Universal Soldier: The Return Review

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As Scream 2’s chiselled student-fodder went to great pains to point out (not that it was exactly a revelation), sequels are, in general, far inferior to their predecessors. Quite what the little upstarts would make of this veritable haemorrhoid, though, is anyone’s guess.

So utterly inept it makes House II: The Second Storey look like a genre triumph, what little plot there is once again centres around Luc Deveraux (Van Damme), now an advisor for the government-funded UniSol training programme. When the plug is pulled on the project, the zombie paras, lead by the facility’s all-powerful computer, S.E.T.H., stage a thoroughly uninspiring, Nazi/Master Race style revolt, and all manner of flaccid mayhem ensues.

With a cast of bad guys fronted by the plank from Spawn and a WCW wrestler (White and Goldberg respectively), it’s no surprise that the acting is at best shoddy, and at worst, Sunset Beach. What’s staggering is what a turgid mess the rest of it is. Mincing around a B-movie set with his daughter and preposterously contrived love interest in tow, even The Muscles From Brussels seems embarrassed as he hashes his way through a dirge of woeful one-liners, towards a pathetically limp-wristed climax.

Whereas Emmerich’s original had enough personality and energy to provide solid (if stupid) entertainment, Rodgers seems content to merely cobble together a succession of blatantly lifted -and poorly executed -set-pieces from the likes of T2, 2001 and even Live And Let Die. Devoid of any imagination, and frankly painful to watch, this could well be a career low for the Belgian bruiser. And he was in Streetfighter.