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Soldier

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 11/11/00 16:20:05

"Continuing my recent tradition of enjoying movies that suck..."
3 stars (Average)

Soldier took a lot of crap when it opened. "Kurt Russell only has a dozen lines" they screamed. "Cliche!" yelled others. So I didn't go see the thing. I believed the naysayers when they unanimously said nay. And it was probably a good move to do so, for while Soldier isn't the worst film I've had the misfortune to sit through, at least I didn't spend money on it, and without the burden of expectation in regards to getting my money's worth, I actually quite liked the thing. Who'd have thunk it, eh? Superstar and Soldier in the same month. Either I'm losing my mind or the rest of you are.

Kurt Russell is a career soldier in the future. A guy snatched from the crib as a kid and raised as an unthinking killer. But hark, times have changed and a new breed of genetically altered soldier has made Kurt obsolete. So the big lug hitches a ride on a garbage carrier headed for a dumping planet and finds himself making friends with the local inhabitants, which means endless days spent beating the crap out of a steel watertank, scaring the kiddies, killing snakes, refusing hugs and learning how to be human... until the new soldiers hit the dumping planet on a mission to destroy anyone hanging about.

Sure, Soldier isn't perfect. In fact, it treads the line between cliche and original thought very seldomly, more often than not moving into and stomping all over 'cliche' territory. The concept is fine enough, but the script doesn't back up that concept in any way worth mentioning. The possibility of genetic designer soldiers being brought about some time in the future isn't beyond the realms of possibility, and nor is the possibility that an upgrade in technology would leave those soldiers superceded and looking for a reason to live. But if you were to take Soldier as a theoretical building block, you'd be left with nothing more than... a building block. The ideas are not followed through, opinions aren't established, it's like a knock knock joke that ends with the knock knock.

Russell doesn't suck. Trust me, I'm no Russell fan, he wears far too much mascara for my liking (check out Tombstone if you don't believe me, he looks like a two dollar ho), but let's give credit where it's due, he only has eleven or so lines in this script, none of them longer than about five words. Due to this he has to spend a lot of time 'emoting', which would be hard normally, but damn hard when your character doesn't actually possess emotions.

Kurt: "What's my motivation?"
Director: "Stare, panic internally, stare at boobies, frown, stare."

The longer this film goes, the lamer it gets, but it does have a bit going for it. There are times when you're glad of the lack of chatter, but those times are punctuated by long periods of wondering why there's an orchestral score banging away in the background. The action sequences make all the right noises, but they don't last long enough to be memorable. And though the ending threatens to veer into formula city, it manages to keep clear of groan-inducing simplicity.

In short, it's cable fare. Obviously Russell was well sold on the concept, but it would have been nice if the producers had tried to match Russell's level of dedication to the project. Hire a screenwriter you morons.

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