Some actors make so many movies during the course of their career that’s it tough to think of all of them, but now and then there are a few hidden gems here and there that might not be considered to be that valuable to some but are at least interesting enough to look at. Soldier can be classified as one of Kurt Russell’s many movies that have been shoved into the archives after so many years. It might be picked up and dusted off every now and then, but after watching this movie a few times it feels as though more could have been done with it had the budget been a little greater. It might have been better as a limited TV series since it did feature several notable actors and it’s fair to state that it might have done better had the missions that Todd, played by Russell, and his squad participated in been fleshed out a little. The short but meaningful montage that took place in the first part of the movie was enough to get the point through that Todd and his fellow soldiers were bred for one thing, to execute whatever orders they were given.
Todd became the perfect soldier not just because of this, but because he would seek to fulfill his orders no matter what he had to do, which meant that he wouldn’t hesitate where his fellow soldiers might when it came to terminating civilians to eliminate the enemy. That could be one thing that might turn people off in this day and age since not a lot of people are still of the mind that killing innocents is acceptable in order to top the greater evil. It’s a moral conundrum that was touched upon in this movie but also kind of abandoned rather quickly since the moment that Todd and his squad were replaced it feels as though his humanity started to leak in.
Being decommissioned and left for dead along with two of his fellow soldiers, who lost their lives after being ordered to take on one of the newer, improved soldiers, played by Jason Lee, Todd found himself on a world that was little more than a garbage heap where a group of settlers had set up their own habitat that served as a community amid the junk. Here, the necessity for a soldier didn’t exist, as his skills were not valued considering that the community was peaceful and focused primarily on teaching people how to survive and how to be part of a whole, which isn’t too different from what Todd had experienced before being tossed out with the trash. The main difference is that Todd and his fellow soldiers were taught how to kill as well as defend themselves, while the people that Todd found himself among could barely defend themselves from the terrain, let alone the soldiers that would eventually come to clear them out. It was inevitable that Todd was exiled from the community since the training of a soldier couldn’t be eliminated, and the danger he represented to those that did nothing to help him adjust was too much to be endured. The funny thing about this however is that Todd helped at least one of the community face his fears, as he taught the young son of the couple that took him in to attack instead of run in fear when confronted with a poisonous snake that was indigenous to the planet.
A movie like this is great since it does showcase the fact that a life spent in violence is hard, if not impossible, to overcome. But it also shows that focusing only on community and togetherness without any thoughts of proper defense leaves one open and vulnerable. The reason why it kind of faded off into the ether is easy to see since it didn’t come together all that well and the budget is only one concern that would need to be addressed if the movie was to ever be rebooted. Bringing it back for this treatment would actually be kind of interesting since allowing Russell to take on the role once again might show a great deal of change that would make Todd an actual lead that would make a lot of sense for this story.
It’s not likely that this will happen, but Soldier does deserve a little more respect for the work it put in since there was a decent story here that could have been cultivated a bit more to turn it into something great. But sadly it was kind of a throwaway action movie that was there and gone in a short amount of time, and even now it exists as a blip on the career of Kurt Russell. It could have been more, but it doesn’t feel as though it was meant to be.