So in the near future humans breed soldiers by taking them at birth and basically transforming them into hardened killers that obey without question with brutal military schooling, they only know the military way. Then along comes a smarmy greasy Colonel with a bunch of even better genetically engineered soldiers who were created from hand picked DNA to give maximum results in every human sense. Russell and his men are replaced and brushed aside.
At its core this film is basically a revenge action thriller, but it does try for a warmer touch throughout. Russell's character 'Todd' is a merciless killer but after he is abandoned and left for dead on a garbage planet by his superiors he must learn to survive on his own. That is until he finds a human colony of scavengers who crashed on the planet years before. He is taken in and this is where the softer side comes in as the scavengers try to break his robotic military programming and make him more human again.
This whole element isn't too bad and shows a good attempt at character building. We do get to see Todd slowly coming around as he is immersed in a more family orientated society. There are the obligatory ups and downs along the way and Todd has reoccurring nightmares which does feel rather cliched but I guess its what you'd expect. It is good to see Todd becoming close with a young couples little boy, we never really get too much emotion from Todd, he barely says much for the entire film accept for yes Sir, no Sir and nods. I did find myself enjoying the simple story arch for Todd and the young family that take care of him, its basic sure but it works.
Of course all that is filler simply for the big revenge action showdown at the end where Todd gets his chance to kill all the enhanced soldiers and their Colonel. Todd grows attached to the scavengers in his own way only so you feel more emotion when he must protect them in a whopping sci-fi shoot out. That shoot out being the main focus of the film and it doesn't disappoint if you ask me, its like 'Commando' on another planet with Russell taking down faceless futuristic soldiers with big guns, big knives and a few neck snaps.
The one thing I find odd is why the Colonel and his soldiers do this 'security sweep' on this garbage planet. The planet seems to be known as a massive dumping ground for scrap with no known life on it, intelligent life anyway. So why on earth would they need to do a security sweep of it?? especially with all those huge armoured vehicles!. Well because the director needed a way to get the bad guys on the planet surface so Todd could kill them all that's why. Its just a shame that plot direction is so stupid.
The film certainly looks slick considering it was made in 98. The planet looks pretty cool harsh and desolate, nice models, nice matte work, sets are decent and futuristic weapons/equipment look solid and authentic. I did get a feeling the film needed or wanted to be grander though, personally I wanted to see more of the planet, the military, it all felt a bit compressed and revolved around one area the entire time (the scavenger camp got a wee bit boring).
I like the small Easter eggs though. The film was suppose to be set within the same universe as 'Blade Runner' (a sequel on the side) and there is a nod to that with the 'Battle at Tannhauser Gate' on Todd's service record. Plus Todd appears to have been decorated with the 'Plissken Patch'.
I liked Russell's performance here, he comes across surprisingly well as a terminator-esque killbot and the lack of dialog also works surprisingly well. Visually the film is pleasing to the eye for any sci-fi buffs, the action is well directed and it is very satisfying to see Todd get his own back on Isaac's shitty Colonel character and his lackeys. The final battle between Russell and his uber opponent Jason Scott Lee is cliched much like the rest of the film and felt like a typical JCVD fight sequence really. All in all I think Lee's character could have been left out really as he seemed too much of a daft predictable comicbook type bad guy. Overall this is definitely a guilty pleasure action film, you know its dumb but its also a good gritty ride.
Todd (Kurt Russell) is a futuristic super soldier raised since birth to kill but then he finds himself replaced by a new breed of super super-soldier and left for dead on a planet used as a garbage dump. He is befriended by a group of shipwrecked colonists and in the end he saves these people from the very same soldiers who replaced him. With bang-up support from Jason Scott Lee as brutish rival soldier Caine 607, the final confrontation between Todd and Caine features a pleasant twist to the expected outcome.
Less is more and Kurt Russell acted well as a soldier devoid of emotion. He doesn't have a lot of dialogue, but that doesn't matter as he used his eyes very well to express his emotions (mostly fear, loneliness, and determination.) If you enjoy fun action movies, you'll probably enjoy Soldier as much as I did.
"no, don't care bout stupid stuff like plot, want more 'splosions!"
"in the end, they can like fight in the rain and stuff, it'll look totally wicked!"
"carakter doesnt matter, more 'splosions, big ones, and the baddies can all have like really big guns"
"Yeah, this is so the best film ever! And I want Kurt all like moody and silent and stuff!"
Please, Hollywood, stop giving him money!
Soldier is a chemically-induced Sci-Fi film that rattles cages and screams predatory temperament. Kurt Russell is a monster actor in the action genre with quite a few films to back this claim up. Soldier is steady lacking in dialogue from Russell, but I feel it wasn't needed on his part; the eyes told the tale. His character didn't need words to convey his emotions and he let his military training speak for him. The choreography was great, having Todd sneak up on his targets with experience and a cunning display of fortitude.
Director Paul W. S. Anderson paints a nice picture, with amazing atmospheric designs and strong characters to boot. Writer David Webb Peoples, who also had a hand in BladeRunner, considers them both one in the same, with Soldier being the sidequel to the 1982 Sci-Fi classic.