Part Machine: 9/10
Total Weapon: 7/10
Remember this one? It’s great! In fact, it was so good that Kurt Russell practically remade it a year later in the form of a movie called Soldier (quite possibly an upcoming review). Why am I so enthusiastic over Solo? Is it because I love movies where an unstoppable killing machine discovers the joy of human emotions? Is it because William Sadler plays an awesome bad guy (due to his leather face)? Is it because Adrien Brody dies? There are so many reasons, but I guess it just comes down to the simple fact that I am a hopeless romantic at heart…and an unstoppable killing machine.
Solo, a two-billion-dollar prototype robotic soldier, has just gone out for his first test excercise…..and failed. Why? Well, when he was trying to blow up an enemy airstrip, he discovered some civilians that his programming wouldn’t allow him to harm. He removed the charges that he was setting, and the mission was a failure. Col. Frank Madden (William Sadler) thinks that Solo is an insult to the army, and demands that this failure serve as grounds for a complete re-programming. Dr. Bill Stewart (Adrien Brody), the man who designed Solo, thinks that this failure proves the existence of emotions present in his creation. Solo thinks that he needs to get the hell out of there before anybody tries to mess with his brain…..er……..hard drive.
What’s a robot to do? He steals a helicopter before his body is repaired from the damage he sustained on the previous mission, and crashes into a mountain in the jungle (I expected more from a highly advanced robot). He crawls in to an old temple and attempts to recharge his failing battery, and is soon discovered by the local villagers. Once they understand what he is, they agree to supply him with electricity in exchange for his services to protect them from the local militia. Mutually beneficial and acceptable terms. Solo is soon teaching them how to set traps and fire weapons, and they begin to teach him what it means to be human. He does the standard robot things like stating human emotions are illogical, learning how to laugh, and even discovering the beauty of bluffing (the sweet, sweet art of lying). Soon, however, the fighting begins.
With Solo’s help, the villagers easily fight off the men that have been harassing them for years. No time to celebrate, though, because Col. Madden (remember him?) has assembled a group of elite marines to hunt down Solo like a dog. They attack the village with some heavy artillery, and kill Solo’s creator in the process. Dr. Bill had a gift for Solo, though, and that just happened to be a brand new power supply. Solo installs it in a hurry, and once he’s back to full strength, he takes out the marines with the greatest of ease. After he snaps Madden’s back like twig, he discovers that there is still one more challenge facing him. The government has designed a superior Solo model (in the image of Col. Madden), and it wants to play. Solo gets his butt kicked for a good while, but draws the improved model in with a bluff (because he learned how to bluff from a kid!) and sticks him in the side with a mini-explosive. Then, he collapses a temple around himself and the other Solo to put an end to the madness, once and for all. The movie ends with mysterious laughter filling the forest, and the villagers know that Solo is still alive.
If I were going to make a robot that cost two billion dollars, I think I would prioritize the installation of a tracking device and a kill switch. These simple ideas would have made the movie obsolete, though, so I can understand why nobody even bothers to mention it. Also, why would someone get mad at a robot for following its programming? If you want the thing to kill everyone, then it doesn’t need to distinguish between “combatant” and “non-combatant”, so why even bother? I know that I could make an awesome killer robot if I sat down and tried, and I can guarantee that the only heart it would feel would be that of its enemies as it kills them (unless it’s fighting other robots, obviously).
Until next time, you keep watching those bad movies and I won’t swim in your toilet.