|Star:||Matt Battaglia, Chandra West, Burt Reynolds, Gary Busey|
|Cert / Year:||18 - R / 1998|
At the end of the film Universal Soldier Luc Devereaux (then Jean-Claude Van Damme now Matt Battaglia) was left with journalist Veronica Reynolds (then Ally Walker now Chandra West) after defeating GR13 and single handily destroying the Universal soldier program. This sequel follows straight on from these events. A mysterious government official (Burt Reynolds) resurrects the program in an unofficial way and sets out to recover Luc and kill Veronica. Veronica must help Luc break his conditioning and stop the program for good, however unbeknown to both of them is that Luc's brother is also being kept on ice.
That is about all I can make of the plot because quite frankly it really makes no sense, and isn't very interesting. Not the best start to a review you may think, well read on. Where Universal Soldier was a pretty good piece of no brain entertainment (hey it featured Jean-Claude Van Damme at what proved to be the peak of his carrier, and that maestro of muscle movies Dolph Lungren), this made for television follow up is darn awful. If it is so bad that Jean-Claude Van Damme isn't even in it then it must be pants indeed, but wait its worse as none of the original cast \ crew are anything to do with this sequel (and I bet they are immensely glad of that fact). Yes this film is more of turkey that both Christmas and Thanks giving rolled into one.
The story is awful, being basically a re-hash of the original. It lacks any sense of urgency or purpose. A lot of the back-story of the first film has been lost, but what is criminal for an action movie is that it lacks action. There is far too much talking, or travelling, or family bonding or in fact anything but excitement. The script is meandering and dull, awful dialogue, lifeless characterisation and poor plotting just finish it off. It is as if no one had any idea of what to do with the characters, or maybe they just couldn't be bothered.
Matched to this is the terrible direction. Heaven knows what was going through Jeff Woolnough's mind as he presented us with pointless effects, lack of pacing, and poor editing. It is laughably bad. Shots are repeated (I believe in a vain hope to add impact) and various other effects are used invariably at the wrong time and with a detrimental result. This man should stick to television as movies are well out of his league.
So what about the cast. What the hell was Burt Reynolds and Gary Busey thinking? Were they desperate for money, or are their careers over? If they aren't they will be soon if they appear in tosh like this. I mean both are passable (although what is it with Burt Reynolds bizarre accent) but what the smeg are they given to work with, overall they don't care and it shows. As for the main cast Matt Battaglia is a pouting loon that makes Jean-Claude Van Damme look like Laurence Oliver, he is comically awful in a Zoolander facial expression sort of way. Chandra West tries hard but in the end achieves little, and everyone else should have just stayed at home.
I know this film is a television movie and therefore had a strictly limited budget (There are now only two other Universal soldiers), but there is never an excuse for making something this bad. It lacks any redeemable quality, and I really can't find anything good to say about it. In fact I have instigated a program to breed genetic super soldiers that will wipe out the cast and crew so that they can never make more of this garbage. Please do not ever watch this film. It is nothing to do with the original so don't be tempted by the name.
Oh my lord they made another sequel Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business well I'm not watching it and I recommend that you shouldn't either. Plus there is a bigger budget film sequel Universal Soldier: The Return and this has Van Damme back in it, but the jury is out on this one.