Soldier (1998) – Kim’s Take

Soldier (1998)


Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Cast: Kurt Russell, Jason Scott Lee, Connie Nielsen, Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee, Gary Busey

A soldier trained from birth is deemed obsolete and dumped on a waste planet where he is reluctantly taken in by a community of defenseless, stranded wayfarers. – IMDB

Popping up in the mid 90’s is this Paul W.S. Anderson film which without a doubt stars a higher calibre actor especially in the decade that its directed in with Kurt Russell in the lead. Soldier happens to also be one of those films that not a whole lot of people have heard about and doesn’t talk about that much.

With that said, being not so familiar with Kurt Russell films to begin with this one highlights a lot of the preconceptions I had of his acting skills.  There’s always a certain amount of praise for an actor who can emote with their expressions instead of their words. This is essentially the centre of this film, as the story revolves around this soldier bred to be ruthless and goal-oriented regardless and yet, when a newer and better version comes along, he is tossed aside and learns to fend for himself while having to learn about this social world outside that he has never been exposed to. I love a good fish out of water story and learning how to mesh back into civilization because despite the content here, it injects a little bit of humor at times to lighten things up.

Paul W. S. Anderson is no doubt a visual director as he brings in his style to make this dystopian world incredibly appealing to watch unfold in front of us. As we see the characteristics of the land and the characters that join into the story in journey of Kurt Russell’s character finding his worth in society. He gets judged for who he is or perhaps was, but soon literally he is a man of action and one of few words. There is no doubt that how the land is shown after he treads the barren desolated area filled with sand storms and other perils and even the group that he joins in, there is a lot of great ways of how the shots give a lot of life and perspective of this world.

There’s a lot to like about Soldier. The story isn’t anything too complicated but these types of stories work well in the realm of the projects that Paul W. S. Anderson chooses. It helps to elevate the way he shoots the movie and constructs his scene. Kurt Russell also is a major focal point here because his character gets a lot of room to develop and he does a great job while using as few words as possible. There are some great supporting characters, most notably by Connie Nielsen and Sean Pertwee who play a couple who have conflicting views of this soldier joining their community and quickly have a change of mind as his rather harsh upbringing does educate the community with more defensive ways. There are some great moments in Soldier and for that, it deserves your viewing.

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