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  • A rare treat...
    I must say that this is one of my favorite DVDs. I am a real fan of science fiction movies that have a real plot and show something special about the human experience. This movie has both in good measure. The movie shows the transition of a person from machine to protector. I love a good redemption movie. If you like empty action, then you might give this movie a pass. But if you like your action to be seasoned with thought then this is the flick for you.

    I just wish they remastered this in Blue Ray. I'd buy another in a heart beat. ...more info
  • Missing In Action
    On second thought, my title to this review should be "Missing THE Action", which is the film's dominating and damning problem: starring action hero Kurt Russell ("Escape from New York") and directed by genre resident Paul Anderson ("Mortal Kombat"), I expected "Soldier" to be a veritable action-powerhouse...yet the film goes beyond missing its mark and lacks any definitive direction - unsure if it wants to be a an action flick, a survival story, or a social critique.

    "Todd" (Russell) is a soldier born into and raised in your typical lifelong military program: taught to kill as soon as he can walk, he excels in his training and becomes the callous veteran of many conflicts. However, when a rival program pits its stronger, faster units against the older models in an exhibition, Todd is presumed killed and his body is dumped on a designated garbage disposal planet. Here, he settles in with a close-knit community of exiles, and slowly begins to attain a level of humanity he never knew...until the new breed of soldiers, in an effort to gain combat experience, is dispatched to the planet to weed out its inhabitants.

    As said before, the film lacks action - or, at the very least, lacks satisfying action: with the exception of two encounters with rival soldier "Caine" (a hunky Jason Scott Lee, "The Jungle Book"), Russell has no hand-to-hand fights, and the only firefight - a slow-moving 17-on-1 shoot-`em-up - doesn't occur until the film's last twenty minutes. The rest of the movie focuses solely on Todd getting acquainted and trying to fit in with his hosts, and for a lack of a more delicate phrase, this is very boring: though an accomplished actor, Russell lacks the subtlety in this film to make his rarely-speaking character appear like anything besides a guy who doesn't understand what the heck is going on - lots of pursed-lip, wide-eyed staring. But he calls everyone "sir" - even women.

    The rest of the performers - including Connie Nielsen ("One Hour Photo") and Gary Busey ("Under Siege") - are generally passable in their portrayals, but aren't given an opportunity to add to the script. The film's graphics are visibly outdated, and the sets range from okay-ish to dollar-budget. However, the more significant fault lies in the film's sense of morality: the faction that bred Russell's character is seen exercising cruelty and infanticide, yet when the bigger and better soldiers with the cockier commander (Jason Isaacs, "The Patriot") arrive, the folks behind Todd's creation are suddenly turned into good guys. In addition, the over-the-top militarism displayed has no purpose: it's never revealed why a program to turn out such soldiers is even required, and the attack on the exiled colony happens for no other reason than that the commander is a jerk.

    While I was expecting Anderson's trademark style of pop-direction and not much of a story, "Soldier" is a significant step below average for the man who brought us "Mortal Kombat" and "Resident Evil", and it's not hard to see why the film flopped back in 1998. In short, this movie isn't going to stir too much interest with either sci-fi or action fans, and Kurt Russell devotees have definitely seen better from their man. Leave this one on the shelf unless you're desperate....more info
  • Soldier
    Kurt Russell is good as a future solder in a special unit. When the new improved versions are introduced his years of experience almost kills one of them but him and two others are killed and left on a dump planet. The only problem is Kurt wasn't quite dead yet. Some survivors of a ship crash that has lived there for years nurse him back to health. Although he was raised to have no feelings and be the best soldier he could be he develops a liking for these civilians. So much so when the improved versions do an Op on the planet and anyone there is considered hostiles, he defends the civilians. Good action movie if you enjoy movies like "No Escape" and "Universal Soldier". Good quality DVD and fair replayability. - C. Luster...more info
  • Soldier
    Few actors could accomplish what Kurt Russell does with this character. He manages to convey so much without uttering more than a dozen lines. Some are one word lines at that. He turns a cold-blooded killer into a flawed and likeable hero. This movie show cases true talent....more info
  • Great Entertainment, Great Acting
    This is a fantastic science fiction movie with great action, storyline, and acting. Kurt Russel is particularly fantastic in this because he barely even says 25 words the whole show. Yet, he is able to portray such a complex character that transforms as the storyline unfolds.

    After being trained from birth to be an elite killer soldier, following orders at all costs, and completely devoid of humanity and human feelings, Todd finds himself disposed of when he is replaced by a better soldier. He is dumped on a waste disposal planet where survivors of a crash are living. He lives among them and ultimately defends them when the "better soldiers" arrive on a training mission.

    This movie moves very fast, so we are not bored at all. And the storyline is so interesting, though somewhat bloody, that we are engrossed the entire time. I recommend this for fans of science fiction and unusual science fiction since Kurt Russel does such a good job as a main character who barely speaks but tells an incredible story....more info
  • Terrific B movie action adventure science fiction film
    Written as sort of a sequel to Blade Runner (it takes place within the same universe) by David Peeples (Unforgiven, Blade Runner), Soldier is a rarity now days; it's a B-Movie masquerading as an A movie. I said it was a rarity because it also doesn't have any pretentions to be anything but that. Kurt Russell plays a man born and bred to be a ruthless, brutal soldier. When he's injured, he's discarded like yesterday's news on a planet where much of Earth's waste is dumped. When the latest genetically enhanced soldiers arrive to dispose of the inhabitants of the planet, Russell's character is pushed into action; he's discovered the barest hints of humanity and compassion that was always denied him before. He's taken to these underdogs and they to him almost as a family.

    In many respects the plot for Solider could have been lifted from a Clint Eastwood Western. Here's The Man With No Name suddenly discovering an emotional core he never knew he had. He helps the less fortunate not because of pity but because he realizes he finally belongs. Russell's performance is masterful. While the Russell doesn't have much dialog, he manages to convey what makes the character tick with minimum discussion. Russell uses body language to communicate as much as the dialog. In many respects, he's a variation on the character of Rick Deckard from Blade Runner. He's a man of action that ceases to exist between assignments. This cypher like character suddenly discovers he is more than his past and his actions. In the process he rediscovers his own humanity. Soldier makes a complimentary piece to the Mad Max series.

    The film uses the action and science fiction genre for a springboard to examine a lot of different themes and issues but, make no mistake, it is still an ACTION film. The stunts are well choregraphed and the visual effects effective but it isn't drenched in the CGI we've come to expect movies of this type to have.

