Soldier, starring Kurt Russell, was box-office bomb when it came out in 1998, and it's not hard to understand why. The plot is wobbly, the villains are horrible caricatures, and the special effects already looked dated by the time it hit the screen. And yet, I kind of like it.
Soldier tells a very simple story about a man trained from birth to be the perfect soldier. He follows orders without question and he kills without compunction. He knows no life other than warfare. But what happens when he ages out and is finally replaced by a better soldier? Well in this case, he is dumped on a garbage planet, recovered by a group of stranded colonists, tries his best to understand what it means to be human, and then gets into a huge fight at the end.
It’s a small-scale movie, about one ex-soldier, that doesn’t even concern itself with what is going on in a wider galaxy. In many ways it is probably closer to a western than a space opera, and it has many elements I like.
The garbage planet itself is a very cool setting, with lots of room for interesting scenery. Kurt Russell does a fantastic job conveying the conflicting, confused emotions of an abandoned warrior, while saying less than 100 words in the whole movie. The uniforms and equipment of the enemy Soldiers are very cool retro-sci-fi, with heavy armor and gas masks. Finally, the drawn-out fight scene at the end is filled with a variety of weaponry and plenty of explosions!
Okay, the movie didn’t win any awards and it probably didn’t deserve to, but there is enough in it for me for a fun night’s worth of entertainment.
It makes it into the DVD collection.