Universal Soldier: The Return is a 1999 American science fiction action film directed by Mic Rodgers in his directorial debut, and written by William Malone and John Fasano. The film stars Jean-Claude Van Damme, Michael Jai White, Bill Goldberg, Heidi Schanz, Kiana Tom, and Xander Berkeley. This was Jean-Claude Van Damme's last widely released film until 2012's The Expendables 2.
Seven years after the events in the first film, Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), now an ordinary human after having had his cybernetic implants removed, is a technical expert who is working for the US 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 and intelligent to reduce the use of normal, human 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. (Self-Evolving Though 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 (Michael Jai White). A team of four UniSols massacre the troops stationed outside the premises. Luc goes in later with a team of soldiers, but most of them are killed.
Not only must Luc contend with ambitious reporter Erin Young (Heidi 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.
However, 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 and Hillary leave the lab and head towards the exist, but find Romeo waiting for Luc. 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 UniSols start to march out for battle, Luc fires at the explosive charge blowing up the building, killing all the UniSols and their laboratory.
- Jean-Claude Van Damme as Luc Deveraux
- Michael Jai White as S.E.T.H.
- Heidi Schanz as Erin Young
- Xander Berkeley as Doctor Dylan Cotner
- Justin Lazard as Captain Blackburn
- Kiana Tom as Maggie
- Daniel von Bargen as General Radford
- James R. Black as Sergeant Morrow
- Karis Paige Bryant as Hillary Deveraux
- Bill Goldberg as Romeo
- Lyle Kanouse as UniSol 2500 (voice)
It is a sequel to Universal Soldier and the second theatrical film in the Universal Soldier series, followed by two made-for-TV movies, Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms and Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business.