Universal Soldier: The Return (1999) starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Michael Jai White, Heidi Schanz, Xander Berkeley, Justin Lazard, Kiana Tom, Daniel von Bargen, James Black directed by Mic Rodgers Movie Review

Universal Soldier: The Return (1999)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jean-Claude Van Damme and Kiana Tom in Universal Soldier: The Return (1999)

Van Damme Does the Terminator

Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme - The Quest) the remaining UNISOL now helps the agency in the development of new UNISOLS and a super computer which goes by the name of SETH to control them. The trouble starts when the Government terminates the project and SETH takes matters in to his own hands by transferring himself into the system of one of the UNISOLS. This puts Luc and his daughter Hillary (Karis Paige Bryant) in danger as he is the only one with the knowledge of how to destroy SETH.

It takes "Universal Soldier: The Return" less than a minute to lay its cards on the table with an opening scene which features an over the top boat chase sequence as Luc and his partner Maggie are hunted down by a bunch of muscle bound men. Now the scene has a purpose, it establishes that these muscle bound men who wear skin tight black outfits are a new model of UNISOL and that Luc now works for a scientist who is developing them. But it is so over the top as Luc and Maggie jump from one speeding boat to another that you know what is to follow is going to be just as over the top.

Heidi Schanz in Universal Soldier: The Return (1999)

But in truth does anyone watch a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie expecting anything but action often of the over the top variety and as such "Universal Soldier: The Return" delivers what you expect. That means some slim story development in between the action and zero character development. The fact the storyline this time is even more hokum than the first time with an intelligent computer system on the rampage adds to the enjoyment in a tacky way.

What it also means is that "Universal Soldier: The Return" features less that brilliant acting which is made to seem worse by some clunky editing which makes the actors appear even more wooden. But again it is what you expect and watching the muscular Bill Goldberg as UNISOL Romeo stomp terminator like through a plant room is entertaining. Yes I did mention Terminator and "Universal Soldier: The Return" is a movie with many similarities with in this case Van Damme playing the good guy in a typical 90s Van Damme sort of way.

What this all boils down to is that if you enjoyed the original "Universal Soldier" movie you will probably enjoy "Universal Soldier: The Return" as well. But it is typical of Van Damme of the late 90s and is a stupidly over the top movie which borders on being entertaining for being bad.