLDIER, they're still being trained at a top-secret military weapons facility

under the guidance of a HAL-like super-computer named Seth. But due to a cut-back in defense spending and bad PR, the military wants to shut down the entire project, Seth included. It isn't going to be easy: Seth is an evolving organic intelligence designed to protect its own existence, and it

commands the UNISOLs to seize the facility and eliminate all "biological threats," i.e. the warm-blooded humans. To the rescue comes good-guy Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), a former UNISOL with the good fortune to have been returned to his mortal self. Luc goes head-to-head with the rogue

UNISOLs (including Romeo, a bull-necked baddie played by WCW star Bill Goldberg) and -- after he's been downloaded into the buff bod of Michael Jai White -- Seth himself. With flicks like FACE/OFF and THE MATRIX pointing the way to a more intelligent future for the moribund action genre, there's

no excuse for crap like this, aside from juicing more dollars out a hit movie that's already eight years old. With a sorry excuse for a plot stringing together unimaginatively staged shoot-'em-ups and ho-hum explosions, the film relies entirely on its predecessor for inspiration, right down to

throwing Luc together with a spunky TV reporter (Heidi Schanz). The only glimmer of ingenuity comes when the film's writers -- and it took two of them -- conceive of a way to shift the action from a military compound laden with biological weapons and dangerous explosives to a sleazy strip-club.

Way to go, guys.

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