Film (1998). Warner Brothers pictures in association with Morgan Creek, JW Productions, and Impact Pictures. Directed by Paul W S Anderson. Written by David Webb Peoples. Cast includes Gary Busey, Jason Isaacs, Jason Scott Lee, Connie Nielsen and Kurt Russell. 99 minutes. Colour.
Expectations were high for this lavishly budgeted followup to Blade Runner (1982), scripted by that film's co-writer and set, to no apparent purpose, in the colony worlds (see Colonization of Other Worlds) referenced in the original film. A sentimental tale of a discarded and obsolete super-soldier saving a community on a colony planet by the canny use of extreme violence, the film shares elements with Peoples' celebrated western Unforgiven (1992), but to much lesser effect. Sporadic reference is made to off-world names and events from that film, notably from Rutger Hauer's self-scripted final monologue, but there are no elements from the work of Philip K Dick himself. Perversely old-fashioned in story and production design alike, the film flopped very badly; in the UK the film went straight to video after recouping only $15 million from its reported $75 million budget in America, putting it in the same lossmaking bracket as The Postman (1997), Red Planet (2000), and A Sound of Thunder (2005), though still some way behind The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002) and Mars Needs Moms (2011). Anderson, who championed the project strongly, had been a rising star after Mortal Kombat (1995) and Event Horizon (1997), the latter made during a delay in the start of production for Soldier; after its failure he spent four years in the wilderness before reactivating his career with Resident Evil (2002). [PN/JN/NL]
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