Somber Tale Of A Possible Future7/10
In a future society, the military component does not have to recruit; rather, their candidates are chosen at birth, culled from nurseries and designated to spend their entire lives in the service of the government. They are given over to the war machine, body and soul, for no reason other than to protect and serve; they have no personal identity other than a name and rank, and no autonomy whatsoever. This is the fate of those whose destiny is predetermined for them in `Soldier,' directed by Paul Anderson and starring Kurt Russell. The scenario is hard and bleak as the movie begins by depicting the training of the soldiers during advancing periods of time, from preadolescence to adulthood. Russell is Sergeant Todd, the best of the best, and we glimpse his career as he discharges his duties in an exemplary manner in campaign after campaign; he is what he was born to be, a soldier. But even the best cannot go on forever, and the day arrives when Todd and his peers are no longer the elite. A new generation of soldiers has been created, products of advanced genetics and technology, and Todd's generation is suddenly obsolete. What follows is the story of a man who must fight for his life, while struggling to discover his own sense of humanity and individuality, traits new to a soldier who has known only two things his entire life: Fear and discipline. Russell gives a commanding performance as Todd, the soldier who above all else must obey orders without question while suppressing all emotion and individual thoughts. He has few lines in this movie, but Russell speaks volumes with his eyes. This role demonstrates that he is, in fact, one of the under-appreciated actors of our times; that he can disappear so entirely into the character of Todd is a credit to his ability, and with this part he has created someone quite different from any he's done before. And he's given Todd a depth and credibility that someone of lesser talent could easily have rendered as nothing more than a pretentious and superficial stereotype. Notable performances are also turned in here by Connie Nielsen (Sandra) and Jason Isaacs (Colonel Mekum). Rounding out the supporting cast are Jason Scott Lee, memorable as Caine 607, one of the new generation of soldiers; Sean Pertwee (Mace); Gary Busey (Captain Church); Michael Chiklis (Jimmy Pig); and Mark Bringleson (Rubrick). Anderson has delivered an action film with a message, a cautionary tale that transcends the genre of science-fiction. `Soldier' reminds us of the importance of keeping the humanity of our lives intact. It's an entertaining way of making us consider the alternatives, like a bleak future and a world in which good movies just wouldn't make a whole lot of difference. Much like `1984,' and `Mad Max,' this movie, which is ultimately uplifting, is going to make you take pause and think about the kind of Universe in which we all must live together and share. I rate this one 7/10.