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Movie Reviews

Universal Soldier : The Return  

Luc Devreaux (Jean-Claude Van Damme)
Seth (Michael Jai White)
Erin (Heidi Schanz)
Romeo (Bill Goldberg)
Dylan (Xander Berkeley)
Maggie (Kiana Tom)

Directed by Mic Rodgers Written by William Malone and John Fasand
Rated R for graphic violence, language, intense action sequences, and nudity Running Time: 89 minutes Distributed by Sony

Universal Soldier: The Return is a weak action film that has many corny moments. The film is a sequel to the 1992 action hit Universal Soldier in which Luc Devreaux (Van Damme) has survived and recovered from the experiences as a universal soldier. Universal soldiers are genetically enhanced killing machines that are financed by the government. Luc now works for the government as a training expert on a project to improve the universal soldiers. The computer that controls the soldiers, S. E. T. H. (White), learns that the government has decided to shut down the program. This governmental decision leads S. E. T. H to go haywire and ordering the soldiers on a mission to take over the world. Now Luc is the only one who can defeat the elite universal soldiers and save the world.

Universal Soldier: The Return is similar to those terrible action movies that are sent straight to video. Examples are all the ones that star either Brian Bosworth or Lorenzo Llamas. The first Universal Soldier film was not near as bad as this one; in fact, I found the first one to be an o.k. movie. It just seemed that this sequel was just thrown together at the last moment because there is absolutely no consistency or sequencing in the film.

The script contains desperate cheesy elements and bad dialogue. An example of one the bad elements is S. E. T. H., the supercomputer that controls the soldiers. S. E. T. H. is a huge glass ball on the wall that turns different colors to show its emotions. When S. E. T. H. finds a human body and switches into it thorough the computer, it's just dumb. The dialogue is very bland, and the lines in the film are so awful that I was laughing at almost each one said by the hero Luc.

The acting in Universal Soldier: The Return is also bad. However, you don’t have great acting for action film to work, but too many other weak areas hurt this film. Professional wrestler Bill Goldberg did make his on-screen debut in Universal Soldier: The Return. Goldberg played a hot-tempered universal soldier named Romeo. I don't like the concept of athletes trying to act, because they usually can't. Goldberg's name can be added to the long list of wanna-be actor-athletes that have failed, including Shaquille O'Neal, Howie Long, and a name I mentioned earlier, Brian Bosworth.

I don't like action films that don't have a real purpose besides violence and explosions. I also do not care too much for Van Damme movies. I did enjoy some of his earlier work like Bloodsport, Death Warrant, and the original Universal Soldier. However, Van Damme has not delivered a good movie in years. I do believe that if you are a visual action movie fan and Van Damme fan that you might enjoy this film. I just thought that this movie was corny, but it will probably please audiences that like the medium and content that Universal Soldier: The Return falls under.

Report Card Grade: D-

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