    The DVD transfer is very good as is the audio quality. The extras includes commentary by director Paul W. S. Anderson (Event Horizon, Resident Evil), a theatrical trailer, production notes and both the wide and full screen editions of the movie. My only complaint is the fact that writer David Peeples isn't given any room for a commentary track. Since he's truly the author of the film (and it was intended as a sequel of sorts or companion piece to Blade Runner), it would have been very interesting to get his take on the finished product.

    Solider isn't Citizen Kane nor does it pretend to be; it's like many of the classic B-Movies of the 50's to the 80's (most notably The Terminator)in that there's far more than meets the eye going on here....more info

  • Ugh, this old theme again?

    Anyway, I would call this movie mediocre. Okay plot, but nothing to expansive. The acting is okay, but over emotional and predictable. The plotline in particular is very predictable. From the moment Kurt Russell falls off the rope wall fight event, with his opponent, whom he scars, you know that you will see his scarred opponent again elsewhere in the movie. The movie's main villain, a westpoint snob, is like a Snidley Whiplash ripoff, with a weapon wielding Dudley Do-right ...

    The action is decent, but the usual predictable implications of honor, and veiled morals are evident.

    In short nothing special. Seen a million others just like it....more info

  • A very emotional action film! My mom was in tears!
    As far as memorable action movies come, I have extremely hard time forgetting Curt Russell's Soldier. The premise of Soldier is great. It is about a ice-human killing machine who wants to feel. But unlike other people Todd (Russell) grew up under millitary control that brainwashed him to be nothing more but a killer. It is hard journey for Todd, he has to become human and in the process he will kick some serious butt....more info
  • Expression
    excellent action movie, but falls too much under a basic "action movie" during the end. THe things that save this from being a Jean-Cluad Van Damme film are one, Kurt Russels expressions on his face( ANd the fact he BLINKS ONLY ONCE!) and the unique approach to the battlefield of tomorrow. THe beginning with the kids being shot and them witnissing boars being slaughtered is the genious of how paul anderson can make things disturbing (EVENT HORIZON)....more info
  • Fear . . .Discipline
    This is one of the great, unsung science fiction films of recent times. The story revolves around a future where soldiers are segregated and trained from the crib to be merciless, killing machines. Kurt Russel, in a great performance, plays one of these soldiers who are soon to be replaced by a genetically enhanced new breed of soldier. Sgt. Todd 3465 (Russel) is believed killed in a training exercise and disposed of like yesterday's garbage on a waste-disposal planet. He survives, finds refuge amongst a colony of planet refugees, and tries to fit in.

    This is, on a very rewarding level, a tremendous action film. Russel's nemesis in the film, Sgt. Caine 607 (played by Jason Scott Lee) is an imposing presence, and the fight scenes between the two are excellent and convincing. The special effects and battle scenes are impressive as well, and really transport you to a harsh, bleak, metallic future.

    On another level the film is about the discovery of emotion in the highly trained soldier as he tries to fit into a more normal society. Russel is simply outstanding in the roll, doing an incredible acting job. He speaks a total of about 20 words in the whole film, but his internal struggles are always clear and very moving.

    This "learning human emotions" trick is one several science fiction films have attempted, and most are embarrassing and painful to watch, dripping with sugar and sap. "Soldier" excels in this department as Russel makes the shift from killing machine to feeling man in a subtle, believable way. The film is just very, very well done and well written. The acting is fine all the way around, and the dialogue is completely absent of those wince-producing moments films of this nature often have.

    Over time, this has become one of my favorite movies. I have watched it several times with increased enjoyment each time. I have quoted dialogue from this movie on more than one occasion, particularly the moment when Sgt. Todd tries to express his feelings, and all he can verbalize is "fear . . . discipline."

    This movie is carefully crafted, intelligent, and hugely entertaining from the opening credits onward....more info

  • Kurt Russell does it all with his face.
    As much as I like the storyline, what makes this film is the fine job Kurt Russell does with only a half-dozen or so lines. It is the lines on his face that convey what is going on inside this charactor whose only feelings are "fear and discipline". This is a terrific story of awakening humanity in an individual deprived from birth of such things, and some of the best scenes are between Russell and Connie Nelson's character as he tries to fit into the frightening world of normal life. I knocked off a couple of stars for "borrowed" plot lines from similar-themed films, and gave one back for Russell's fine performance....more info
  • 5 Star Soldier
    This movie is a must for every action fan.
    The DVD contains a perfect video- and audio transfer + some nice extras. Kurt Russell did a great job. He must trained so hard to come in superb shape for that movie.
    I think he is a great actor and shows the audience that there is still hope and love in that destroyed character "Todd", not with words but with mime....more info
  • Good acting, but poor scientific verisimilitude
    SOLDIER is very good praxeological ("soft") speculative fiction in that it employs thoughtful extrapolation of sociological and psychological trends to establish the premises upon which it is based. What's more, anyone who decries Kurt Russell's work in this film betrays an ignorance of acting and a lack of good taste that fits the silly booger perfectly for a career as a newspaper movie critic. More punishing insult I cannot possibly offer.

    The problem with this movie is that there are aspects of the production that beat the living hell out of us "hard" science fiction fen. Back in 1969, in his essay "Science Fiction: its nature, faults and virtues" (*The Science Fiction Novel*), Robert A. Heinlein made the following comment on the genre:

    "A handy short definition of almost all science fiction might read: realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world, past and present, and on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientific method.

    "To make this definition cover all science fiction (instead of 'almost all') it is necessary only to strike out the word 'future.'"

    In 1981, Heinlein followed up in "Ray Guns and Space Ships" (*Expanded Universe*) with:

    "Science Fiction is speculative fiction in which the author takes as his first postulate the real world as we know it, including all established facts and natural laws. The result can be extremely fantastic in content, but it is not fantasy; it is legitimate -- and often very tightly reasoned -- speculation about the possibilities of the real world. This category excludes rocket ships that make U-turns, serpent men of Neptune that lust after human maidens, and stories by authors who flunked their Boy Scout merit badge tests in descriptive astronomy."

    And that last particularly sums up the true science fiction fan's problems with SOLDIER. Posit a spacegoing civilization and tell me, please, that they would ever bother going through the expense (economic as well as thermodynamic) and bother of hauling refined metal and other salvagable scrap materials out of one gravity well and then carelessly dumping the stuff on the surface of a planet somewhere else (i.e., at the bottom of yet *ANOTHER* gravity well). Even if they were planning future colonization of that windy mudball, anyone but a mundane (or a dimwitted fan of "soft" sci-fi) would know that all that junk could be more efficiently and cost-effectively used in a microgravity environment (in other words: up in orbit) as raw materials for any contemplated new manufactures. Once you've achieved the technology necessary for spaceflight, it's simply easier and less costly to make most rough and finished goods in space than on a planetary surface. That's true today, and cannot be otherwise in the future.

