At last, a movie that asks the question: Are two high-cheekboned muscleheads who sound as if they learned to speak English phonetically really better than one? In Universal Soldier, the doe-eyed Belgian kickboxer Jean-Claude Van Damme teams up with the Swedish Überhulk Dolph Lundgren. The two play American soldiers who were killed in action in Vietnam and then regenerated you know, genetically into humanoid military commandos. Lundgren, who went psycho in 'Nam, has become a vengeful terminator. Beady eyes rolled up into his forehead, he looks like Lurch the butler's Eurotrash brother, and his low-camp performance is vaguely amusing.
Van Damme, on the other hand, is hopeless. He plays the sensitive one a programmed killer out to rediscover his human self, like Robocop which means that he spends the movie staring into space trying to look ''wounded.'' Tagging along with him is a chatty TV reporter (Ally Walker) whose most noteworthy trait is that...she smokes. Viewers primed for a postapocalyptic blowout will be disappointed to learn that Universal Soldier is set in the boring old present day, and that until the climactic clash the film is slow-moving and short on firepower. When Van Damme wanders into a white-trash diner and, for no particular reason, beats up everyone in the place, you're pathetically grateful to see him awaken from his acting stupor and snap a few limbs. D+