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Soldier is a 1998 science-fiction action adventure film directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and starring Kurt Russell and Jason Scott Lee as a pair of futuristic soldiers who do battle on a decaying planet.

Sergeant Todd (Russell) was raised from birth to become a new breed of soldier, and leads an elite commando unit on Earth. Along with his fellow soldiers, Todd has received extreme mental and physical conditioning to become an instrument of war. However, his commanding officer, Colonel Mekum (Jason Isaacs) develops a new group of genetically-augmented soldiers with superior physical abilities and a complete lack of emotions. In the ensuing transfer of control to the new soldiers, Captain Church (Gary Busey) orders a contest between the "old" soldiers and the genetically-modified ones, led by Caine 607 (Lee).

Todd is seemingly killed during the ensuing test (but is actually unconscious) and his body is dumped on the surface of Arcadia 234, a waste mining planet. Although badly injured, Todd manages to make his way to a colony of humans who crash-landed on the planet many years earlier and built their own society. Todd and the colonists begin to work together to survive, but they are interrupted by the arrival of the genetically-modified soldiers, who are taking part in a training exercise and intend to kill the settlers. Together with the colonists, including healer Sandra (Connie Nielsen) and her son Nathan, Todd decides to fight back and protect his new allies.

The film was written by David Webb Peoples, and was intended to be a sidestory/Spiritual Successor to Blade Runner (to the point that multiple references to Runner are seen throughout the film).

Not to be confused with the 1980s movie The Soldier.

This film contains the following Tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: Todd's dossier (seen on a computer monitor) lists some of his commendations, including the Plissken Patch, MacReady Cross and O'Neill Ring Award.
  • Alien Sky: Arcadia has a dull, brown sky with two suns circling it.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Mace dies from blood loss when his leg is shot off.
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: Christmas is celebrated by the inhabitants of Arcadia 234, and shortly after the soldiers come in and invade the planet.
  • Alternate History: Todd is born in 1996. By then, mankind is already capable of space travel to other planets and the world (or at least the US) is a dystopian society that selects babies from birth to become inhuman killing machines.
  • Appeal to Familial Wisdom: Church spouts these all the time, always recalling what his dad used to say.
    Captain Church: My daddy always said, "When you want to insert a nail into a piece of wood, don't do anything fancy or glamorous. Just take the damn hammer and hit the son of a bitch until it's in."
    Colonel Mekum: And what the hell does that crap mean in English, Captain?
  • Armor Is Useless: The genetically-modified troops are mowed down easily by weapons fire and melee weapons. Although the armor stands up pretty well against the civilian weapons.
  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics: Although constructing a thermonuclear warhead powerful enough to blow up an entire planet is a theoretical possibility (how feasible it would be — that's another story), the device thus built would have to be much, much larger than this tiny ball they used in the movie. Basically, the strength of a thermonuclear warhead depends on how many phases of reaction are introduced, each of them requiring its own minimal mass and thus volume of it. If we're talking about planet-killer power levels, it would require a huge amount of phases, too many to be crammed within such small device.
  • Asshole Victim: Colonel Mekum, but also the two lieutenants. By the time they're thrown off the dropship, they had been complicit in war crimes and were content to abandon the older generation soldiers.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: The Crawler, which (at the time) was the biggest working vehicle ever constructed for a film. With the equipment on-board these vehicles, it might as well be a Military Mashup Machine.
  • Badass Boast: When Todd destroys Caine's Crawler during the bombardment attack, the ship's lieutenant radios for a status update.
    Rubrick: Crawler One, do you copy? Crawler Two, do you copy? Are any of you men out there? Can any of you men hear me?
    Todd: Your men...are obsolete.
    • Also:
    Sandra: But one soldier... against seventeen ... what're you going to do?
    Todd: I'm going to kill them all, sir.
  • Badass Normal: Todd is one (absurdly prepared, experienced and mentally honed) guy against twenty genetically-enhanced troops with better weapons and armor. He wipes the floor with all of them.
  • Bald of Evil: None of the next-gen soldiers have any hair on the tops of their heads.
  • Battle in the Rain: Todd and Caine get a rain-soaked rematch.
