Soldier

Bomb Rating: 

Director Paul Anderson and screenwriter David Webb Peoples seem to have belched out the whole concept during a local happy hour.

I knew this film was in trouble from the first letter of the first opening credit. The credits come up on the screen accompanied by a generic computer-typing sound that immediately makes you question the imagination of the film's creators. Sure enough, director Paul ("Event Horizon") Anderson and screenwriter David Webb ("Unforgiven") Peoples seem to have belched out the whole concept during a local happy hour.

An ultimate soldier, Sgt. Todd (Kurt Russell), is thrown in a garbage freighter and dropped on a waste planet after getting his ass kicked by a new, superior soldier, Caine 607 (Jason Scott Lee). Apparently, checking for a pulse is beyond anybody's capacity in the Future, so Todd finds himself amongst a community of settlers where he's nursed back to health despite his inability to do anything except stare straight ahead.

Todd's nurse, so to speak, is Sandra (Connie Nielsen) -- or as the group's leader announces to the entire community: "Sandra, Mace's wife," as if the community hadn't been familiar with Mace (Sean Pertwee) and his wife for, oh, say the last thirty years. Todd might be the ultimate soldier but a brief glance down Sandra's shirt gets him all quivery and weak-kneed. It makes you think that if somebody formed a platoon of naked, big-breasted surfer chicks, they could defeat any group of ultimate soldiers no matter how well-trained.

When Todd cops that glance, Anderson and Peoples should have just flashed a subtitle that said, "Mace is going to die," because there sure wasn't going to be any other way Todd was going to get his hand where his eyes had just been. When Caine and his troops find the planet, it's just a matter of time before Mace finds a reason to wander into crossfire. This leaves Todd to fight it out using his newfound skills in what amounts to little more than a fifty million dollar pissing contest.

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