    The whole of this idiocy is summed up by the director's use of a particularly gormless background image: a bloody great aircraft carrier flopped over on its port side (apparently the *USS Franklin Delano Roosevelt* -- like you couldn't set the damned thing down on its keel?) with the island superstructure sticking up at a 45-degree angle. Yeesh.

    SOLDIER is an entertaining movie, and I extoll Kurt Russell's work in this film. He is generally quite horribly underappreciated as an actor, and his professionalism -- here as elsewhere -- is beyond reproach. This having been said, would it have killed the silly sonsabitches responsible for the production values in SOLDIER to have gotten input from some people who understand "established facts and natural laws" and who aren't (like writer David Webb Peoples, director Paul W.S. Anderson, and production designer David L. Sawyer) total and absolute mundane cement-heads?

    Note: One of the earlier reviewers mentioned that SOLDIER is set in the same plenum as the inappropriately-titled 1982 movie BLADE RUNNER (drawn, like so many of the past two decades' ghodawful dimwitted "skiffy" flicks, from the work of hack SF writer Philip K. Dick [1928-1982], who is the unspeakably mundane Modern Language Association's present-day darling, his signal claim to fame being a Hugo Award given for THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE [1963], and who has been for the most part largely -- and rightfully -- ignored by hard science fiction fen). The reviewer's surmise is incorrect, as there are also in-joke references to a bunch of other sci-fi movies, including Russell's own ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and the Star Trek film THE WRATH OF KHAN....more info

  • It doesn't get much worse than this!
    You know when you're sitting around on a Saturday afternoon, and some pathetically terrible, 1980's sci-fi movie comes on and it's SO bad that you end up watching it all? That's exactly what happened to me with Soldier, but this movie was made in 1998!!

    This is the kind of movie, acting, and directing that gives sci-fi a bad name outside a few franchises, and ensures we don't get much in the way of original movies. Kurt Russell packs wide-eyed looks into the camera as a substitute for acting; the director uses generic music and sudden and *dramatic* slow-motion shots to add 'feeling' to the movie. The world is eternally dark and gloomy, only lit by the constant over-bright fires.
    Kurt Russell is too big a name for this movie, and none of the other parts are done any justice by the terrible acting.

    One of the worst movies I've seen in a LONG time! Ranks up there with Battlefield Earth and Lost in Space....more info

  • A Great Ride
    I can't even count how many times I got sucked into this film, I must have watched the thing a dozen times now and enjoyed every one. I'm not meaning to, but it's on the Dish or I just feel like an action flick and there you go. It's a great action film and portrays a soldier's transformation to human. I agree with some of the other reviews that Kurt does a remarkable job portraying his role without ever saying much at all, that was on purpose - a part of the character. It has one of the all-time great lines when confronted with the fact he was wildly outnumbered and asked what he was going to do. He turns and doesn't even blink and says "I'm going to kill them all."...more info
  • Blade Runner 2
    One aspect of "Soldier" that a lot of people miss is the fact that the story is set in the same universe as "Blade Runner". For instance, Tanhauser Gate gate is mentioned. This was the same battle in which the replicant Roy Batty fought in. In addition, when Kurt Russell arrives on the waste planet, you can see a discarded spinner vehicle in the background. Very cool. As the colonel says something about DNA recombination, I would assume that the replacement soldiers are replicants as well....more info
  • To enter the future you have to leave the past.
    Soldier is a rare experience that is far more than the plot, which has been outlined by the editorial comments. This is a journey taken by a strong warrior into his own humanity. I cannot even count the number of times that I have watched this movie, but I know it is more than twenty. I see more each time.

    Kurt Russell's extraordinary and powerful acting skills make Sergeant Todd real. Successfully creating a character without dialogue is an art -- and he mastered it. This movie provides insight into today's violent world as well.

    Todd has known nothing but war or training since he was born. He was conscripted in the hospital; he never knew love, or laughter, or how to play. He obeyed orders and did not speak unless spoken to. The perfect soldier could not have emotions. If the only way to kill an enemy was to kill innocent victims, then he did what was required.

    Todd is the best soldier of the "old timers," and he has been bested a new, genetically engineered soldier. One of the most poignant scenes is on the world where he was dumped for dead. The survivors that created a life on Arcadia are nervous to have a soldier in their midst, and ask Todd why he is there alone. He stands, no expression on his faces, and says, "I was replaced by a better soldier, Sir."

    Although he acknowledges that he is no longer good enough to be a soldier, as his body heals he works to grow stronger and returns to the training rituals that have ruled his entire life. As he sees the interaction in the group that saved him, he is conflicted by emotions that he never experienced. When asked what he thought about, he says, "Fear. Fear and training."

    It is extremely painful for him to be exiled from these people because he is too strong, and his violent training is too dangerous. He does not understand what he feels. This is my favorite scene. He is alone in his exile, sitting in a concrete drainpipe with tears running down his face. He wipes the tears away, and with the skill of a great actor, Russell shows that he does not even know what they are.

    The arrogant commander of the new soldiers considers Arcadia the perfect first "war." Anyone on the planet was considered hostile. Three soldiers attacked the small group, killing without provocation. They have no hope until Todd returns and saves the group. When he is asked what he would do, he says, "Kill them all, Sir." He will not let the group help him because "A soldier deserves a soldier."

    Good writing means that the hero must have an enemy equal to his abilities, and this has great writing. In facing the final soldier, Todd's intelligence wins the battle.

    I am passionate about this movie. The acting, plot, special effects, and depth earn five stars.

    Victoria Tarrani...more info

  • Got slammed in the box office but not THAT bad.
    I remember this movie. I don't think it topped the 30 million mark for domestic gross. I though that was unfair. Marketing had to do with it more than anything. The movie is not great but it isn't bad either. Sure it has some cheesy moments and some ridiculous dialogue. Very stupid at times too.

    Well let's get on with the review. Special FX: This is where it shines and also has problems. The quality of the FX fluctuate. Some scenes are so well done. The sets are on the whole beautiful, the wind scenes are done as good as they can be. It's the several moments that just cut right into the big picture. (any space scene with a spaceship, or any scene with a moving projectile) The matte painting, sets are very well done but some scenes just look too fake.

    Plot: Okay so what do you expect from an action flick. Plot will rarely score points. It is the predictability and cliches that actually take this movie down. You can guess every twist and turn. At least you won't be surprised.

