"Universal Soldier: The Return"
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Reviewed by Carlos deVillalvilla
OK, I'll admit having a perverse side of me. I'll see anything sci-fi, no matter how bad it looks (in case you were wondering, I was the guy who rented "Wing Commander").
So, I have to admit vaguely remembering the original "Universal Soldier," which was one of the earliest efforts by director Roland ("Independence Day") Emmerich.
The fact that I couldn't remember ANYTHING about the original other than that Jean-Claude van Damme and Dolph Lundgren were in it should have warned me that the sequel would be unforgettable (no matter how much I tried).
The Muscles from Brussels has been on a downturn lately - his last movie went directly to video and he really hasn't done anything notable since "Timecop" - heck, the guy co-starred with Dennis Rodman, which can't be good for one's career.
Doing a sure-fire sequel would be just the thing. Add in the superhot WCW wrestler Bill Goldberg to the cast and maybe Jean-Claude won't be seated by the kitchen door at Spago anymore.
Jean-Claude, old boy, get used to having waiters bump into you at your table. This one is bound for the kind of ink you don't need, as in so bad it's notorious. When the best performance in a movie is coming from a wrestler with no previous acting epxerience, you know you're in trouble.
To be fair, Goldberg is extremely charismatic and with a little training could have a fairly interesting career as an action hero flunky.
However, the rest of the movie reeks of disaster, a stench so overpowering that I was sick for days after seeing the movie.
Hard as it is to imagine, "Plan 9 From Outer Space" has been dethroned. At least that movie had a kind of lovable amateur feel to it that is endearing. "Universal Soldier: The Return" can merely be endured.
It's a shame that "Mystery Science Theater 3000" didn't hang around long enough to skewer this turkey.