Soldier

The Boston Phoenix

DIRECTED BY: Paul Anderson

REVIEWED: 11-02-98

From the pen of David Webb Peoples, acclaimed scripter of Blade Runner, Unforgiven, and Twelve Monkeys, you'd expect something edgy, macabre, and titillating. Instead, Soldier is a disarmingly unimaginative sci-fi thriller that lifts plot elements from other genre hits (Terminator, Road Warrior, Universal Soldier) and even the Western classic Shane.

The futuristic, interplanetary showdown pits an outdated career commando (an awkward but endearingly taciturn Kurt Russell) against his beefier and more lethal successor (a bald, buff Jason Scott Lee). In round one -- a deadly training demonstration -- Russell's conditioned-from-birth sergeant gets his ass handed to him by Lee's genetically engineered über-trooper. Left for dead on a barren, deep-space junkyard, Russell is taken in by the planet's raggedy inhabitants, who nurse him back to health and get him in touch with his human side. Of course there's a round two, when Lee and his legion of robotic exterminators storm the planet and Russell, recharged by his new-found emotion, goes on the warpath, proving that the older model can still blood-let like there's no tomorrow. Soldier does offer a few good mano-a-mano testosterone moments, and the set designs are ultra-cool, but there's too little character development and no reason to care.

--Tom Meek

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Other Films by Paul Anderson
Event Horizon
Mortal Kombat

Film Vault Suggested Links
Waterworld
The Matrix
Kull the Conquerer

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