Universal Soldier: The Return Movie Review

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.

Return is the story of SETH, the uncontrollable mainframe computer, who has ordered the practically invincible UNISOL soldiers on a wild killing spree. Can Jean-Claude stop them? You'll have to rent it to find out for yourself, but I'll tell you that Jean-Claude only does his famous reverse aerial roundhouse kick to the face once.

If you're looking for a few cool fight scenes or some cheeseball special effects for a mind numbing evening then check it out. Otherwise, you'd be better off with some of JC's other combat movies like Kickboxer or Blood Sport.


Universal Soldier: The Return Rating

" Grim "

Rating: R, 1999


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