Soldier is mindless entertainment, pretty much devoid of any substance. But that has its appeal too.

Sergeant Todd 3465 (Kurt Russell) is one among a line of soldiers who have been selected at birth and trained since to be efficient and brutal killing machines. One day a new Colonel, Mekum (Jason Issacs), arrives and introduces a new line of soldiers to replace the old ones: these soldiers have been genetically enhanced and are superior in intellect, stamina, and strength. To prove his point, Mekum sets one of the new soldiers against three of the old (including Todd) resulting in their deaths. Or so the Colonel thinks.

As the bodies are deposited on planet Arcadia 234, designated as a interstellar garbage dump, Todd regains consciousness and stumbles into a lost human colony. As his injuries heal, thanks to the care of the colonists, Todd begins to form bonds with his hosts. However, his training and violent nature makes him unfit to live in the colony and he is banished: until the new soldiers arrive on the planet and go about exterminating everyone on it as a training exercise. Todd wages war on the new soldiers led by Mekum to protect the people he cares about.

There's nothing to be said for acting here: Kurt Russell is as stiff as a corpse. The visuals and the setting are pretty good and the cinematography is what makes the movie bearable. Any commentary about war I would make is already done in my review of Saving Private Ryan. The notion of using genetically enhanced soldiers to wage wars in the future has been dealt with before: I predict a more Orwellian scenario along the lines of Brave New World or Gattaca where there is a class differentiation based on genetic enhancements. In the end, rather than make any sort of commentary on the issue of genetic manipulation, the movie anthropomorphises. Todd is easily able to defeat almost twenty of the enhanced soldiers, because of his "street smarts" and human intuition.

Soldier is worth renting on the video if you're looking for a well-done piece of highly predictable and formulaic entertainment.

Movie ramblings || Ram Samudrala ||