Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Soldier (1998) Review:

It is very rare that Kurt Russell makes a mediocre film. He is a very talented actor. Many of his character roles have been very convincing when they're need to be and is good at making laughs too. But what made him sign onto this project was beyond my comprehension. It's hard enough to accept that the story itself could be passed off as a cinema production, let alone this be a good movie. There was so much more director Paul W.S. Anderson could have done with this.

Todd with the rest of his bio-engineered buddies
Kurt Russell is Todd, a genetically altered human being, created to serve in the military. Todd is a muscular, silent, and deadly warrior. His skills are top notch and his killing is callous. He has no fear of anything. He is simply a human version of the T-800 endoskeleton from The Terminator (1984). That's cool stuff. However the character of Todd is another story. Todd is basically the equivalence of having a conversation with a rock. He has no social skills and his ability to communicate is through violence. That's not a fun character to watch when one is trying to understand them.

But nothing lasts forever. Soon the people who bio-engineered Todd are able to create even more powerful human soldiers. It is to Todd's discretion that he is discharged and eliminated. What the higher command doesn't know is that Todd's not dead. And the planet that he was dumped on is now going to receive some unexpected help. Now it is up to Todd to protect a group of people from being annihilated and break them free from their universal prison. This is where he begins to gain the ability to be more human. But by the time this happens, the movie is dismally over. The reason the terminator is more amiable than Todd is how fast it is able to process information and become more human. Todd is not a computer and it takes him a long time to start being a likable character.

It's good when it comes to this....but
it takes forever to get there!
The planet that these refugees hide in is dull. From background to front screen, everything is the same color; beige. Even the sky is beige. The ground is made up of a granular dirt and it's always windy. All this does is prevent the audience from having a clear image of what is going on in every scene, not to mention, everything is covered in sand. The plot lagged as well. This is supposed to be a sci-fi action film, not a drama. And that's all that kept getting pushed on me while I was watching this for more than half the time.

It wasn't until the last few acts did I really enjoy this film. Why - because finally there was some action. The army that Todd once belonged to returns to the planet he was dropped into to exterminate the outcasts that he lived with. It's at this point that Russell finally puts those muscles to work, especially when it comes to that Gatling gun! It reminded me of Arnold Schwarzenegger too much but it was fun to remember. It's really cool how Todd was able to defy all odds and take on an entire army and come out with only a few scratches. However, this is all I can give it. The ending is nice too but in no way could I see Todd being anything but what he was "brought up" to be.

Kurt Russell probably had fun but as for audiences go, the feeling may be the complete opposite. Nothing is new, fascinating or funny about this in general. The few action scenes are the only entertainment here.

Points Earned --> 5:10

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