    Acting: Again in an action flick this takes a back seat. There isn't any acting that stands out to be "BAD". And you are not going to expect any "GREAT" acting either. Kurt russell doesn't speak much. It isn't his fault. It's the character.

    ETC aspects: I really don't have anything else to pick on except the unnecessary gore at times.

    Okay final verdict. This is a viewable movie. I guess I wouldn't buy it because you would be able to watch it 3 times max. Bet renting it won't be too bad. 3.5 stars. Again I think it should have earned at least 40million domestic. Too bad it just collapsed. It wasn't THAT bad. Just one of those watchable films on some evening you have nothing else to do....more info

  • great,but a little pale
    this movie is pretty cool,it has good action,violence wich keeps you watching thing i didn't like was the lame story about todd getting trashed,the movie in a way was pale,but still cool....more info
  • Great Action
    Kurt Russel is a genetically enhanced soldier who has no emotion and knows how to do only one thing: kill. If this doesn't make you curious or excited, then this movie is definitely not for you. If it does however, look a little further. The opening 15 minutes of Soldier are great; true action at its best. The story follows Sgt. Todd's (Kurt Russel) introduction to the program from birth and takes us all the way up to present day. However, what would a movie be without a conflict?? Enter Michael Chicklis who plays the evil commander of a new, more advanced breed of soldier. You guessed it, Sgt. Todd is obsolete, and has been replaced. But Todd will not go down without a fight and of course seeks his revenge. Here's where Soldier falls short. Todd is taken to a waste disposal planet and left for dead. He is taken in by a tribe of nomads who make their home on the desolate planet. The middle hour of this movie, where Todd lives with the nomads is just plain boring. You might as well fast forward to the end, where Todd confronts his evil commander once and for all. This is a great movie for a night when you aren't in the mood for anything to heavy. Pure action, blood, guts and lots of shooting make it an above average adventure flick. Pick up this movie, also, simply for Jason Scott Lee's performance as an extreme badass, one of the new more advanced soldiers. Overall, a good movie....more info
  • Coulda been a contenda
    There were moments in this movie when I thought that I was watching a movie that would be one of my favorites of all time, a classic sci-fi flick for the ages. But then there would be scenes that seemed to be totally miscast, poorly directed, or filmed as if it had the budget of a made-for-cable movie. Here are just some examples of the dichotomy to be found in this movie:

    Best actors in this movie: Kurt Russell, Jason Scott Lee, Connie Nielsen. Kurt Russell's solid acting with very few lines of dialogue has been commented upon already. Jason Scott Lee exudes power and a robot-like menace. If you are a fan of Connie Nielsen, she has never been more achingly beautiful than in this movie (not even in "Gladiator")

    Worst actors: the little boy who played the son of Connie Nielsen, and the child who played the young Kurt Russell in that brief flashback.

    How important is the role of a child actor to keep our imaginations locked in for a sci-fi movie? VERY IMPORTANT! Just contrast the movies "Aliens" with "Phantom Menace". "Aliens" succeeded as a sci-fi classic because EVERY actor in the movie came through with convincing performances. James Cameron squeezed a fabulous performance out of the little girl, Carrie Henn, in "Aliens" (so much so that she never acted again). On the other hand, despite some superb actors and performances, and a whopping amount of special effects, "Phantom Menace" could never quite shake the feeling left by Jake Lloyd, whenever he was on screen, that we were really watching a home movie of a little boy trying to act.

    Best music and scene combo: "Night Ride Across the Caucasus" by Lorena McKennit, played during the scene where the settlers first bring Russell back to their settlement. Hauntingly beautiful music played across mesmerizing scenes of desolation. Pay attention to this piece, it will make you into a big fan of Lorena McKennit.

    All the scenes with Kurt Russell and Connie Nielsen together were great. You could just feel the unspoken and growing attraction between them, the longing desire, the bonds holding them back (marriage for Nielsen, a soldier's duty for Russell). It was too obvious and too bad that Nielsen's husband had to die so conveniently for them. He was a nice guy, after all, and the part was well-acted. I would have preferred that their stupid little boy was ofted, and that Nielsen, her husband, AND Kurt Russell sailed off into space together at the end.

    Worst and cheesiest scene: The entire fight scene where the monster truck ("Crawlers") came in with the Soldiers to attack the settlement. This alleged fighting vehicle looked more like a converted garbage truck (apologies to sanitation workers everywhere) especially with the Soldiers hanging on from the sides and back of this vehicle (a la sanitation workers), where they got picked off easily. The whole scene, down to the soldiers' costumes, looked like it was designed by one of those Japanese kid show studios - Digimon, Pokemon, Power Rangers, or whatever

    Sci-fi movies often borrow shamelessly from each other, but sometimes the borrowing is so obvious as to be a near duplicate. The most obvious copycat scene here in this movie was the final fight scene in the pouring rain between Kurt Russell and Jason Scott Lee - "Cyborg" with Jean Claude Van Damme did it better first.

    All in all, "Soldier" is a movie with many memorable moments, both outstandingly great, and outstandingly bad....more info

  • Science Fiction at it's finest.
    How many actors do you know who can star in movies ranging from Escape From New York, to Tequila Sunrise to The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes and remain highly respected in every genre of the movie industry? I can only think of one, and he's in this sci-fi shoot-em-up, playing a man of very few words. Yes, Kurt Russell has very few lines, but that's what makes his performance all the better. Not often do roles come along where an entire character is expressed through facial expression and body language, but our boy Russell does us proud. Not only is it quirky in that sense, but it just has that great sci-fi feel, like Dune, and Alien. It's something that's very hard to describe, but you could imagine this story a part of an off-beat sci-fi anthology book you bought at a dime-store that exceeded your meager expectations. Hardcore sci-fi, maybe? At any rate, it's a very good movie, minus two stars for being somewhat forgettable, of course that's not to say you WANT to forget it....more info
  • Entertaining Action Flick!
    Soldier is an action sci-fi film. It is quite entertaining compared to many in the same genre and has more credibility compared to Universal Soldiers. First of all, unlike Van Damme, Russell can act. Secondly, the BS in the other film about dead soldiers walking about and being bullet proof is way too far-fetched. Soldier is also supported by a very good cast notably, Gary Busey, Connie Nielsen and Jason Scott Lee. Okay, the story is old and there's not a lot new but if you view it as just an action flick, you will enjoy it. See it and judge for yourself....more info
  • This film doesn`t even know when to stop filming
    The producers and directors should of known better that this film was going to be a flop long before the cameras started to roll. Kurt Russell in my mind the most underused & underappreciated actor in Hollywood Plays Todd, a loyal Army solider who after a lifetime of faithful service is replaced by a genatically superior effcient soilder Caine 607 Todd loses a fight to Caine 607 and is soon discarded by his surperiors and dumped on a waste disposal planet called Arcadia. And in time with the help of the locals he regains his strength and gets his rematch and kills Caine. With all the massive spectaular visual effects can`t save this film from repeating the same cliches other films in the genre have done, and baseically this type of subject has otfen been explored enough in UNIVERSAL SOLIDER 1 & 2. Unessecary vilolence and preditabillty make this film unbearble to watch Russell with his own unique acting talent and ability can do so much better. This film is a waste of time....more info
  • Regular people are the best critics!
    Soldier is a movie that bombed at the box office. Made for a reported $75 million, it didn't make back a quarter of that. Critics on [...] gave it a 2 percent consensus, which makes it one of the worst movies ever as fair as the critics were concerned. I have to ask why?

