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Universal Soldier: The Return

99 customer reviews

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(Dec 28, 1999)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), the heroic former Universal Soldier, is about to be thrown into action once again. With the Cold War over and defense budgets slashed, the entire Universal Soldier team is facing elimination, including SETH, the super-computer that controls the ultra-warriors. Knowing that his days are numbered, SETH decides to seek revenge by destroying his creators and implementing a reign of terror on the outside world. Morphing into human form as the quintessential Universal Soldier (Michael Jai White), SETH begins to unleash his wicked plan with the aid of his top soldier (Bill Goldberg). When conventional military strength fails to thwart his efforts, Luc must take charge. As Luc faces SETH and his team of unstoppable soldiers, a battle pitting man against machine and good against evil ensues, offering the kind of high-intensity sci-fi action you't soon forget.

Universal Soldier Luc Deveraux is back. Jean-Claude Van Damme gallantly attempts to resurrect interest in his tepid career with this action-riddled roller-coaster ride. Set in the not-too-distant future, Deveraux has been employed by the government to oversee the new UniSol project. What is UniSol? It's a military plan to turn dead soldiers into invincible fighting machines (see the first Univeral Soldier for more details). It's also the scheme that went horribly wrong when the soldiers turned psycho, killing the scientists who created them. Not deterred by this early setback, the government replicates the project. This time they figure that they can control the soldiers through a supercomputer called SETH (kind of like HAL in 2001, but smarter). But, as we all know, machines frequently break down. Pretty soon the computer comes to the conclusion that it's superior to humans and therefore it must destroy them. Uh oh.

Van Damme to the rescue. The muscles from Brussels heroically leap into action confronting the dangerous soldiers led by Bill (WCW) Goldberg and Michael Jai White (last seen in Spawn). The action is impressive and the stunts are engrossing. Goldberg is charismatic as the cartoonish villain who sneers and snouts while muttering macho things like, "I'm gonna kill that guy." Van Damme looks more at home in a production that he is not directing, and for once he lets his fists do the talking. Ironically, the movie is missing the gloss and big-budget pathos of its predecessor (created by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich), making the original decidedly better. --Jeremy Storey

Special Features

  • A Universal Soldier's Workout featurette with Michael Jai White
  • Looking Back, Moving Forward featurette with Jean-Claude Van Damme
  • Making-of featurette

Product Details

  • Actors: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Daniel Von Bargen, Michael White, Karis Paige Bryant
  • Directors: Mic Rogers, Mic Rodgers
  • Producers: Craig Baumgarten
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 28, 1999
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000022TSJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,819 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Universal Soldier: The Return" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jason VINE VOICE on May 31, 2009
Format: DVD
The Jean Claude Van Damme Review Matrix (JCVD-RM)

1. Who is he? Luc Devereaux, the only remaining Universal Soldier (UNISOL) from the first experiment. He now serves as technical expert to UNISOL 2500, the second generation, which has resulted in a stronger, faster, more deadly warrior.
2. Which family member/friend must be avenged? Not only does Dr. Dylan Cotner (Xander Berkeley) - the lead project scientist - get fried, but his daughter also falls into danger.
3. Does he take his shirt off? No, but Romeo (professional wrestler Bill Goldberg), the alpha male of all the UNISOLs, is constantly shirtless.
4. Does he have sex with a C-List actress? I hoped that there'd be copulation with his partner Maggie (Kiana Tom), but sad disappointment hit me when the credits rolled.
5. Is there a tournament? No structured tournament.
6. Is training needed for this tournament? As a regeneration from the first experiment, JCVD has all the training he needs
7. Does he do the splits in training or in the tournament? The splits are in full force when JCVD delivers a sack-stretching spin kick to SETH (Michael Jai White) - Self-Evolving Thought Helix - the advanced computer system controlling the new genetically enhanced soldiers that implanted its programming and consciousness into human form.
8. Does he punch someone in the balls? Since the UNISOLs don't feel pain, but need to breathe, the throat-shot replaces the groin-shot in this one.
9. Does he do a series of flying or 360 kicks? OMG! I'm dizzy!
10. Is his enemy unbeatable? SETH isn't quite SkyNet, and the UNISOLs aren't quite Terminators; so, JCVD has a manageable, yet difficult foe.
11. Does he overcome an injury or other hindrance?
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 1999
Format: DVD
there was a short recall of some scenes from the original universal soldier movie to connect to this sequel, but not enough background on the events that led to luc devereaux's wedding and becoming a father. i think the newsreporter's character was a waste of time in this movie since all she did was get in the way. the action was not lacking in this film though it could have used more of the humor from the original movie. i guess i expected a continuation of the original characters as the made for tv movies (universal soldier II & III) did.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Coffee Addicted Writer (Billy) TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 29, 2012
Format: DVD
Universal Soldier: The Return is set several years after the events that occurred in the first film. Luc Devereaux (played by Jean-Claude Van Damme) is no longer a Universal Soldier, but he does run the new advanced program for the government. The new soldiers are stronger and faster. They are controlled by an advanced computer program called S.E.T.H. When the government wants to shutdown the program, S.E.T.H. takes control of building and the soldiers. Luc Devereaux is the only one that can shut down the program, but S.E.T.H. is one step ahead of Luc, as the UniSol Romeo (played by Bill Goldberg) kidnaps Luc's 13-year-old daughter Hillary.

The Universal Solider franchise is hard to follow as The Return ignores the two previous made-for-TV sequels and The Return is ignored by the two newest sequels, Regeneration and Day of Reckoning. The Return's plot is really thin. I'm not for sure why the producers wanted to change the tone and ignore a few facts from the first movie. The acting and dialogue is B-movie quality, but the movie does have some great action scenes, starting with the boat chase in the opening and ending with Van Dame fighting Goldberg. In the end, the movie isn't great, but the action is fun to watch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Seahorn on February 23, 2009
Format: DVD
Usually, the fall of an action hero has nothing to do with the quality of his work...but in the case of Jean-Claude Van Damme, you can argue it both ways: while the man certainly still had a lot of fuel in his tank, "Universal Soldier: The Return" was so poor a vehicle that the juice didn't even find its way to the ignition. Though it was shot on the relatively meager budget of $19 million, it barely made back $13 million during its theatrical run, thus giving the big-name studios cause enough to oust the Muscles from Brussels from Hollywood...and in this case, I can't help but agree with them.

The story: seven years following the events of the original Universal Soldier, Luc Devereaux is now developing better and more reliable Unisols alongside the military and an artificial intelligence program called S.E.T.H. However, federal budget-cutting decrees the entire project be shut down; when S.E.T.H. realizes this, it puts a plan into motion that includes taking control of the existing Unisols, pitting them against their human engineers, and taking a human form of its own.

The film's very premise is unbelievable, even when taken on its own terms: after the first movie, it's hard to believe that Luc would buddy-up with his creators. He explains himself by saying "I died... [They] brought me back. [They] saved my life"; this is fine and good, although he seems to have forgotten that the same folks who saved his life used him as an expendable killing machine and that they are now teetering on repeating the same mistakes that brought about the catastrophe of the first film. Also, the fact that S.E.T.H.
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