Soldier Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 25, 2014
Entertaining Sci Fi actioner starring Kurt Russell, this is an underrated film that is entertaining for what it is, but also shows that it could have been much better as well. Directed by Paul W.S Anderson who has had a sketchy career, Soldier is one of those films that might entertain viewers that are looking for a mindless time waster to watch when they have nothing else to watch. Anderson for me, a so-so director, I don't hate his work, but he's one of those directors that create popcorn action flicks, and for that, he's very capable of doing so, but one thing that his films lack is substance. I don't mind his films, and here he makes an entertaining picture with a decent cast of actors. Soldier is mindless fun if you're in the mood for this sort of film, but it's never anything great either. I enjoyed the film, but I also felt it could have been better as well. Some ideas here fall flat, and it's a shame because the ideas here are quite good, but they never really take off, and in turn the film suffers from being a truly memorable action film. Paul W.S Anderson is a director that goes for thrills and action and not substance. Soldier is fun for what it is, but if you want a bit more, you'll sadly be disappointed. Soldier could have been a great film, but as it is, it's an action film that is mindless popcorn entertainment, and if you enjoy these types of films, you might like this one. However, at the same time, you can only wonder how good the film would have been if the script would have been better thought out.
Super Reviewer
½ August 25, 2007
Back before Kurt was a bit too old he starred in the odd kick ass flick like this...oh yes this is indeed kick ass. A mindless soulless drone-like soldier who kills without question and its set in the future! how can that not be kick ass...*ahem*.

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.
Super Reviewer
June 8, 2007
Braindead, granted, but also very entertaining and a lot better than you might expect. Like in most other productions by Paul W.S. Anderson, there's a complete lack of gravitas and logic to the plot. Basically, it's just a knock-off on Universal Soldier, with settings very resemblant to the Mad Max movies. Kurt Russell, here in better shape than ever, spends most of the time flexing his muscles or pacing around like a mindless drone. If his intension was to imitate Steven Seagal, he did a perfect job. Somehow I doubt that was the case though. I know the point of the story is that he's gradually evolving to become more human and compassionate, but save for a rather touching scene by the end, it offers nothing but scraps and bones when it comes to his character's development. What it does treat us to though, is action and lots of it! The cast is quite nice as well, with appealing actors like Connie Nielsen and two well-played villains in the form of Jason Isaacs and Gary Busey. So if you've previously dismissed it as trash, out of mere suspicion (trust me, I did at first too), you may want to reconsider, as this is far from abysmal sci-fi. Flat and derivative, that I won't deny, but if all you want is some good action, that allows the brain a moment of rest, then this is more than suitable for the mission at hand.
Super Reviewer
October 14, 2011
In the UK this was the biggest budget ever for a direct to video movie. Mostly because Russell took a reported $20 million pay cheque. What's great is that he clearly put in the work for that money. Looking buffer than ever and certainly capturing the correct look and tone for his character. I watched this not knowing it was a Paul W.S. Anderson film, which was lucky as I would have judged it before a single frame. Soldier focusses on Russell as Todd, a soldier that has been training since he was a child. Forced to watch dogs slaughtering pigs, heavy endurance tests where the loser is shot, and cognitive training too. Todd is a veteran of many wars, none of which have taken their toll on him, mostly because he doesn't have to socialise with civilians. Enter Jason Isaacs in moustached sneering form with his genetically engineered soldiers. They are stronger, faster, and better. After a training test Russell is believed dead and sent to a trash disposal planet. There he meets some people and he learns to care etc. Russell has so few lines you could actually count them on your toes and fingers. He uses subtle facial techniques and body posture. His reaction to his first ever hug is very emotional and powerful. The action is competent at least, and it's great to see some real violence in a sci-fi movie. The main theme shows that soldiers and loyalty are important, but it's almost important to keep the humanity that is present. I loved it when Russell went nuts, but never lost his cool, his intelligence and experience rises him above the new "improved" soldiers. There are moments where Anderson is clearly visible on screen. The lack of subtlety concerning Isaacs hammy performance being the main fault. An underrated and enjoyable action movie.
Super Reviewer
June 26, 2011
What is this movie doing in here? Well it could be better categorized in an action movie list, but to me still scifi. Only because takes place in a different planet. But the story is not far from reality. Maybe not many will like my comment, but this is what warfare and the new armies is doing to some people. Complete dehumanization. That's the sad part. But there is always hope, and redemption even for those like Kurt Rusell character. There is good inside anyone. But there is people that just don't know it. Love the message and it's one of my favorites even when the story isn't very good.
Super Reviewer
September 27, 2010
Basically what I was expecting it to be, it's a 90s version of Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome. Kurt Russell is great and always will be, but it doesn't save the terrible design of the movie that just doesn't work. Try as he may, Paul W.S. Anderson just can't quite nail a unique sci-fi look. Maybe if Gary Busey was crazier or Kurt Russell had a higher body count, it would have been better.
Super Reviewer
March 3, 2008
Good action film, Kurt Russell trying to break a hip before it's all over. Gary Busey before he completely went insane.
Super Reviewer
½ July 29, 2007
Sci-fi fans will recognise this as one of the most basic plots: A supersoldier, designed to blindly follow orders without a twinge of conscience, is forced by circumstance to reevaluate the priorities and - having found his humanity - becomes the sole protector of a ragtag band of colonists facing overwhelming odds. It works because of star Kurt Russell, who is absolutely credible and wholly sympathetic in the title role.
Super Reviewer
September 24, 2007
Super Reviewer
½ May 28, 2007
Daft B-movie sci-fi that sees a futuristic soldier bred only for service is replaced by a newer, better model and left for dead on a planetary waste dump. The inevitable showdown ensues. Cheap and cheerful nonsense.
Super Reviewer
½ January 22, 2007
a one man wrecking crew, but really corny
Super Reviewer
April 25, 2006
Sandra: But one soldier against seventeen. What are you going to do? Todd: I'm going to kill them all, sir. Out with the old, in with the new. Okay, so Shakespeare it's not. But it is slick action. Kurt Russell cut himself a whole new body for this one. Jason Scott Lee does a good job. I'm always tempted to count how many words Russell actually utters in this. Gotta be under 100. Actually, this is a kind of tribute to Russell's nonverbal acting ability. Amazingly emotive. I'm thinking his being a real life dad may have helped him with this role. Russell fans will love this no matter how mindless it might seem. Think of this as Snake Plissken without the witty banter.
Super Reviewer
January 28, 2012
Kurt Russell is a one man army in Soldier. When an obsolete soldier is marooned on a remote planet, he must stand up against a group of elite super soldiers sent to eradicate the population. Russell does a solid job at portraying this character, but he's hard to relate to and his emotionlessness is alienating. However, Jason Isaacs creates a delightful villain that's a lot of fun to watch. The action is pretty good but the special effects don't holdup especially well. Soldier has s few story and character issues, but ultimately comes through with a lot of good action.
Super Reviewer
½ September 4, 2010
"Maybe instead of making them faster, you should have made them smarter".

