Universal Soldier: The Return

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Universal Soldier: The Return
Original 1999 theatrical poster
Directed by Mic Rodgers
Produced by Daniel Melnick
Michael I. Rachmil
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Allen Shapiro
Written by William Malone
John Fasano
Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme
Michael Jai White
Kiana Tom
Daniel von Bargen
Xander Berkeley
and Bill Goldberg
Music by Don Davis
Cinematography Mike Benson
Long Road Entertainment
IndieProd Company Productions
Baummgarten-Prophet Entertainment
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release dates
  • August 20, 1999 (1999-08-20)
Running time
77 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $45 million[1]
Box office $10,717,421[1][2]

Universal Soldier: The Return is a 1999 American science fiction action film directed by Mic Rodgers in his directorial debut. The film stars Jean-Claude Van Damme, Michael Jai White, Bill Goldberg, Heidi Schanz, Kiana Tom and Xander Berkeley. The film was released in the United States on August 20, 1999. This was Jean-Claude Van Damme's last theatrical release film until 2008's JCVD.

It is the second theatrical film in the Universal Soldier series, following two made-for-TV movies, Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms and Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business.[3] The film was received with highly negative reviews and was a box-office bomb. Subsequent films in the series ignore the events of The Return and contradict it in some places throughout the series; today it is no longer considered part of the series' canon.


Seven years after the events in the first film, Luc Deveraux (Van Damme), now an ordinary human, is a technical expert who is working with the government with his partner Maggie (Kiana Tom), who has been through countless hours of combat training with him, in order to refine and perfect the UniSol program in an effort to make a new, stronger breed of soldier that is more sophisticated, intelligent, to spare using living soldiers in the battlefield. All of the new UniSols, which are faster and stronger than the original UniSols, are connected through an artificially intelligent computer system called S.E.T.H. (voice of Michael Jai White), a Self-Evolving Thought Helix.

When S.E.T.H. discovers that the Universal Soldier program is scheduled to be shut down because of budget cuts, it takes action to protect itself.

Killing those who try to shut off its power, and unleashing a platoon of super soldiers, led by the musclebound Romeo (Bill Goldberg), S.E.T.H. spares Devereaux, only because Devereaux has the secret code that is needed to deactivate a built-in program that will shut S.E.T.H. down in a matter of hours. With the help of Squid (Brent Hinkley), a rogue cyberpunk, S.E.T.H. is able to put its program in a UniSol which Squid made superior to any of the newer models (White).

Not only must Luc contend with ambitious reporter Erin Young (Schanz), who will not leave his side, but he must also contend with General Radford (Daniel von Bargen) who wants to take extreme measures to stop S.E.T.H.. S.E.T.H. has arranged Romeo to kidnap Luc's injured 13-year-old daughter Hillary (Karis Paige Bryant), killing Maggie in the process.

Luc is the only person who can rescue Hillary, because Luc knows firsthand how a UniSol thinks, feels, and fights. Luc infiltrates the UniSol building, but finds Maggie, now revived as one of the UniSols. S.E.T.H is able to figure out the code itself, decides to kill Luc and raise Hillary as a daughter, who it has healed using UniSol technology. During the fight Luc covers S.E.T.H. in liquid nitrogen then shatters S.E.T.H.'s frozen body. Luc then engages into a final fight with Romeo, which ends when Maggie finally rebels against the UniSols by shooting Romeo, and allows Luc and Hillary to get out of the building on time. However, the bomb that General Radford had placed was deactivated by S.E.T.H.. As Romeo and the platoon of Universal Soldiers start to march out for battle, Luc fires at the explosive charge blowing up the building, killing all the Universal Soldiers.



The movie did poorly at the box office debuting at #4.[4] Universal Soldier: The Return grossed $10 million in the United States. Reviews were mostly negative, with the film earning a 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[5] James Berardinelli gave the film a score of one and a half stars out of four and remarked, "Some of the explosions are cool. There's an exploitatively entertaining sequence in a strip joint that features a bevy of topless women. Still, despite all the pyrotechnics, I almost dozed off twice."[6][7]


A film soundtrack was released by Trauma.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Crush 'Em" – Megadeth
  2. "Remain Calm" – One Minute Silence
  3. "Awake" – Clay People
  4. "Crazy Train" – The Flys
  5. "Bled For Days" – Static-X
  6. "Fueled" – Anthrax
  7. "Majic, No. 3" – Jact
  8. "Hatred" – D Generation
  9. "Securitron (Police State 2000)" – Fear Factory
  10. "Eureka Pile" – Ministry
  11. "Chaos" – Tim Skold
  12. "Saddam A-Go-Go" – Gwar
  13. "Target: Devereux" – Don Davis
  14. "Supernova Goes Pop" – Powerman 5000

Home media[edit]

DVD was released in Region 1 in the United States on December 28, 1999, and also Region 2 in the United Kingdom on 1 July 2002, it was distributed by Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. On 4 October 2010, Universal Soldier Trilogy DVD was released. On 11 February 2013, Universal Soldier Quadrilogy Box Set was released.


  1. ^ a b "Universal Soldier: The Return". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "Universal Soldier II: The Return". The Numbers. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "Van Damme in Engaging Battle in Sleek 'Universal Soldier' Sequel". The Los Angeles Times. August 23, 1999. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  4. ^ "As 'Sixth Sense' Sizzles, Newcomers Feel a Chill". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  5. ^ Universal Soldier: The Return on Rotten Tomatoes
  6. ^ Universal Soldier: The Return Review by James Berardinelli
  7. ^ "Universal Soldier: The Return". Variety. Retrieved 2010-10-28. 

External links[edit]