Universal Soldier

Bomb Rating: 

Obviously, no filmmaker in his or her right mind would attempt a sequel to "Universal Soldier" minus the film's primary acting talent. Thus we can conclude that everybody associated with "Universal Soldier: The Return" is not in his or her right mind. And when I use the phrase "primary acting talent," I am of course talking about Dolph Lundgren. It's sort of like making a sequel to "Hackers" without Fisher Stevens. Is your screen wet yet with my dripping sarcasm?

"Universal Soldier: The Return" is one of those scripts likely written in large block letters, and in crayon or magic marker. In it, characters like Erin (Heidi Schanz), whom the production notes describe as "an assertive, witty and tough-as-nails reporter" say things like "I'm a reporter. I'm not getting killed until I get my story." The computer named SETH (Michael Jai White) who controls the new breed of super soldier, says things like "When I was a machine, I wanted to be a man." The generals and other people who are trying to stop SETH have conversations like this:

General: "Can't we shut off the power?" Technician: (whimpering) "No. It won't let us."

This is one of those episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" in which Data is taken over by alien forces and threatens the Enterprise. Where is the group of heroin-addicted engineers who are designing all this faulty crap? How about a remote-controlled "Off" switch? I also like the fact that SETH is this brilliant artificial intelligence whose epiphanies are statements like "Fear and mortality will be their weakness." Really? You mean it's not going to be their strength? Naturally, SETH commits the fatal bad guy flaw: He allows that one guy (Jean-Claude Van Damme) with the ability to ruin his buzz to run around his secure facility unchallenged. Oh, I forgot, WCW's Goldberg is there to stop him. I take that dynamite back.

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