Universal Soldier: The Return (Prime Video)

Terminator and War Games with a JCVD twist!
Customer rating 4.0/5.0
May 31, 2009 By Jason
7 out of 7 found this helpful

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? While Luc is battling the new and improved UNISOL army, he has to contend with an beautiful but irritating reporter named Erin (Heidi Schanz)
12. Does he win? Judgment day averted.

After one of the most ridiculous opening jet-ski, machine gun scenes in cinema history, Kiana Tom's shirt got ripped open for a bra shot. I immediately thought this movie, like Kiana, had potential. I was not disappointed.

When a Pentagon General (Daniel von Bergen) gets the nod to shut down the UNISOL program, SETH takes action to defend itself. Exhausting all options, Devereaux and gang try to shut SETH down manually and face resistance. Without a secret code, known only by Devereaux, SETH will shut down in eight hours; so, the computer begins military actions and decryption of the code ala the WOPR in War Games.

This is an enjoyable JCVD flick, but there are four problems I had with it. One, SETH was supposed to be five-times as fast/strong/etc. as a person, so regardless of how awesome JCVD is, it should have been a mismatch. Somehow, however, SETH doesn't avoid an awesome JCVD flying 360. Two, all of Bill Goldberg's lines should have been grunts. His physique is imposing, but his acting is terrifying. Three, the reporter Erin was completely unnecessary, and at times blocked the movie's flow like an infected kidney stone. And, four, Kiana didn't get naked (this may not be a valid argument).

Overall, this is JCVD fun. Tons of kicks. Even more gun-fighting and explosions. Decent acting, albeit with a diluted plot, makes this a good follow-up storyline and a mid-level JCVD movie, which makes it better than most action movies in general. Guilty pleasure awesomeness.

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