  • Berserk Button: One of the few emotional reactions we see from Todd is clearly outraged anger after a colonist accuses him of desertion.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Todd suffers this when he's knocked backwards during a duststorm after arriving at the colony, and during the second fist-fight with Caine.
  • The Bridge: Mekum and rest of the commanding officers are discussing plans of battle while sitting in the bridge of their dropship.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Mekum soils himself when he sees the supposed-to-be-dead Todd standing in front of him.
  • Cat Scare: With disastrous results. Todd gets spooked by one of the settlers, who just wanted to give him a friendly pat on shoulder. Being conditioned for his whole life to figth and defend himself, he almost murders the poor guy on instinct and ultimately gets exiled over this.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: Mace sees the military ship land and excitedly starts to wave, believing it to be a rescue party. He is promptly corrected by Todd with a firm, "Stay with me, sir!"
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: The soldiers from Adam Project were selected as infants and then spend their entire childhood on extensive combat training and conditioning. By the time they are put in combat duty, each of them already has the capacity of One-Man Army. And it only goes from there as they do nothing else but combat and more training for next twenty-something years. Church specifically stresses the importance of training and experience when the next-gen soldiers arrive and compete against his veterans.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Todd is listed on a computer as having ordinance training in BFG's. Later on, when the advance team attack the colony, Todd proves to be a capable shot with the dropped rocket launchers the genetically-modified soldiers were wielding.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Nathan is taught by Todd how to kill a venomous snake soon after he arrives at the colony. Later on, after the colony has kicked Todd out, Nathan uses this lesson to kill a snake that would have otherwise killed his parents. It also shows them that Todd was trying to teach their mute son (because he'd been bitten and almost died by one of those snakes as an infant) to defend himself, instead of not caring that the child was right next to a snake that could have killed him.
    • When he arrives on Arcadia, Todd immediately has to hold onto a pipe to avoid being blown away in the midst of a massive duststorm. In the battle against the bombardment troops, he comes prepared with equipment to tether himself down, while the soldiers who don't know what they're up against get blown away (and one gets impaled by flying debris).
  • Child Soldiers: The original Super-Soldier squad. Later replaced by genetically-engineered troops, which the Veterans and officers accepted grudgingly.
    Church: My daddy was in maintenance. And he had a saying, he used to say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
  • Children Are Innocent: Averted with the boys chosen for Project Adam, since they were trained from birth to show no emotion and become desensitized to violence by being forced to witness animals violently killing each other, trained in hand to hand combat, and to know how to uses firearms and explosives. Played straight with the children that were born on Arcadia, their parents were survivors whose ship crashed on an uninhabited planet, and raised them with the idea that in order to survive, they need to peacefully work together.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Todd takes this mindset to the point where he shoots through hostages, just to continue his charge and eliminate the enemy on the flank.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The wreckage of a Spinner (from Blade Runner) can be seen in one of the piles of trash when Todd first arrives on the planet.
    • Todd's tattoos include a listing of all the major military campaigns he's participated in - the second-last entry on his arm reads, "Tannhäuser Gate". Additionally, his computer dossier lists the "Shoulder of Orion" campaign.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The "chain" fight with Caine versus Todd and three of the old school soldiers. Even three on one, Todd's crew are no match for Caine in a straight fight, and the only real injury Caine suffers before putting all three of them down is losing an eye to Todd.
  • Cute Mute: Nicholas is an innocent little boy that doesn't speak due to an accident in the past.
  • Deadly Dust Storm: The waste planet has one powerful enough to blow a human away. Todd is nearly killed by it at the beginning of the film, later, when Todd is going One-Man Army against the Super Soldiers, it appears again, this time, Todd is more prepared, while the Super Soldiers are not, and are blown away by it.
  • Death from Above: Todd quite literally jumps down on the very first next-gen soldier he kills.
  • Death of a Child:
    • Implied in one of Todd's flashbacks, when he recalls an instance where he had been shooting civilians, and had stopped to reload. We see a young girl kneeling by the bodies of (presumably) her family, and Todd looking down (again presumably) at her expressionlessly as he reloads. Once he gets the new magazine inserted into his rifle, he pulls the trigger immediately, aiming at whatever he had been staring at the whole time.
    • During the training montage, one of Todd's fellow candidates (implied to be 12 years old) can't keep pace with the others and is shot off-screen.
