Experience Trumps Strength
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 12/31/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Kurt Russell plays Sgt. Todd, #3465, among the first genetically engineered soldiers born and raised to fight. After many years, decades even, of loyal and effective service, a new generation of soldier has been developed. The new generation is stronger with faster reflexes. Of course, in the world of movies there must be a drawback. The drawback is that the new generation has too much arrogance, too little experience, and perhaps way too little common sense.
After a demonstration between the new soldiers, one which has little to do with fighting in the real world, Sgt. Todd is apparently dead and is dropped onto an uninhabited trash world; a huge open-air landfill for civilizations across the inhabited space of mankind. However, Sgt. Todd quickly discovers that the trash world is not uninhabited.
A group of pioneers crashlanded on the planet on the way to another planet, and no one knows they are there. Sgt. Todd has no reason to behave as a soldier towards these people; they do not threaten him and in fact they welcome him to their homes. Eventually they come to distrust his soldierly mein and boot him out of their settlement.
By a complete and bizarre coincidence, the new generation of genetically engineered soldiers has been sent to the trash planet to eradicate the squatters, who are somehow now armed and dangerous, at least so far as the soldiers have been told. Of course, even though Sgt. Todd has been booted out of the settlement he cares for these people and returns to defend them, showing that in actual combat experience and creativity will outweigh sheer strength as long as the odds are somewhat reasonable.
Kurt's character is a perfect blend of Spock and any action hero you care to name. He kills only when necessary, and he has an incredible code of honor. His code of honor extends only to those who act honorably, as we discover in the movie.
The movie is uncharacteristic in that is relies more on the development of Sgt. Todd's character than on special effects and action. The suspense near the end is a bit overly dramatic in places, with more than a little hokum, but in the end the movie is effective and enjoyable.
If you are looking for another variation on the theme of "Mad Max" and "The Road Warrior," with a character who is nearly unemotional, then this movie may fit the bill.