Universal Soldier: The Return (1999)
Critic Consensus: Universal Soldier - The Return fails on almost every level, from its generic story to its second rate action and subpar performances.
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Critic Reviews for Universal Soldier: The Return
You, dear moviegoer, must not buy a ticket to this badly programed sequel. You must save the world from Universal Soldier III: How Bad Can It Get?
If Universal Soldier: The Return isn't the dullest, most derivative, unimaginative, noisy, repetitive, mind-numbing and generally imbecilic movie of the year, it's not because director Mic Rodgers wasn't trying hard enough.
For the record, this is the fourth Universal Soldier movie if you count two cable sequels, but why would you?
It's actually the fourth entry in the series, after a couple of straight-to-cable sequels. That's a lot of pulp to squeeze out of a concept that was fairly juiceless to begin with.
An underwhelming follow-up to one of the career-stalled action star's better efforts.
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Audience Reviews for Universal Soldier: The Return
Sequel to Universal Soldier brings mindless action to a new level. However does it pay off? Well let me start by saying that the original film, although not the best action film, it certainly wasn't the worst either. But this film lacks anything that made the first one worth seeing. This is a mediocre action flick that has poor acting, a poor plot and sloppily thought out action scenes that simply fail to thrill. Universal Soldier: The Return feels lazy and it is clear that the filmmakers didn't care about creating something as exciting as the first. Universal Soldier was thrilling, fun and mindless popcorn action that worked because of an interesting idea. However this sequel tries too hard at bringing more depth to the UniSol franchise and it just doesn't succeed because the script is too sloppy and is limited to paper thin ideas that simply don't take off. Also one of the big problems with this sequel is that they tried to give Van Damme's character too much personality, and the result is not impressive, and leaves a lot to be desired. There is not much to offer fans of the first, and a few ideas were recycled from the previous one. This is a lacking film that just fails in terms of an effective and memorable action film. The script is laughable and the acting is wooden, with no standout performances. Even in terms of a mindless action yarn, Universal Soldier The Return just doesn't cut it. I much more enjoyed the first film, even with all its flaws, it was fun and engaging to watch, however this sequel is void of great action and interesting plot.
Despite being a direct sequel to the original 92 hit this film has since become defunct and ignored within the UniSol franchise. That is of course on top of the two made for TV films which are also ignored, so really the UniSol franchise is a bit of a mess. You can see why this film was not a hit upon release and since ignored. The whole look of the film is not much better than the previous made for TV films. Everything is set within your standard cliched generic military base/weapons experimentation type facility, it all looks very dull, very grey and with plenty of glass and computer monitors to shoot up hehe. The plot about the master computer brain taking over the UniSol project it looks after and basically setting all the UniSols free is basic but reasonable. This equal lots of faceless military types getting shot to pieces every 5min and plenty of 'Terminator' style posturing from the UniSols. The saving grace being the fight between JCVD and White, White being one of the best visual fighters in the biz. Unfortunately Goldberg doesn't quite get the true fight he deserves and merely lurches around as comical relief half the time, if you can call it that. The whole film feels very watered down and not really in the same adult vain as the original film. There is even a 'Hal' moment in the film clearly ripped from '2001', its like they are trying too hard with the material. End of the day this film hasn't broken away from the 'made for TV' look n feel of the previous two efforts.
"Universal Soldier: The Return" isn't what you think it might be if you saw the original Universal Soldier movie that starred Van Damme. Jean-Claude Van Damme is not one of the universal soldiers in this movie, he's a human going up against many evil universal soldiers including wrestling star, Goldberg, and Seth (martial artist, Michael Jai White). "Universal Soldier: The Return" isn't really a good movie, but it does have a lot of good special effects, and fighting sequences. The first 50 minutes of the movie isn't that great, but the last 40 minutes of the movie is some of the best action and fighting sequences I've seen in awhile. If you like Van Damme movies or movies with some good action, I recommend seeing "Universal Soldier: The Return." NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2000. 40 minutes of great action, otherwise, eh.
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