    Like most of the other people here on the "Zon," the movie accomplished what it was looking to and did it believably. There were no notable bad actors, overly bad scenes, the plot was thin, but fine for most action movies. The only thing I can think of is that critics just don't get science fiction as well. They more understand the hundredth review they do on a revenge theme, or a crime and punishment theme, or more character driven personalized type of saving my daughter type of action movie. Throw a spaceship in and they are lost!

    In a lot of ways I thought soldier made a good point on how we handle our military today. It should be observed that soldiers returning from long stints fighting terrorists, and then trying to re-enter society is going to have problems. It also may have shown some light on the often unthinking, unfeeling attitude you see with how the government treats its soldiers.

    Despite the subtle politics, Soldier is a good action movie. Much of the movie played out in a similar vein like movies such as Die Hard, and Rambo that fill the action venues. Kirk Russell is convincing as a trained killing machine that no personal ambitions outside of doing his duty as a soldier and doing it well. When asked to describe his thoughts, feelings, he answers "Fear and Discipline, Sir."

    I'm a science fiction and an action movie fan. I still doubt I would have committed so much money to a movie with nothing special to attract larger audiences. This is a movie that should have been made a little more on the cheap. When I saw the production values on TV, I wondered why I had never heard of this movie. Probably because the movie had little fanfare, and may have opened, then closed in the same week. Still it's a good movie, and I'm glad to see the other reviewers here at Amazon, know what they like. ...more info
  • Action flick with a heart
    I didn't expect to like this sf/f action movie when I picked it up, but it surprised me by having quite a bit of heart to it. There are still too many things going up in fire for my taste, but the characters are good and the trash planet of Arcadia is beautifully shot. All of the actors turn in good performances. Of special note are Jason Isaacs as the sleazy Colonel Mekum, Gary Busey as Captain Church, Jason Scott Lee as Caine, the super soldier, James Black as Riley (he has one, maybe two lines total in the whole movie yet conveys so much through his eyes and face that you come away feeling that you know something about his character), Connie Nielsen as Sandra, Brenda Wehle as Hawkins, and Sean Pertwee as Mace. It's a good ensemble cast, and while no one performance overwhelms the others, I was quite impressed with Sean Pertwee's turn as Mace. He has a quiet presence on screen that makes you want to watch him and see what he does....more info
  • " Fear ... fear and discipline. "
    The typical scifi story of a trained and battle worn warrior chosen at birth to be a deadly and obedient soldier of Nietzschean proportions that finds his sensitive side among the inhabitants of a planet used as a garbage heap for space faring travelers. Warrior spends childhood killing and conquering, warrior spends adulthood killing and conquering, warrior as veteran is disposed of in place of faster and stronger warriors, warrior finds love, community, sensitivity, and sheds tears, warrior mercilessly kills and conquers yet again. Great movie, great science fiction, definitely worth checking out....more info
  • Humanity vs Inhumanity at its most basic
    Soldier was a film that I didn't particularly want to see but now it's one of my favorites. Everytime I watch I get more out of it. Kurt Russell is perfect for Todd. He's a man who was chosen at birth to be a "Soldier". Soliders are trained to only speak when spoken to by an officer first, to show no emotion, no mercy, and follow orders with very little room for thinking.

    Then a newer, genetically engineered soldier is introduced and the group that Todd fought with is demoted to go-fers for the 'real' soldiers. Todd, who was used to test the ability of the 'new' models was injured, rendered unconscious and put out with a garbage run.

    It's at this point that the movie really takes off. Todd is helped by settlers who are where they shouldn't be. He has no training in how to react among 'normal' people. There are families here. You can see that he's trying to figure out the parameters of this new existence and if he hadn't been a sargent and allowed some degree of thinking for himself I don't know if Todd could have coped with these changed circumstances. There's a lot to think about in this film. What makes us who we are? If we are trained to act one way and punished for any deviation can we change our patterns of behavior as an adult. What are the possibilities that people can change. Whe are the monsters? The killers or those who send them out?

    The film seems to be your same old/same old but there's a lot worth seeing and thinking about in Soldier....more info
  • Starts out Strong / Gets a Little Weak Later On
    "Soldier" is a great movie. I really enjoyed it. A friend gave it to me - thanks, bud.

    The movie starts out really strong. I found it to be pretty believable in the beginning. As it shows Todd progress from baby to ruthless soldier/killer, the progression is very interesting to watch. It is a strong part of the movie of which I wish we had seen more.

    The middle of the movie comes to life quite well also. I enjoyed watching as Sgt. Todd interacted with regular people and tried to come to grips with being human. This is another really strong part of the movie, and I wish this part could have been extended a bit more, to have let us seen the soul of the man. Watching him trying to adjust into "normal" life is one of the best parts.

    Ironically, the worst part about the movie about a soldier is when the movie requires him to start doing action scenes as a soldier. There was nothing wrong with Kurt Russell's performance at all, but the plot at this point started to seem very contrived.

    I disliked the fact that they made the bad commander guy to be "evil" by having him make fun of the old troops, criticize the one new soldier for losing his eye, and other silly instances. That was not necessary. It was also not necessary to show that he is a coward by having him piss on himself.

    I feel that the end of the movie would have been more effective had they shown the attacking troops attacking for a legitimate reason other than "the enemy commander is evil and we need to give Sgt. Todd somebody to fight." As I said, the whole fight sequence seemed contrived. It was interesting to watch, to be sure, but the story by that point was pretty darn weak and getting weaker and weaker.

    Luckily the movie redeems itself at the very end, narrowly in time just before the credits come up. So it does have a good ending. But I just keep thinking to myself that this movie could have been more than what it was. It started out as an intense psychological sci-fi war movie and ended up as a cheap action flick. A little bit disappointing.

