Soldier (1998)

Rating: **
Release Date: 10/23/98
Director: Paul Anderson
Cast: Kurt Russell, Jason Scott Lee, Gary Busey

Ugh. What a terrible film this is. It's saved only by how good looking it is. The sets and the look and feel of the environment are great, and most of the effects are competent and interesting. But the script is just downright awful. Kurt Russell is a socially engineered soldier of the future who has just become obsolete by next year's models. His body is dumped on a remote garbage planet (really!) where he tries desperately to deal with survival, betrayal, and finding a place for himself in a community of peaceful civilians. But he's too dangerous for his own good, and is banished from the settlement to live in the wasteland all alone. He doesn't have much time to sink into utter despair and hopelessness because his buddies have come to the planet on a training mission and start killing everyone. With renewed strength, Kurt decides to kill all of the other soldiers and save the village, which he does in a ridiculously over-the-top barrage of testosterone-fueled aggression. Sort of like a combination of Van Damme's "Cyborg" (1989) and Schwarzenegger's "Commando" (1986). Kurt looks good, kicks ass, and is way buff. His entire performance consists of less than 100 spoken words, one continuous soulless stare that lasts the entire duration of the film, and a bunch of aggressive macho posturing. Painful to watch if you're not prepared for B-movie guy-flick fare.