  • Decoy Hiding Place: One of the next-gen soldiers is chasing group of children. He enters the room, looking directly at a group of children and single female covering them. Then Todd blindsides him. With a rocket launcher. Later, Todd uses this against Caine. After being severely beaten, he looks at a rusty sickle on the ground. Caine follows his gaze and decides to pick the sickle, since he's standing right next to it. Which Todd instantly uses for his real attack, as Caine positioned himself to get sliced with a chopper propeller.
  • Dirt Forcefield: Sandra. This corresponds not only to regular life on Arcadia, but also the siege in the end, where everyone and everything but her is covered in blood, dirt and mud.
  • Dirty Coward: Col. Mekum. He's an arrogant bastard that orders his genetically enhanced troops to murder civilians as a training exercise. When Todd wipes the floor with them, he decides to Nuke 'em. When he's finally confronted by Todd and in a position of danger, he pathetically begs for his life and loses control of his bladder. Very un-soldier like, indeed.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Caine is the commander of the squad of new soldiers. While Mekum is a Non-Action Big Bad, Caine is able to provide Todd his biggest challenge.
  • Dramatic Deadpan: When Sandra sees Todd loading several weapons before he engages the bombardment troops:
    Sandra: But you're one soldier...against seventeen. What are you going to do?
    Todd: I'm going to kill them all, sir.
  • Dwindling Party: A villainous example when Todd goes up against the Super Soldiers in the junkyard, taking them out one by one.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: What happens to planet Arcadia after the bomb was triggered. Todd and the survivors get away from the blast in time, though.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Captain Church has reservations about treating anyone they find on the planet as hostile, but does his best to support Mekum's decision. He even agrees with Mekum's plan of blasting the planet from orbit to wipe out its inhabitants. However, when Mekum chooses to go through with this even if it means forsaking the lives of Church's unit, Church objects so strongly that Mekum executes him for defying his order.
  • The Evil Army: Led by The Neidermeyer, Colonel Mekum.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Todd does this to Caine 607 during their first encounter.
    • Todd also stabs another Super-Soldier through the eyepiece of his helmet. Later on, it's strongly implied that another Super-Soldier is bitten in the eye by a snake.
  • Facial Markings: Todd and his fellow super-soldiers have tattoos detailing their major service history and personal information.
  • A Father to His Men:
    • Todd to his unit. Once he reunites with them (as they're arming the Time Bomb), they immediately stop what they're doing, salute him and fall in line behind him. For the rest of the film, they follow his orders without question.
    • Downplayed by Captain Church, who initially goes along with Colonel Mekum's orders but still cares for the Veterans and speaks very highly of them. He is absolutely disgusted when Mekum simply wants to abandon them after things go south on Arcadia and gets killed when he refuses to obey his order.
  • Final Battle: Between Todd and Caine.
  • Fingore: A mild version. Todd's cutting carrots, cuts his finger, and keeps cutting carrots.
  • Forced to Watch: The Super-Soldier squad is forced to watch a pack of dogs attacking a wild boar as children during their training.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The ground troops that attack the settlement all wear gas masks.
  • Gatling Good: One of the next-gen soldiers was armed with a backpack version. Todd liberates him from the weight.
  • Genius Bruiser: Well, not exactly genius, but still — what Todd lacks in sheer strength and speed compared to genetically-enhanced soldiers he faces, he more than makes up for in combat experience, cleverness and tactical ingenuity. He exploits this brilliantly to his advantage, using traps, decoys and other guerilla warfare tactics to repeatedly outsmart ostensibly stronger enemies and kill them off one by one.
    Captain Church: [wryly] I think you should have made them smart instead of fast.
  • Geo Effects: The junkyard planet has very intense winds.
  • Grave Clouds: Part of Arcadia's "charm" is the sky, being almost always covered in thick, red clouds, with the sunlight barely scrapping through them.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Todd has a long scar on the right side on his face that arguably makes him look even more badass. Caine's facial scars, inflicted by Todd during their first fight, completely disfigure his face.
