Wednesday, 28 November 2012

DUMPSTER DIVING #4: Universal Soldier: The Return

And now for another low-budget action star: Jean-Claude Van Damme; a man who I've previously seen talking about how cold his nipples are in a Coors Light advert.

This is the sequel to 1992’s ‘Universal Soldier’, in which, as far as I can tell, Jean Claude Van Damme died, was brought back to life as the first ‘UniSol’ (super-soldier), fought some bad guys and then somehow became a regular human again (admittedly a regular human who can kick you in the face, but that’s not the point).


This time, a super computer goes rogue and Van Damme needs to stop it, save his daughter and fall in love . . . all in the space of 80 minutes. And Van Damme just about manages holds it all together; he is a likeable screen-presence and handles his action well. His tongue-in-cheek acting style works well and he is far more charming than some other trashy action stars.

The combination of Van Damme and some fun set pieces make for an enjoyable watch, but unfortunately that’s only half the story . . .

SETH’s (the super computer) top man is soooo cheesy and soooo boring. He manages to look like an utter douchebag and reel off dumb one-liners meaning anytime he’s on screen is almost painfully bad. The stereotypical blue-haired computer hacker is not much better, but fortunately his stupid face isn't on-screen for long. And then, not so much of a downside as a problem: the human incarnation of SETH, who should quite clearly be played by Wesley Snipes. I know he is probably slightly out of their price range, but the faux-Snipes got irritating.

Fortunately a combination of Van Damme, enjoyable moments and a speedy-Gonzalez running time make up for some stupidly written and performed characters . . . and it’s a whole lot better than fucking Delta Force 2.

★★