Las Vegas Film Society

Soldier

MOVIE CREDITS COMING SOON

Yanno... I went into this thing with an open mind. I really, really did. I had read, as I am sure you already have, the scores of horrible reviews that have been written about this movie. I knew ahead of time that it was a Warner Bros. flick, and that it was directed by Paul Anderson (Hey, a little hope, I mean, I actually liked Mortal Kombat & Event Horizon). But, alas, I have to agree with the scores of other reviewers and say that, well, in a word, this movie "stinks."

Like the director of mission control said in Apollo 13, "What do we have on the movie that's good?" Well, the sets. I mean, the garbage planet is awesome. The special effects are first rate. Unfortunately, that alone is not enough to save 'Soldier.' Kurt Russel is the only man born to play this part, and although I am sure he put in more than what was written in the original screenplay, again, it just wasn't enough to save this film.

Ok, let's talk just a tidbit on the storyline. (Hey, I did say just a tidbit!) Kurt Russel plays a character by the name of "Todd", who, chosen from birth, is raised as a ruthless, take no prisoners 'Soldier.' At the age of 40 (after several successful campaigns), it is decided to replace his squadron with an all new, genetically altered and enhanced, well, 'Soldier.' After failing to beat one of the new soldiers, Todd is dumped (mistaken for dead) on a garbage planet along with 2 of his not so lucky compatriots.

Once on the garbage planet, he discovers a clan of refugees, orginally settlers that crashed on this nasty planet. At first, he is taken in as one of them, until they decide he is too dangerous. Well, a couple of things lead to a couple of other things, and soon Todd is the only person who can defend these people against the new crop of soldiers sent in to do a "security sweep" of the sector that the garbage planet happens to be in. Hey, it almost sounds like it could be a good movie!

But alas, the problems... In my heart, I believe I must blame the studio. I mean, I an not necessarily a fan of Paul Anderson, but I am not a detractor of him, either. I really enjoyed 'Event Horizon', and I truelly believe that had the studio released the movie as Paul had originally cut it, it would have been 100% better (see review for Event Horizon). I can only imagine what script re-writes and scene edits the studio ordered for this movie to have ended up this bad. Ok, here's the laundry list: 1) Waaaay too much imagery dedicated to Todd's "personality"... Ok, we knew he was introverted already, let's move on! 2) The villan... no military officer could be that stupid, that petty, and that cowardice... it's OK to use some (or even all) of these traits in the villain, but I don't see that in the future, any such officer could exist... in other words, MAKE IT BELIEVABLE! 3) One man against 20... Hmmmm, Ok, I know it worked (sorta) for the Rambo films... but one man against 20 and he escapes without so much as a broken limb? Again... make it at least believable enough to watch... hell, in 'Event Horizon' Lawrance "Larry" Fishburne wasn't a super-human... he bled (as you or I would do), and in fact, he dies!

Ok... here's the tall and the skinny of this thing... I enjoyed parts of this film... some parts I REALLY enjoyed... but overall I really can't recommend this film as anything other than a matinee when EVERY other possible choice has been exhausted, or definately a 99cent rental from the grocery store (when it comes out). If you really like Kurt Russel, and unbelievable characters and completely predictable plots don't bother you, this may be something you should see. Personally, I can't even recommend it on virtue of the special effects alone, as stellar as they are. I suggest biting the bullet and seeing "Ronin" or even "Antz" instead...

'Soldier' is Rated "R" for extreme violence, murder, adult situations, and language.

-The Empire


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