Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business
Dir: Jeff Woolnough
Star: Matt Battaglia, Chandra West, Burt Reynolds
Cert / Year: 18 - R / 1998
Format: Video

Luc Devereaux (Matt Battaglia) is soldier likked in Vietnam and reanimated to become an unstoppable killing machine as part of the Universal Soldier project. Having broken his conditioning with the help of a journalist Veronica Reynolds (Chandra West) he vows to destroy the project. Howvere the project is run by powerful people and they are now on the run from a corrupt CIA official (Burt Reynolds). They must fight to uncover the truth behind the Universal Soldier project and to stay alive. It is a fight that has already cost Luc his brother, but will it cost even more this time?

I have already reviewed the prequel to this film Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms and found it to be a large pile of unwatchable pap. So why may you ask am I going to look at this sequel, isn't it just going to be as bad? Well initial signs aren't good. The film starts with a hefty recap from the last film. But this just goes to show what we actually have here is the second part of the same film. This is a television production and although I'm not sure how they where shown, both films were definitely made back to back. So much like Back to the Future Part 2 Universal Soldier II makes no sense without this sequel.

Don't get me wrong this doesn't make either this or the earlier movie good, it mealy makes the first parts awfulness a little more understandable. The fact is this sequel is a lot better in terms of story than Universal Soldier II. It at least has a fair amount of action, and something that does resemble a plot (although this is a little sketchy and doesn't always make sense). The action scenes themselves aren't too bad either, from the Die Hard rip off terrorist siege to the airbase shoot out. Ok they are on a small scale but they are effective in a made for television way. The biggest benefit though is from the death of Luc's family. This removes all the sentimental rubbish that cluttered up the prequel. Yep the story is passable but predicable. It only falls down near the end when Luc faces GR87 and things become ridiculously illogical (when the scientist states that the events can't be happening he is right).

So far it's not so awful then. Yes, but wait. We still have the awful acting talents of Matt Battaglia to contend with, and while he is not as bad as the last film he still really isn't much cop. However the worst performance by far comes from Burt Reynolds. It is hard to believe that this gurning loon is the same man who was so good in films like Deliverance or Smokey and the Bandit. Most inexplicable of all is the accent he chooses to use. It's terrible. At least Claudette Roche gives us an enemy with a little bit of personality. I bet Gary Busey is glad his character died in the last film.

Also like Universal Soldier II Jeff Woolnough's direction is another tour de force of spectacular incompetence. Yet more inappropriate camera effects and still no grip on the story telling or the action sum up another below par performance. Lastly is the fact although the story is better the dialogue is still pitifully tragic, with the cheesy one liners being particularly bad.

Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business is a better film than its predecessor (lets face it that isn't hard). It is still highly flawed and pretty poor, but it may be watchable in a Saturday afternoon television sort of way. As a piece of cinema though it is utter garbage. I get the feeling that both this and its prequel were pilots for an eventual series (the ending would indicate so) fortunately this never got made. If you want to turn a film in to a series look no further than Stargate, this version of Universal Soldier lacked to quality or the talent to pull it off. Unfinished business, I really hope not.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home