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.
Super Reviewer
½ February 24, 2007
HA - It has been bugging me for years where I knew Malfoy Sr. (from Harry Potter), He played the sniveling SOB jackhole general in this movie. I fear he has been typecast as the ultimate douchebag. Kurt Russel, the star, got packed up and has maybe six lines throughout the movie. Decent action, fair story.
Super Reviewer
December 19, 2007
Paul W S Anderson, the prolific director of Resident Evil and Aliens Vs. Predator also bought us this, and you can just imagine his directing:

"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!
Super Reviewer
March 13, 2008
i think i found this dissapointing but i would have to see it again
Super Reviewer
July 15, 2007
Russell looking old but acting quite well.
½ January 5, 2013
I liked it, but I am a sci-fi junkie. It poses some interesting ideas on what would happen when children get brainwashed. The effects were pretty good and I liked Kurt Russell. I think I liked this character a little better than Snke Plisken in the "Escape" movies.
September 19, 2009
Emotionless and an unrelenting force, Sgt. Todd (Kurt Russell) is the ultimate weapon. He, like many others of his regime, were bred from newborns to be the perfect killing machine. They were the top in their field, until they were demoted and replaced by a far better soldier; genetically-engineered in every way. Todd and a couple of his fellow soldiers were tested and defeated by new soldier Caine 607 (Jason Scott Lee), then disposed of on a waste planet by Colonel Mekum (Jason Isaacs). Presumed dead, Todd finds a colony of refugees who have been inhabiting the planet for the last decade. They take him in and slowly show Todd how to act in a normal society without war.

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.
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