Soldier (1998)

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Todd 3465 (Kurt Russell) is the best of a group of genetically engineered soldiers, bred to kill from a very early age. He is a decorated war hero, with hundreds of kills to his name. Now…he is obsolete. A new group have soldiers have been created by the villainous Colonel Mekum (Jason Isaacs). The soldiers are led by Caine 607 (Jason Scott Lee) who is the best soldier. He is faster, stronger and meaner than Todd 3465 or any of his team. Colonel Mekum orders Todd’s superior, Church (Gary Busey), to dispose of Todd and his crew. They are all slaughtered and dumped on a planet which basically used as one big dump.

 

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However Todd does not die. He finds that the planet he is on is inhabited by friendly people just trying to survive. At first they are weary of Todd, but slowly begin to accept him. He stays with Mace (Sean Pertwee) and Sandra (Connie Nielsen) and begins to bond with their son. Colonel Mekum decides to test his new batch of soldiers on the planet where Todd was dumped. However he never banked on Todd being alive. Now Todd will show these new killers what a real soldier is.

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I really dig this film. However it got absolutely panned on release and I don’t know why. To me it’s like a futuristic version of Shane. I remember also reading that Kurt Russell had offered his fee back to Paul WS Anderson has he felt bad that the film didn’t do well. I think people expected it to be balls out action and that’s not what it is. It’s more restrained than that, showing an inhuman killer like Todd what it means to really feel and to have something worth fighting for.

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Don’t listen to the hate. Give it a watch and be prepared for a subtle story with bursts of violence. The final 3rd is one of my favourite bits in any movie. Todd is just a bad ass and to watch him teach these upstarts what it’s like to be a real soldier really is a sight to behold. Well worth a watch in my book.

4/5

JM

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Breakdown (1997)

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Jeffrey Taylor (Kurt Russell) and his wife Amy are driving cross country to California when their car stutters and grinds to a halt at the side of the road. Stranded and with no phone signal, they can’t call for a tow truck. As they are trying to figure out what to do a truck comes down the road. The driver, Red (J.T. Walsh) offers to take Amy to the next town so she can call for a tow truck. Amy gets into Red’s truck while Jeff waits with the car.

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Hours pass and there is still no sign of Amy returning with a tow truck. Jeff becomes worried and manages to get his car working. He drives to the next stop to see if his wife is there. The folks inside the cafe say that there was no woman fitting the description of Amy that passed through. Jeff goes to the police to report his wife missing. Later on when Jeff is driving he sees Red’s truck. He gets Red to pull over. Only when Jeff asks Red where Amy is, Red claims he has never met Jeff before in his life. Jeff leaves puzzled. He is then contacted and told that if he ever wants to see his wife alive he will have to pay a ransom.

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Jeff is then faced with a race against time to get the money, which he doesn’t have, and pay it to the kidnappers. The only problem is he doesn’t know who to trust, as the police could be in on it too. Jeff knows he must take matters into his own hands if Amy stands a chance of surviving her ordeal.

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I really dig this movie. First reason is that the story is very plausible. It’s done in such a way that you really think something like this could happen to anyone. Everything is played to such believable effect, that it just heightens the suspense that already permeates throughout the movie. Kurt Russell is always worth watching, and he really lends Jeff a really believable everyman quality, that you are urging him to succeed. The lateĀ  J.T. Walsh was always brilliantly cast as the sneering villain, and he delivers again here. As Red he really gives the film a sense of menace, that you doubt if Jeff will succeed in his plight. I really, really recommend this movie. It is a solid little thriller that is well worth a watch.

4/5

JM

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