Thursday, January 21, 2010

Forgotten Sequels: Universal Soldier II

I bet most people who saw Universal Soldier: The Return assumed that it was the second film.  As it turns out, they were dead wrong!  In between these movies, two made-for-tv films were put out featuring a connected storyline and recurring actors.  These films were not exactly hits and do not exactly feature big name actors.  When you make a movie and cannot get Jean Claude Van-Damme on board, what does that say about you?  Mind you, this is a common occurrence, but still not good.  This movie does, however, feature a notable acting name: Gary Busey.  Yeah, he's about as pleased to be there as you are to see him there.  Is this movie any good?  Find out in my review of...
Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms
The film begins with a redone version of the ending fight from Universal Soldier.  Why is it redone?  To put our new star in it, of course.  Once that is done, we are at the Deveraux estate with Luc and the reporter.  Did you wonder why the reporter character vanished from the story in Universal Soldier: The Return?  These movies explain why...eventually.  In the meantime, we get a pointless shot of Luc's ass as they put him in a tub to cool down.  It turns out that his parents are alive & relatively alright with the 'our son is a techno-zombie' thing.  They are willing to help hide him from the government, but they can still track him.  Meanwhile, a new person is called in by a shadowy figure to turn the tide: Gary Busey.  He is a no-nonsense contractor who is willing to kill to get what he wants.  In a real cheat, the scientists at the UniSol program activate a chip in Luc that makes him return to base.  If it's that easy, how did he ever get out in the first place?!?  The next morning, the reporter sees what's up and wants to purse Luc, but he took the only car...or so he thought.  In a giant leap of logic, the parents let the reporter use a fully-functional hot rod car that they have kept in the barn for years in honor of Luc's return!  Good-bye, common sense!
Our heroine fails to catch up to Luc before he gets on a train, but convinces the ticket-taker to tell her where he was going.  In a slightly-smaller stretch of logic, she catches up to the train when it reaches its destination: Chicago.  Oh my God, the evil villain must be Ferris Bueller!  Sadly, the reveal in the end is much less exciting.  Back to the story, she narrowly misses Luc, but catches up to him at the docks.  He is taken onto a giant ship where he is turned back into a proper UniSol.  They even erase him memory and put him in the original outfit, along with some recently-dead soldiers.  Yeah, I sort of glossed over their scene earlier- oops.  Hours later, our heroine finally decides to do something and sneaks onto the ship in a stolen uniform.  While wandering around, she stumbles upon a room full of un-used UniSol experiments.  It is here that she discovers- I shit you not- Luc's brother Eric, who was killed in Vietnam!  She watches a video on the control unit which explains everything, which is both amazingly-convenient and retarded!  She breaks him out in one of the film's many uses of the 'slow down, then speed up quickly' editing technique.  For all of you people who hate Zack Snyder's version, this one is much worse.  They sneak around the ship, the naked man going along with the plan relatively easy before he gets a uniform too.
They hide out in a container, which ends up being taken off of the ship.  You see, things have changed with the UniSol program.  Without the government sponsoring it, they decide to turn the soldiers into mercenaries.  While they drive on the road, the scientists discover that the reporter broke in and instantly recognize Eric, despite it being a shot of him from behind!  They stop the trucks and capture them.  Back on the main truck, they go to kill the two prisoners, which makes Luc break out of his training and save them.  Does he know who she is?  No.  Does he somehow recognize Eric after all of these years?  Yes.  Does it make any real sense that Eric recognizes Luc, despite him being about 10 when he saw him last?  No.  Anyhow, Luc and the girl escape, but the brother is captured and taken away.  Our heroes take a camper from some newlyweds and follow, thanks to an invitation from Busey, who is now in charge.  He makes an arms deal with some Koreans, but just kills them when he gets half of the money.  Luc and the girl do a plan so dumb that I won't even describe it & get away, only to stop a little while later at a bar.  Shockingly, the bad guys catch up to them and kill Eric.  Luc kills the remaining UniSols and Busey, only to discover that his brother is not able to be revived.  They go off like David Banner in search of justice, but not before the shadowy figure is revealed to be: Burt Reynolds!  See you in Part 3, Bandit.
This movie is really not that good.  The story is pretty odd, what with Luc instantly returning the fold thanks to the push of a button.  The reporter is played well, but can be a bit abrasive.  Busey is completely over-the-top, but that works for him in here, since the new Luc is boring as crap!  He plays the robotic aspect up too much for his own good.  The movie does insert random bits of humor in, but they are just pure stupidity.  A running joke with the brothers bonding is nice, but killed by the mechanical delivery of Luc.  The action is alright, but it turns out to be a lot of sparks mostly.  The idea of Luc's brother coming in is pretty silly, especially with as little build-up as the film gives it.  We get one scene of the parent's mentioning his death and that's about it.  One funny thing is that they try to disguise as a real movie, but the credits are right out of television.  Swing and a miss guys.  Who knows- maybe Part 3 will be better?  Unlikely, but a possibility nonetheless.  After all, the bar is pretty damn low!
Next up, the sequel to a rip-off of an American film.  Oh and it stars Fred Williamson.  This can't end well.  Say tuned...

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