    My favorite part in the movie is where Todd puts on the facial war paint and says, "I'm going to kill them, sir." You've got to love that part!

    As others have mentioned, this movie tries to rely on story rather than special effects. I think it succeeds for the most part. The special effects are still quite good though. The junk scenery backgrounds were downright breathtaking. I was really impressed by those effects, and that doesn't happen often. Usually movies these days are so busy cramming effects down your throat, one after another, in such fast sequence that you never have time to appreciate them. (Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith immediately spring to mind). I like the style of this movie much better.

    Kurt Russell's performance as Sgt. Todd is extremely effective. The minimalist approach works best here, and he does an outstanding job. The man still looks awesome in a flat-top. He's looked cool in one ever since Stargate. (That movie was the reason I tried to wear a flat-top, for a while. It seems my head is just not the right shape for such an animal :)

    So the bottom line: this is a great movie. The only reason I give this 4 stars rather than 5 is that I feel like it could have been more. While the movie was good, the action portion of the story left me feeling a little unsatisfied. This may be the type of movie that would have done better if it had been written with less action and more of a character-driven story. But I've got no real complaints. Recommended....more info
  • Wow
    This movie is a must-see. I have never seen acting this good.

    In writing, people say "show, don't tell," meaning that it is better to describe a person's emotional state through actions (so-and-so clenched his fist and his jaw bunched tensely) rather than just saying it (so-and-so was angry).

    Kurt Russell's perfomance took this to heart. Without hardly any words to "tell" his emotions, he conveyed them beautifully through subtle actions. I especially like that little head tilt at the end when he--to the astonishment of his fellow soldiers--picked up the little boy. Such a tiny motion, yet it said it all.

    This is a movie I will watch again many times and enjoy it no matter how often I have already seen it....more info
  • Solider
    My husband and I watched this show about fifty times for the past few years, or more before we actually bought it. We would have purchased it sooner but couln't find it in the stores; now we purchase almost all of our movies from Amazon; almost. I liked the building of the plot; how someone so tough and brainwashed by his superiors became close to being gentle and caring and a protector for the innocent and un-military type; the later fits me even though I do go to the shooting range. I liked the part of "If it isn't broken, don't try to fix it" watch the movie to see what it pertains to. If this DVD ever goes bad, I will purchase it again. The beginning might be rough for those that don't like violence; but building this type of story-line is important, the point they are trying to create; but hold on to your hats. I am looking for a part-two, if ever. As long as they don't mess it up like most sequels. Everyone has a point-of view; watch and most will grip....more info
  • What is the value of a man....?
    You've been handpicked at birth and trained to serve in an elite military unit...indoctrinated from the time that you can walk and talk that the military is your only friend and family..that weakness is death, to only speak when spoken to by your superiors, and that trust is a commodity you cannot afford to short, to believe that you exist for only one purpose. What happens when after nearly 40 years of "following the path" you become obsolete, are discarded like trash, and abandoned countless miles from home? In this case, you discover that being more than what you can be goes beyond that well known slogan. Watch Kurt Russell's finely shaded performance in "Soldier" and see for yourselves...This picture breaks no new ground in the action film genre - there's loads of explosions and gun play (fine with me) and a bit of martial arts/hand to hand action courtesy of Jason Scott Lee ("Dragon") - & to be perfectly honest the drama that emerges when Russell's Sgt. Todd interacts with the surviving members of a space ship crash who have taken up residence on a planet used to dump refuse (or expendable soldiers) is not really all that dramatic...What makes this film really watchable is that Russell gets the job done in making you realizing what his character is experiencing using only sparse dialogue (roughly 35 words), facial expressions and (to his great surprise)a couple of tears. This picture's worth a look.....RG
    ...more info
  • A psycological masterpiece.
    Kurt Russles performance is dead-on. The strict enforcement of dicipline, obeyance of orders, complete committment to mission, lack of emotion. It's impossible for the average person to relate in any sense to Russles character. It's probably the main reason the movie didn't get much press. And didn't do well at the box office. My favorite scheme is where Russle is alone using the Steel canister as a punching bag. Putting huge dents in it. You can feel the rage. Ever wonder what his character must have been thinking? My favorite line - When Connie Neilson is panacking over the attacking bad guys. She asks Sergeant Todd - "What are you going to do?" Todd replies in a matter of fact dead pan way "I'm going to kill them all, sir!". To hear Russle deliver that line....sheer poetry.

    The story line is good up until the battle scenes later in the move. Then the story falls apart. Lots of explosions and violence. The elite younger soldiers suddenly forget how to be soldiers and fall easy prey to the older Sgt Todd(Russles Character). The directing and editing seem a little sloppy. There is one scene when Russle appears to be rising up out of the water firing his machine gun. WHAT! rewind and look again. The flames and smoke in the background are all moving downward into the water. The 1st 2/3 rds of the movie make up for it....more info
  • Whens the sequal
    I cant imagine why anyone wouldnt like this movie. I recently discovered it didnt do well in the box ofice. that was a surprise to me, I've liked this movie since the first time i saw it on TV and I think with creativity a sequal could be made. If you agree say this review was helpful to you....more info
  • A solid sci-fi action film with Kurt Russell.
    This on the surface looks like a typical cliched movie however it works. As many other reviewers have pointed out, this movie after you have watched it does stay with you. Kurt Russell gives a solid performance as a hardened soldier trained to kill since boyhood and feel no emotion. Finding himself old and obsolete he is forced into a fight to the death with his replacements, a new bread of killer soldier. He loses and finds himself dumped on a garbage waste planet and left for dead. The rest of the movie focuses on Russell's character slowly finding his human side again. When a group of unarmed inhabitants who took him in as one of their own then rejected him because he could not fit are threatened by the military, Russell steps up and the action is fast and enjoyable. The inhabitants have been targeted to test the killing efficiency of the military's new stronger, faster, deadlier group of elite killer soldiers. This is more than just a bog standard sci-fi action film. It has a good heart at the centre of the story which makes you get behind Russell's character 100%. The movie tanked at the box office on its original release for unknown reasons yet I have not met one person who has seen it and failed to enjoy it. ...more info
  • Sci-fi with Soul
    Unlike many sci-fi/action films, "Soldier" stays with you, because it touches the heart with a few poignant, memorable scenes, has an interesting script and character development, and though some of it is derivative and silly, the film has Soul.
    Much of this is due to a superb performance by Kurt Russell, in the almost mute part of Todd 3465, who was bred and trained to kill, and whose only feelings and thoughts are of "fear and discipline".
    Todd 3465 was born in 1996 for the Adam Project, and we see him at 38, replaced by a faster and more durable model of soldier. Todd, presumed dead, is dumped with the trash on Arcadia, a "waste disposal planet".

