YMMV / Soldier

  • Complete Monster: Colonel Mekum makes up for his cowardice and lack of combat skills with the scope of his crimes. He's first introduced as the leader of a group of genetically modified super soldiers who are set to replace the older generation of raised-from-birth soldiers commanded by Captain Church. His best soldier, Caine 607, is pitted against three older soldiers, two of whom Caine kills in short order but the last of whom, Sergeant Todd, manages to gouge out one of Caine's eyes before his own defeat. Mekum is merely angry that his own man Caine now lacks depth perception (or just that his pet project failed to perform flawlessly first time out of the gate), and ensures that Todd is left for dead on a waste disposal planet. When he and his soldiers later arrive on the same planet for field exercises, Mekum uses the shallow excuse that the planet is listed as uninhabited to order his soldiers to wipe out the peaceful community of settler families on the planet so he can test his troops' combat effectiveness. Todd uses his experience and guerilla tactics to protect the colonists, which panics Mekum enough that he orders Todd's old squad to arm a nuclear bomb on the planet that will annihilate everyone on the surface. He orders the old soldiers to be left behind so he can save his own hide, which so disgusts Captain Church that Mekum shoots him after Church attempts to stop him.
  • Cult Classic: Despite its lackluster performance, it's considered quite a good film by some.
  • Critical Backlash: Some people who didn't like the film still think its action scenes are pretty decent.
  • Critical Dissonance: The film is disliked by many critics. Regular audiences are far more forgiving, and some called it one of Kurt Russell's best films. In particular, the way the soldiers (Todd especially) communicate a full range of emotion with very few words and variations on stoic facial expressions make it fascinating to watch.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: At the end of the film, after stealing the military ship, loading up the stranded colonists, and setting course for where they originally wanted to go in the first place, Todd sees Nathan approach him. Wordlessly, Todd bends down and picks the kid up in his arms. His old squad look at him, utterly confused, and Todd gives them a look that can only be described as "You got a problem with this?" then walks off, still carrying the boy tenderly. Todd has learned to feel.
  • Faux Symbolism: The main genetically-engineered soldier's name is Caine. He 'kills' his counterpart, Todd.
  • Stoic Woobie: Sergeant Todd was forced to spend his childhood undergoing brutal training as part of a project to become the perfect soldier. When he becomes outdated he is thrown off on a wasteland planet. He spends the movie trying to cope with his purpose in life being taken from him and has no place among normal people due to his killer instinct and total lack of social skills. When Sandra asks him what he thinks about, he reveals that it's fear and discipline, every single moment.
  • Tear Jerker: In-Universe. When one of Todd's old squadmates his told by an officer that he's no longer a soldier and "You don't even have to salute anymore," the big guy looks like she just took away his teddy bear.