  • Guns Akimbo: Played With. Todd uses dual SMG's in part of the prelude. At a later point, it appears that he is using dual assault rifles to mow down several of the bombardment troops. The troops then launch a counterattack and move up on his supposed position (all while the guns are firing), only to find that he's rigged them up on the corpse of a dead soldier.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Mekum and his lieutenants are left behind on Arcadia, along with the Time Bomb he gleefully asked to be activated to destroy the colony.
  • Hollywood Healing: Todd falls from a great height, then gets dumped from a ship at a great height, then gets flung several yards into a set of steps during a windstorm, and is no worse for wear after a day of rest. Slightly averted: Todd is dropped onto the planet by a ship, and is later told that they visit the planet every 20 or 30 days. When told this, it is the first time that he has left the safety of the settlement (so about 3 weeks of recuperation) and still isn't fully healed.
  • Hollywood Tactics:
    • In the opening, the original soldiers are shown just charging into situations, making no attempt to find cover. Slightly justified in some situations, as most of the battles they are fighting are against opponents with less refinement.
    • Also discussed and averted later on. The next-gen soldiers are criticized as being powerful but untested, while the originals are battle-hardened and experienced. Indeed, the next-gen soldiers are eventually wiped out precisely because they are incapable of adapting to the guerrilla tactics of a single highly-experienced warrior who can use the local terrain to his advantage.
    • After surviving the spray of a soldier's minigun, Todd emerges welding an RPG to retaliate. Rather than taking aim at his assailant, he shoots the wreckage above him, resulting in an improbable impalement.
  • Human Shield: Not so much averted as nuked from orbit. Todd excels in training by shooting through the "civilian" silhouette to hit the target behind, and then does it again for real in combat during his mission montage.
  • I Like Those Odds: Mekum initially objects to Church's request for Todd to face Caine one-on-one. Mekum then asks Church to bring two more soldiers to face Caine, and Church replies that he likes the suggestion.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: When the wind appears a second time, a piece of debris pierces a Super-Soldier in the chest.
  • Impressive Pyrotechnics: The sheer amount of Stuff Blowing Up is just staggering, with numerous counts of outrunning the fireballs.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: On Arcadia, adults are gunned down mercilessly during the advance team attack and bombardment siege, yet no child ever suffers more than being frightened.
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: Todd repeatedly beats a steel punching bag for several hours straight, so exhausted that he is barely able to stand, and only gets mildly bloodied knuckles for his effort.
  • Insistent Terminology: When the usually quiet Todd speaks to any of the adult colonists, he calls them "Sir" due to spending his entire life in a military environment.
  • Ironic Echo: Colonel Mekum mocks the old soldiers as 'obsolete' in the first act, and Todd sends the exact same message right back to him on the radio in the climax after killing all his super soldiers single handed.
  • Ironic Name: A Landfill Beyond the Stars called Arcadia.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Todd doesn't particularly care about Colonel Mekum, but he does have a genuine rivalry with his opposite Caine 607 for replacing him as the new soldier of the future. This feeling is mutual, as Caine hates Todd for costing him an eye and gimping his combat readiness.
  • Jerkass: After the above mentioned incident, Mekum chastizes Caine for losing an eye in a fight against Todd and two other veterans of countless conflicts.
    Mekum: Do you know how much it costs to breed you, you big moron? To train you? To feed you? What good is this man now? He's got no depth perception! All he can do is walk point and take the first hit!
  • Job Title: Todd is a soldier. Well, at least a former one.
  • Just in Time:
    • Several of the bombardment troops chase Sandra and a group of children into a house while firing at them with miniguns and flamethrowers. One of the troops follows her up the stairs, and turns the corner to see her huddling with the group of children - and Todd wielding an RPG, which he promptly fires.
    • Played with at the end of the film. Todd and his troops leave Mekum and his two lieutenants on the planet with a Time Bomb set to detonate in a couple of minutes. The three officials run to the bomb and go to disarm it, with Mekum pulling away his female lieutenant when she can't remember the disarm code. Mekum enters the code and the machine seemingly acknowledges it...then detonates anyway.
  • Left for Dead: Todd, on a garbage disposal planet.
  • Landfill Beyond the Stars: The main setting of the movie is a junkyard planet.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: After the battle with the advance team, Nathan walks in on Todd loading multiple weapons and gearing himself up for battle.