    There are no big budget special effects, but the visuals and cinematography (by David Tattersall) are excellent, the direction by Paul Anderson is perfectly paced, and Joel McNeely's score, along with the atmospheric sound effects, add a lot to the film.
    Sean Partwee and Connie Nielsen are good as the Arcadian couple who befriend Todd, Gary Busey puts in a fine turn as Todd's captain, and Jason Isaacs plays the bad guy with appropriate meanness.
    There are some terrific mano-a-mano fight scenes between Russell and his "replacement" Caine 607, played well by Jason Scott Lee, who was marvelous in "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story", and shows his martial arts expertise in this film as well.

    The film is free of foul language except for one instance (and one has to wonder why they ruined a perfect score with it), and despite the violence, would make suitable family viewing, because the violence has purpose and meaning...there is nothing gratuitous in this film, which is another reason I appreciate it, and most of all, it has that rare thing in a Hollywood film, a satisfying that will bring a tear to your eyes.
    ...more info
  • your men are obsolete
    After seeing this film on TV a few times, I decided to go out to the video store and rent it. To me, this is one of those films that really sticks with me for a long time. I thought that Kurt Russell's portrayal as "Todd" (a super soldier selected and trained from birth) was very compelling. Call me weird or crazy, but there is a certain fascination I have for characters who play these lonewolf/mysterious types. These are the types of characters who give some people a creepy feeling down the back of their neck because their screen presence is so powerful and unusual.

    The story line is mostly biographical. A group of babies are specially selected at birth for a special operations unit. These kids are indoctrinated as soldiers through 17 + years of brutal training. At various stages in the training, those who do not make the cut are simply killed. The story focuses on Todd. After Todd fights various campaigns we meet him again at the age of 38 when a comanding officer questions his and his platoon's abilities compared to another platoon of super soldiers. A contest is given where Todd and a number of men from his platoon square off against the "new and improved" soldiers. Todd along with a few of his men are left for dead and dumped on a planet designated for garbage disposal. Todd was the only one of his kind to survive. This planet it turns out is inhabited. The natives cautiously welcome him and help him for a while. Eventually, they abandon him after deciding that he simply isn't a good fit for their community. Later however, they find out that they've made a big mistake.

    Although Todd was raised to be a soldier only, later in the film we see that he is making somewhat of a transition to being more compassionate and emotional.

    ...more info
  • Style and story
    Good storyline.

    Good acting (a bit stilted) but I like it. Kurt Russell PLAYS the part of an emotionally empty soldier dumped into a society.

    > Feels low budget. The storyline is good but could have had a better and been a bit less bleak. I don't mind dark but the visual feel of the movie was "B movie"

    If you are looking for amazing dialog look elsewhere, if you are looking for Kurt representing caged emotion you will find it.

    If you are looking for cool special effects look to Star Wars or I Robot or any other recent movie. If you want a good story with plausible (albeit flat effects) you will find it here.

    That said I bought it because of the action, and story.

    In some ways this is a clich®¶ film, it has the "one guy against overwhelming odds" storyline. I like the interaction and the "healing process" which includes him dealing with everyone else as "sir" and finally figuring out some don't deserve the title. I just love the concept of a conditioned "pure" soldier dropped out of his controlled environment, and gravitating to what is truly "right" (protecting innocents).

    Plus a good ending is a prerequisite for a 5 star from me.

    As I said 5 stars: Action, good story, and good acting (mostly) + my gratuitous happy ending.
    ...more info
  • Experience Trumps Strength
    Kurt Russell plays Sgt. Todd, #3465, among the first genetically engineered soldiers born and raised to fight. After many years, decades even, of loyal and effective service, a new generation of soldier has been developed. The new generation is stronger with faster reflexes. Of course, in the world of movies there must be a drawback. The drawback is that the new generation has too much arrogance, too little experience, and perhaps way too little common sense.

    After a demonstration between the new soldiers, one which has little to do with fighting in the real world, Sgt. Todd is apparently dead and is dropped onto an uninhabited trash world; a huge open-air landfill for civilizations across the inhabited space of mankind. However, Sgt. Todd quickly discovers that the trash world is not uninhabited.

    A group of pioneers crashlanded on the planet on the way to another planet, and no one knows they are there. Sgt. Todd has no reason to behave as a soldier towards these people; they do not threaten him and in fact welcome him to their homes. Eventually they come to distrust his soldierly mein and boot him out of their settlement.

    By a complete and bizarre coincidence, the new generation of genetically engineered soldiers has been sent to the trash planet to eradicate the squatters, who are somehow now armed and dangerous, at least so far as the soldiers have been told. Of course, even though Sgt. Todd has been booted out of the settlement, he cares for these people and returns to defend them, showing that in actual combat experience and creativity will outweigh sheer strength as long as the odds are somewhat reasonable.

    Kurt's character is a perfect blend of Spock and any action hero you care to name. He kills only when necessary, and he has an incredible code of honor. His code of honor extends only to those who act honorably, as we discover in the movie.

    The movie is uncharacteristic in that is relies more on the development of Sgt. Todd's character than on special effects and action. The suspense near the end is a bit overly dramatic in places, with more than a little hokum, but in the end the movie is effective and enjoyable.

    If you are looking for another variation on the theme of "Mad Max" and "The Road Warrior," with a character who is nearly unemotional, then this movie may fit the bill....more info
  • A Total Waste of Time
    This has to be one of the worst sci-fi movies of all time and definitely the worst movie Kurt Russel has ever done. A total waste of time.

    The genetically-bred/robot soldier story has become so cliche and overdone that it would now take a lot more imagination for such a film to be good than what this trash has to offer. Kurt Russel doesn't really act in this movie as he has an even smaller script than Schwarzenneger had in "Terminator." In terms of quality, "Escape From New York" would really be Oscar material in light of this garbage.

    The story is utterly predictable and the action is weak. Terrible film. Don't believe the great reviews for this movie and save yourselves both money and time.

