Heidi Schanz

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Universal Soldier: The Return Review


Weak
Jean-Claude's best days are behind him. Way behind him. The former martial arts champion is now graying at the temples, and he still hasn't improved on his English accent. Of course, his acting skills -- in the traditional sense of dialogue and mannerisms -- have never given us sufficient reason to watch his movies, but when his physical capabilities start to deteriorate, you know he's in trouble.

So what do you do when your star loses his signature appeal? Universal Soldier: The Return attempts to turn him into a sort of James Bond, allowing him to rely on high tech stunts and clever intuition rather than pure power. The problem is that nobody wants Van Damme when we've already got Arnold, Pierce Brosnan, and even Sly Stallone as kings of the one-liner action flicks. So the formula is set: a limited budget, a fallible star, and Goldberg, the WCW wrestler, as your ominous villain. The result is a predictably lackluster flick.

Continue reading: Universal Soldier: The Return Review

Mixing Nia Review


Weak
Nia is a mixed-race ad executive who just can't come to grips with her life, particularly her place in the social strata of New York City. Ostinsibly, you are supposed to care about whether Nia chooses vegetarianism, or whether she chooses to segregate her books based on the color of the writer. Unfortunately, Nia is so plainly shallow, not to mention pretty stupid, that you will probably have little luck caring about her at all. A few funny moments redeem the picture from drecksville, but overall the movie is a throwaway.
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