  • Manly Tears: After the junkyard community casts him out, Todd - trained from birth to kill, oblivious to what emotions are supposed to be - is surprised to find a tear sliding down his cheek. He wipes it and frowns in astonishment, not sure what to think of it.
  • Mook Horror Show: Todd doles this out to the invading super soldiers, slaughtering them without most of them getting a good look at him. By the end the people on board the command ship are thinking it's some far bigger group of soldiers wiping out their men.
  • Name of Cain: A new Super-Soldier who becomes Todd's arch-enemy is named Cain.
  • Neck Snap: Todd does this to Caine at the end of their final confrontation.
  • The Neidermeyer: Colonel Mekum is a smug, arrogant jerk who treats the people around him like crap.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The official trailer included a short sequence that involved 20-30 starships doing battle around a planet. The final film features no such scene, and was apparently the remnant of a planned flashback that would have shown the Battle of Tannhäuser Gate.
  • '90s Anti-Hero: Todd is a professional soldier, which in this setting means a killing machine who was raised from infancy to be devoid of hesitation, scruples, or remorse. In the opening moments of the story, it's made clear that Todd never questions orders and thinks nothing of slaughtering anyone who obstructs his mission. Yet he's the (heroic) protagonist of the story and the settlers' only hope of defeating the next-gen soldiers, who are morally even worse than Todd.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Mekum is a Dirty Coward who prefers to lead from the safety of the rear, but his command of the soldiers and sheer ruthlessness nevertheless make him a great threat.
  • Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: The only reason Todd survives his fall during the first encounter with Caine is due to him falling on the corpse of his fellow soldier. He simply goes unconscious from his injuries and is presumed to be dead.
  • No Social Skills:
    • Sergeant Todd was raised from birth to be a completely obedient, emotionless soldier. When he is left for dead by his superiors, he tries to reintegrate into a small community, but ultimately can't due to his underdeveloped social skills. He barely talks and, except for some fleeting moments, is a paragon of stoicism. He is also dangerous to be around, as his conditioning constantly triggers violent self-defense.
    • Inverted in his relationship with Nathan, who cannot speak due to a childhood injury. It is due to this connection between them and the manner in which Todd teaches Nathan to kill a dangerous snake that the boy is later able to save his family.
  • Not What It Looks Like: A serious example with Todd, Nathan, and the snake. Having failed to observe him teaching Nathan to kill it, only walking in when Todd is just standing there while it slithers up to Nathan, the colony decides he's too violent to fit in with them. Todd's own stoic nature and refusal to speak prevents him from rectifying the error.
  • Nuke 'em: What Mekum tries to do once the bombardment troops are wiped out.
  • Oh, Crap!: Quite a few, with Mekum getting the lion's share of them.
    • The best has to when Colonel Mekum shoves Lieutenant Sloan out of the way when she can't remember the code to shut down the Planet Killer. He puts a code in with a smug grin, but her face is terrified. The Earth-Shattering Kaboom happens about two seconds later.
  • One-Man Army: Somewhat justified. Todd is a single soldier taking on a twenty men strong unit, but he also has entire life of combat experience behind his belt, while also knowing local terrain and tactics of the enemy.
  • Only One: Justified in the final battle. Todd is the only one among the settlers who knows how to fight like a professional soldier, and the latter would only get massacred trying to stand against the next-gen invaders.
  • Outrun the Fireball:
    • Todd and Mace (Sandra's husband) have to outrun several during their escape from the advance force.
    • The military ship piloted by Todd and his lieutenant outruns the planetary explosion at the end of the film.
  • Papa Wolf: Mace is this to little boy, Nathan.
  • The Quiet One: Todd hardly speaks, and sticks to terse statements when he doesnote .
  • Rated M for Manly: So manly it barely needs any words. Literally — see The Quiet One.
  • Science Is Useless: Todd has the advantage against the genetically-modified soldiers due to his tactics gained from years of combat experience.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: A distance example - thanks to the constraints of the action sequence, the film depicts the military ship Todd pilots passing a mountain and immediately appearing in space, thereby skipping most of the ascent through the stratosphere.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: When Mace realizes that Todd was not uncaring about the venomous snake close to their son, but had rather been trying to teach the boy to defend himself (and Nathan uses this lesson to save his parents from another snake), Mace immediately runs out to find Todd and bring him back.