    ...more info
  • Stark and subtle tale
    I loved this movie. This movie plot has been done before many, many times. Intimidating fighter is thrust into different culture and learns to value it and realizes what he has been missing all this time. What I liked about this movie is the programming the soldiers went through seemed realistic and very possible. I think most people that make movies with the same plot always make the mistake of have the main characters changing too much. This has always seemed unrealistic to me, and quite frankly a little insulting. This movie lets you see the changes in subtle little ways Kurt Russell acts. I would say subtle describes this whole movie. Instead of pounding points into the viewers face, it lets you make your own conclusions on how you would feel if you lived a similar life....more info
  • My favourite action movie...not saying much, actually
    There are several reviews here which provide a perfectly adequate overview of the movie as a whole, but I want to put in a plug for what is, to me, its greatest appeal. This was one of the first DVDs I ever watched, and it has the first commentary track I ever listened to.
    I am a tremendous admirer of Jason Isaacs, who plays a sneering bully (Col. Mekum) in this movie. His role is quite small, but he joins Paul Anderson on the director's commentary and reveals himself to be a man of unusual intelligence and wit. Anderson and the producer, I think, get completely absorbed in self-congratulatory Fanboy minutiae, but I thought Isaacs was hysterically funny. An unusual treat for that reason....more info
  • Quite a surprise........
    Kurt Russell as an action star? I know that sounds funny, but after you see this movie, you will believe it. I will admit, I thought this movie was going to bite it hard when it came out. I thought it looked cool, but it had "rental" written all over it. After seeing it years ago, I came away entertained. Which is all that really matters, if you think about it. Now that you can get it for a nice price, I would recommend checking it out.

    Kurt Russell plays a bio-engineered soldier. He is chosen from birth and trained to kill. That is his only life he knows. He is shown gruesome violence as a young child. He is trained to have no mercy and no remorse. He is a killing machine made by some sort of government. They take children from birth and literally train them to become ruthless soldiers. When they get to their adult years, they are sent out on the battlefield. They are then the perfect soldiers. Of course, there are some downsides to this. They have no social skills. They have never had emotions toward other human beings. And this is where the movie seperates itself from being a 'B-movie'.

    Over time, a new super-soldier is created. One that is literally made from the DNA up. This is where the conflict of the movie arises. Sgt. Todd's (Russell) squad is being replaced by a squad of advanced soldiers that are even better than Russell's. They are led by Caine (Jason Scott Lee). Lee plays a pretty decent villianous character. Even though he is just following orders. The orders are coming down from a higher ranking officer (played by Jason Isaacs). Isaacs seems to enjoy this role of playing the main villian. He never goes over the top, but he definately makes you not like him. Gary Busey actually plays a character that is NOT insane. He plays a general (or something) that is the head of the old soldiers. He is reluctant to switch over to the newer soldiers without them ever being tested in the field. Isaac's character overrules him.

    So, Russell is dumped like trash onto some planet that has been 'abandoned' (or so they think), and it only used for waste disposal. Upon waking, he is found by a group of outlanders who are living on the plant. They have formed a sort of colony and live peacefully without interference. It is here that Sgt. Todd must learn some human emotion and traits to live with normal human beings. Of course the bad guys want to test out the new brand of soldiers. They send them on (what they think) is a routine "sweep & clear" mission. Little do they know that Sgt. Todd is still alive and is willing to show them a thing or two.

    This is an action movie with some heart to it. I thought this was going to be a Rambo-type movie with Russell in the lead role. I was wrong. He defends his new friends and fights for their survival. Along the way, he learns what it's like to care for other people. One of these people is a woman (the insanely HOT Connie Nielson). Her husband was one of the first to befriend Todd. After his death, he takes it upon himself to protect her and her son.

    I liked this movie quite a bit. It's kinda low budget and it is an action film. It's not going to win any awards, but it's way better than I thought it would be. I was surprised how big Kurt Russell got for this movie. He only has like 10-15 lines the whole flick and he plays the 'commando' character well. Honestly, I would not pay $20 for this movie, but for $10 it's a steal. It's a fun, yet simple action movie with a nice side of emotion. When I saw the trailer, I was wondering why the hell Russell would want to do a picture like this. After seeing it, I know why.

    Not many special features here to speak of. You get a commentary, production notes, and a trailer. That's it. You can find the movie for around $6.99 now, so I guess I can't complain about the lack of supplements....more info

  • Far better than you may have heard
    Boy, I'm sure glad I watched this movie _before_ I found out I wasn't supposed to like it. I don't understand the disappointment; this is a well-made and satisfying movie.

    I've said before that Kurt Russell is an extremely underrated actor, and he proves it again here. This is a demanding role.

    Sgt. Todd is a genetically-engineered supersoldier, indoctrinated from birth as part of something called the 'Adam Project'. A seasoned combat veteran, Todd is a highly trained killing machine who has never known any other way of life.

    Yet during the movie, we're supposed to gather that he's starting to feel some 'normal' human emotions and having trouble reconciling his past with his present. Somehow Todd has to put all this across to the audience with a bare minimum of dialogue and an absolutely flat-affect delivery -- rather like Arnold in the _Terminator_ films, with the difference that Todd is _not_ a cyborg or robot, but a human being with a deep inner life that he doesn't know how to express.

    I don't know who could have played the part other than Russell. I can't think of another actor who could manage to convey so much with an expressionless face and _also_ be believable as a pumped-up supersoldier. (And Russell is seriously pumped up for this film.)

    The story is well-crafted, too. Written by David Webb Peoples, one of the screenwriters on _Blade Runner_, this film is conceived as something of a sequel to that one and partakes of its darkness and moral ambiguity. But for all that, it zips along nicely under Paul Anderson's direction (despite some overuse of slo-mo).

    Oh, there's some derivative stuff that we can charitably regard as 'homage' if we like. There's a very heavy nod toward _First Blood_ (and in general a strong evocation of the U.S.'s treatment of Vietnam veterans). And certainly this supersoldier thing has been done before (although _Universal Soldier_, _RoboCop_, and _The Six Million Dollar Man_ were cyborgs rather than genetically engineered Uebermenschen). That just means we're dealing with a very good B movie rather than something breathtakingly new.

    Some viewers have suggested that Jason Scott Lee isn't very effectively used in this film. I disagree; I think he's downright fearsome in his single-minded lethality. (As you'll learn in the first few minutes of the film, he's one of a team of _super_-supersoldiers that are supposed to render Sgt. Todd and his guys obsolete.)

    The SF backdrop is interesting and unforced although not terribly well fleshed out. All I can say without spoiling things is that there's a planet in the Arcadia sector that Earth is using as a junkyard, and that there's a human society living on it that nobody on Earth knows about.

    The rest of the cast does well (including Michael Chiklis). Watch especially for a nice job by Gary Busey. You'll probably also like the Joel McNeely score, which doesn't break any new ground (and certainly doesn't hoist the film to the stratosphere as David Arnold's does _Stargate_) but nevertheless does its job adequately.

    Oh -- and don't forget to be awed by the hauntingly gorgeous piece of music in Scene 11. It's 'Night Ride Across the Caucasus' by Loreena McKennitt and it's on her CD _The Book of Secrets_....more info