Universal Soldier: The Return (1999)

R  |   |  Action, Sci-Fi  |  20 August 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 4.1/10 from 23,582 users   Metascore: 24/100
Reviews: 159 user | 74 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

The "universal soldiers" must fight the whole army. When the military's supercomputer S.E.T.H gets out of control



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Heidi Schanz ...
Captain Blackburn
General Radford
Sergeant Morrow
Karis Paige Bryant ...
Hillary Deveraux
Bill Goldberg ...
Technician #2
Brent Hinkley ...
Woody Watson ...
RL Gate Guard
Jacqueline Klein ...
Betty Wilson
Maria Arita ...


Luc Devereaux, the only surviving member of the original Universal Soldier Team. He now works with Dylan Cotner, on a project to create and improve a new Universal Soldier. Their plan is for the Universal soldier or UNISOLS to be controlled by a computer they call SETH. When the government decides to terminate the project, which includes shutting down SETH. SETH, not wanting this to happen, takes steps to prevent this. He first kills Dylan. He then has himself transfered into a body. He then seeks out Luc Devereaux, who is the only person who knows the code that will stop his program from being deleted. So he sends out all the UNISOLS to get him. Luc must try and stay away until SETH program is deleted. But SETH has targeted his daughter as possible leverage. Written by <rcs0411@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Prepare to become obsolete


Action | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for nonstop strong violence, and for language and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 August 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Universal Soldier 2  »

Box Office


$24,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$4,605,167 (USA) (20 August 1999)


SGD 492,508 (Singapore) (5 November 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Was released theatrically despite the previous sequels having been made-for-TV - a rarity for sequels. Many film series have gotten out of direct to video or made for TV through remakes, but few series get out of made-for-TV status otherwise. See more »


During the final fight sequence between SETH and Luc, SETH grabs Luc by the neck with his right hand and holds him into the chair. Whilst holding him into the chair, the hand holding the neck switches to his left hand and then back his right hand again between shots. See more »


S.E.T.H.: When I was a machine, I yearned to be a man. Now I'm better than both. The created has become the creator.
See more »


References Killer Condom (1996) See more »


Written and Performed by The Clay People
Courtesy of M3/Slipdisc Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

So bad it is entertaining
26 August 2005 | by (Southern Hemisphere) – See all my reviews

The mind boggles at exactly what about Universal Soldier merited a sequel. Since the real star, Dolph Lundgren, would not be able to reprise his role from the original, there is already scant reason to indulge oneself in this obvious tax write-off. Bold attempts are made to fill the gap with professional wrestler Bill Goldberg and martial arts expert Michael Jai White. To their credit, they give their action sequences a good sense of excitement. Bill Goldberg looks like he is having the time of his life on this film, and he makes a fair stab at filling the requisite comedic villain role. For once, his role is the kind that involves repeating the same line a few times, and it does not get irritating. The problem from the audience's point of view is that neither of these gentlemen really have the sense of comic timing or minor humility that makes Lundgren such a pleasure to watch in almost all of his films. And therein lies the problem. You do not go to see a Van Damme film because you want serious action. You go because you want comedy, however unintentional.

Unbeknownst to many people, Universal Soldier was followed by two direct-to-video sequels. I have only seen the first, which had production values so bad one can only wonder if it was meant to be some kind of elaborate joke. Matt Battaglia was so terrible in the role of Luc Deveraux that for once in his career, the sight of Jean-Claude Van Damme comes as a welcome relief. The film more or less completely disregards the stories of the aforementioned direct-to-video sequels, and instead begins a whole new story set an indeterminate time after the events of the original. After years of investigation and explanation, the Unisol project is still going ahead, with some minor modifications. For one, the new Unisols are stronger and more damage-resistant than their earlier cousins. For another, all of the Unisols are now under the direction of a supercomputer called SETH. In the early parts of the film, SETH exists primarily as a series of abstract graphics within a glass dome.

Being that the film barely lasts more than eighty minutes, we are quickly told that funding to the military is being cut. The Unisol project is on the chopping block, which essentially means that SETH will be turned off. SETH, somehow overhearing this conversation through means that are never really explained, decides to mobilise the Unisols as an army against those seeking to shut him down. His only problem is that every so often, a code is required to be put into his system in order to prevent automatic shutdown. Two individuals possess the code in question. SETH kills the first in short order, and those who are familiar with the plot kit that Van Damme's films are constructed out of will guess within five seconds who the second happens to be. The rest of the film revolves around the Unisols' attempts to get the code out of Van Damme without injuring him too badly. A subplot with a daughter and a reporter is woven into the film, but it adds about as much to the story as Van Damme does to the profession of acting.

The film is loaded to the brim with ridiculous lines and clichés. When SETH transplants his command module into the body of Michael Jai White, we get a speech about how the time of the humans is over. He goes on to tell his foot soldiers how fear and mortality will be humanity's weakness(es). Gee, SETH, you mean they will not be our strong points? All kidding aside, the short length of the film is both the film's weakness and its strength. It leaves the action without adequate setup. In the original, we are given a very thorough explanation of the Unisols, how they work, and how they are brought to the state that is seen in the majority of the film. Here, the writer seems to take it for granted that the viewer knows what a Unisol is and how they operate. At least in the original, a moment of curiosity and wonder was created by leaving the explanation for later in the film when the hero lies in a tub of ice. Here, one of the villains is shot with a gun that leaves massive holes in his uniform (and presumably his body), getting up every time without stopping for breath.

I tend to reserve the score of one for films that are so bad that they become entertaining in a completely unintentional manner. If you can see it on the cheap, knock yourself out. This is the kind of film that makes me mourn the loss of Mystery Science Theatre.

16 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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