    Sandra: What do I tell the Council? We voted.
    Mace: We voted wrong.
  • Shirtless Scene: When Todd is being cared for by Sandra. Also results in The Reveal of his service history and scars.
  • Shooting Gallery: An important part of Todd's training in the opening sequence involves a shooting gallery, in which he shoots straight through the civilian being used as a shield by the dummy representing an assailant.
  • Shoot the Hostage: And how!
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Siege: Against a peaceful village by people who want to drive them out.
  • Soft Glass: Brings us a Super Window Jump and Dynamic Entry. As the three-man fireteam assaults the colony, Todd jumps through one of the skylights to land behind a flamethrower-wielding soldier and slit his throat.
  • Soldiers at the Rear:
    • The West Point graduate leading the genetically modified super soldiers is a classic REMF (rear-echelon motherf*cker). Exemplified by his spotless dress uniform (the other officers are wearing fatigues) and pearl-handled revolvers.
    • Todd's squad gets relegated to support duties, much to their disappointment.
  • Soldier Versus Warrior: The creators of the new generation soldiers apparently focused so much on making them physically superior and obedient that they forgot to teach them any tactics. They operate as individuals with almost no coordination, allowing Todd to pick them off one by one.
  • The Spartan Way:
    • The original recruits are trained from a young age to act without emotion, to the point that they are subjected to constant drills and incredibly difficult training exercises as children. To top it off, it's demonstrated that children who are mentally or physically incapable of handling the training are quietly executed.
    • Mekum does this to demonstrate the capabilities of the genetically-modified soldiers when he pits them in a "someone dies tonight" competition.
  • Spiritual Successor: A sidestory to Blade Runner, which is arguably the Citizen Kane of science fiction films. This actually isn't as crazy as it sounds at first glance: it's not just a film the studio wanted to cram into the Blade Runner universe; the scriptwriter David Webb Peoples was actually one of the two scriptwriters on Blade Runner itself. So if anyone could justifiably make a side-story in the same universe, he can (also it's not just a rip-off of Blade Runner - there are some tonal similarities and Shout Outs in the background but they don't hit you over the head with it).
  • Stating the Simple Solution: The moment that several of the new generation of soldiers are massacred by Todd, Church offers Mekum a simple counterattack plan that will take care of the enemy, no matter how many of them could be (they are freaking out so much that they say "for all we know it could be a couple of divisions out there!"): have the soldiers fall back, load up with the heaviest artillery they have on board, and bombard the "enemy base" to smithereens. The time it takes for the soldiers to do this is enough time for Todd to gather enough weapons and go on the counter-attack himself.
    • Escalating further when a planet-destroying bomb is prepped and armed to both wipe out the enemy forces and cover all the tracks of the failed military exercises.
  • Super-Soldier: While the first generation of soldiers was all about training from the early childhood, the next-gen soldiers are genetically-enhanced and bred like clones.
  • Third Time's The Charm: The first time Todd goes up against Caine, he gets the crap beaten out of him and is assumed to be dead. The second time, Todd destroys Caine's armored vehicle and assumes he's dead. The third time, Todd finally kills Caine after a protracted hand-to-hand battle.
  • This Means Warpaint: Todd paints his face with black stripes during the Lock-and-Load Montage and answering Sandra's questions. It actually does help him blend in in the dark and catch the soldiers by surprise.
  • Tear Jerker: In-Universe. When one of Todd's old squadmates is 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.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Todd's "Soldiers deserve soldiers, sir" statement. Although in this case, it's less because the problem is entirely Todd's than because none of the settlers are badass enough to help him.
  • Time Bomb: And a nuclear one, at that. Which is set off, blowing up the waste disposal planet along with it.
  • Tragic Villain: Todd's nemesis Caine 607 is probably even more of a victim of the indoctrination of the future military as Todd himself is, as he was not only trained from birth to be a soldier like Todd himself but also genetically modified to be completely obedient. When Caine loses an eye in a fight with Todd and is dismissed by his commanding officer as almost useless now ("He has no depth perception! All he can do is walk point and take the first hit."), it's clear that Caine himself will be coldly discarded when something better comes along, just as Todd was.
