Soldier Film Details
Overview: A soldier trained from birth is deemed obsolete and dumped on a waste planet where he is reluctantly taken in by a community of defenseless, stranded wayfarers.
Tagline: Left for dead on a remote planet for obsolete machines and people, a fallen hero has one last battle to fight
Review: Nine out of ten might seem like a high mark to give for a straight to video sci-fi movie that’s been vilified at the US box office and roundly criticized as the poorest movie of Kurt Russell’s career. I have my reasons. Firstly when you read negative reviews of this film, they usually start with the wooden nature of Russell’s interpretation of Todd, the eponymous Soldier. I’m going to start here too, with my surprising statement that this is possibly the finest piece of acting I’ve seen Russell pull off. Todd is an emotional cripple and suffering from intense PTSD – this movie being written before the phenomenon was as widely recognized as it is now. The portrayal is spot on. Todd is withdrawn, uncommunicative and a loner. He suffers from irrational anxiety – keyed to a fever pitch by training that teaches him to analyze every movement and interaction with another human being for signs of betrayal and danger. His hyper-focus brings with it an inability to comprehend the bigger continuum that the tasks he is given to do sit within – there is a scene where he cuts himself slicing carrots and continues to work unfazed, not cleaning up the cut or the blood. Many interpret this as a sign of his physical toughness and focus on the job at hand, but it is also a sign that he is simply performing the requested task by rote – not comprehending the relationship between the vegetables he’s preparing and the food that will be eaten later. Todd’s dialog is spartan to say the least – the two big talking scenes he gets are central to the plot of the movie and both underline the bleak nature of his existence. Fear and Discipline we are told. Always. Fear to keep him pumped up to a hyper alert state where the smallest detail will not pass him by, keeping him ready to react on a knife edge. Discipline to hold him in check through his fear, to overcome it and perform tactically. The inference is that he has no time to think and cannot afford feelings. Many viewers have different interpretations of his reaction to the hug from Nielsen’s Sandra – but I believe you have to interpret it from the perspective of a human who’s only experience of an embrace is in combat – the trembling represents him suppressing his fight / flight instincts reacting to the fear of being grappled, his movement and vision restricted – Fear and Discipline indeed. Then there is the subtext of his abandonment (Twice in fact) – so representative of the way our society tends to toss infantrymen onto the rubbish heap of society when they’ve served their terms. 40% of the unemployed are ex-military in OUR world, in HIS it can only be worse. Russell quickly picks up the mantle of Mace’s responsibility to his wife and child – desperately in need of a mission, even one with such a high likelihood of his death. Then there is the military subtext too – the conflict between Busey’s Church and the hotshot from HQ, Mekum. Mekum’s new men are faster, stronger, more accurate and aggressive. Any one of them could pound Todd into the ground – but it’s not about the tools you have it’s how you use them. An incentivized Todd given the freedom to exercise his initiative and acting without the numbing effect of perceived superiority utilizes ambush tactics and sneaky tricks to cut a swathe through the newer unit – sent in without support, cover or reconnaissance. It is a reminder that military power cannot make up for a failure in leadership. There are many other subtle themes. When a film is shot and scripted so minimally, it leaves plenty of white space for your own interpretations to take root. Watch Soldier with an open mind and see what it teaches YOU.
Country: United States, United Kingdom
Duration: 99 min
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
Also known as: ソルジャー,El último soldado,兵人,Soldier,Karys,Soldado Implacável,O veteranos tou mellontos,Sarbaz,Войник,Zolnierz przyszlosci,O Soldado do Futuro,Žoldák: Legie zkázy,Солдат,Star Force Soldier,Galaktyczny wojownik,Le soldat,Sõdur,Asker,Vojnik,Ο βετεράνος του μέλλοντος,A katona,Soldatul,Žoldnier: Légia skazy,Vojak