Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
The Soldier (1981)
Embassy Home Video | Review by Dan Taylor

Made in the great period of the 1980s before Gorbachev, glasnost and the Malta Summit, THE SOLDIER revels in its depiction of all Russians as slimy, raping and pillaging scum whose only goal in life is the destruction of "the American way of life." In fact, the Commies in this go 'round are sooooo evil that they steal plutonium and make some kind of bomb which they plant somewhere (I'd actually lost most of my interest by this point).

The only squad that can possibly save the day is run by a CIA operative known only by the code name, "The Soldier." As played by Ken Wahl in pre-'Wiseguy' fashion,"The Soldier" is a mix of James Bond and Rambo...getting caught in hair-raising predicaments and then blasting his way out of them.

Klaus Kinski shows up for about one scene 34 minutes into the flick (okay, so I was clock-watching) as a KGB agent named Dracha who wears a really spiffy white ski outfit and tries to kill Wahl by employing a ski lift and a Laaz Rocket. Not classic Klaus, but better than nothing.

Much to my disappointment my memory of this flick was better than the actual product. Yes, there is a great beginning on a Philadelphia street near my old stomping grounds. Yes, director James Glickenhaus includes a few good twists and exploding heads. And yes, Steve (AMERICAN NINJA/AVENGING FORCE) James does get to say to a redneck in a bar: "You got two choices asshole...duck or bleed." However, these three minor shining points do nothing to absolve THE SOLDIER of its looong uninteresting stretches.


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