  • Training from Hell: The Adam Project. It's strongly suggested to be special forces training done as regular, day-to-day routine, only with pre-teen boys instead. Any child unable to keep pace is summarily executed. Those who survive till the end of it years later are top of the line soldiers. And aside combat and endurance training, it also consisted of extreme doses of psychical conditioning to make excessive violence perfectly acceptable. Todd has a flashback where he brutally beats another kid into complete mess and then goes back to solving a test on the desk right next to him as if nothing happened, not even being winded (or shocked).
  • Training Montage: The entire opening sequence, starting with Todd being selected as an infant to participate in the Adam Project, and then shows all the grueling training he went through in the first 20 years of his life.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: Subverted. Despite not having any real combat experience prior to the military landing on the planet, most of the adult villagers already have weapons and training (although they're barred by Todd from fighting the enemy because he considers it something he has to do himself).
  • Tyke Bomb: Adam Project. A group of infants selected and then raised to be perfect soldiers, with their entire lives dedicated to military training and extreme conditioning.
  • Untrusting Community: Justified. Due to his training, Todd has no social skills whatsoever. It has been absolutely drilled into him never to speak unless spoken to, and even then he gives only curt responses. He doesn't volunteer to explain why he's not with his unit until a settler directly accuses him of desertion, which makes him angry enough to choke out that he was replaced by newer soldiers. Moreover, several of the colony leaders are fully aware of the kind of training he went through, honed from infancy to be a remorseless and efficient killing machine. The breaking point comes when Todd, working a makeshift metal heavy bag in the midst of PTSD flashbacks, is approached by one of the colonists, who wants to give Todd a scarf as a Christmas gift, since Todd had earlier saved that man's life. Todd pins the man down and nearly gets him crushed under a grinding wheel before he comes to his senses, and still choked the man unconscious. Then there's the misunderstanding with snake, which turns even Mace and Sandra against him. The colony leaders exile him by (more or less) politely explaining that they fear that his training and indoctrination have made him truly incapable of ever integrating in a peaceful society. The fact that their fears are entirely rational makes it hurt all the more for Todd. But the survivors come around when he saves them from the advance force.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Mekum once his soldiers start getting gunned down like animals. Once they're all dead, he goes into full-on "save my own ass" mode.
  • Violence Really Is the Answer:
    • The basis of the Untrusting Community's perspective is based largely on Todd's background as a soldier, and that his violent tendencies are such that he cannot be integrated as a member.
    • By teaching the mute, otherwise-coddled child Nathan necessary violence, the boy is later able to save his parents' lives.
    • Todd's violence allows him to defend the community from the invading next-gen soldiers bent on eradicating them, and subsequently lead them to the The Promised Land.
  • Wasteland Elder: Played with. The elder seems to share leadership duties with Mace, and distrusts Todd. She never changes her stance on him, and ends up being killed during the attack by the advance team.
  • Well-Trained, but Inexperienced: While the Next-Gen soldiers are unquestionably physically superior and well-trained, they have absolutely zero real battlefield experience and are led by a pompous Armchair Military officer who doesn't see the vulnerability this causes. During the climax of the movie, in the first real battle that the Next-Gen soldiers experience, they are unable to adapt or deal with a single "obsolete" soldier and a few trained villagers using guerilla tactics against them and an entire platoon gets wiped out.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: A montage of Todd interacting with Sandra (highlighting Connie Neilsen's beauty) paints the picture of Todd having very strange and powerful feelings awoken within him by this woman's presence, emotions he has absolutely no idea how to process. To a lesser extent, the way Mace and Sandra treat him almost like family, and commonality with Nathan, sees Todd latch on to them with great devotion and loyalty.
  • Why Won't You Die?: A nonverbal version between Todd and Caine in their final fight. Todd has been hammered badly but just keeps getting back up, and Caine looks at him with something between confusion and horror.
  • Worthy Opponent: When offered assistance in repelling the next-gen soldiers, Todd simply says "Soldiers deserve soldiers, sir." This is either a belief that soldiers deserve to be killed by other soldiers, not mere civilians, or that he didn't think the civilians had a chance in hell of winning.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: While the film includes Shout-Outs to several Sci-fi properties, it was specifically envisioned as a spin-off of Blade Runner and the next-gen soldiers are essentially Replicants, just without any use of that term or references to their life-span or the Tyrell Corporation.