The Return
Universal Soldier

When you read in the trade journals about a generation of cinéastes revolutionized by Star Wars, you can’t wonder at the sputtering reviews this droll little joke received. Featherbedding makes for a comfy sleep, that’s all.

The opening has more action than many a finale, the maiden is tied to a tree, the hero is face-down in a puddle, it’s all an exercise. The rest is mainly a deliberative set-up for the punchline that occurs at the very end, and if Rodgers really has failed to sustain the gag, which one would venture to dispute (he has certainly thrown in every device you can think of), the payoff is swift and rich.

The UniSols have a motto, “Dying to Serve”. A wacked-out hacker helps the new computer model attain physicality. It seeks out Luc, its only enemy, who has a lady reporter in tow for the adventure. His young daughter, hapless Hillary, is in the hospital with brain swelling. A fight to the finish saves her from the villainous plot, and she awakens, cured, in her Daddy’s arms.

Heidi Schanz as the reporter does a remarkable feat of acting, from the TV bitch who shouts, “don’t stick your finger in my face,” to the preoccupied participant easily repulsing a lesbian pick-up, and finally the girl who turns to Belgian waffles at the sight of the hero.