Soldier: From Script to Screen (2023) Book Review



Soldier: From Script to Screen is a genuine love letter to the Kurt Russell film exploring how the movie got made featuring interviews with the writers, producers and other crew members making this essential reading material.

About: An examination of the evolution of the western into a whole sub-genre of films and looks in detail behind the scenes of Soldier, one of the most obscure, overlooked, and underrated science fiction films.

A discussion of Soldier’s legacy and how it drew inspiration from George Steven’s 1953 western, Shane.

An Overview of the Career of Actor Kurt Russell.

An exclusive Interview with the Oscar-nominated Screenwriter David Webb Peoples.

An interview with the Oscar-nominated Production Designer David L. Snyder.

Interviews with Oscar-Winning/Nominated Make-up Artists Steve LaPorte and Peter Montagna.

Guest essays by John Hansen, Mark Stratton, and John Kenneth Muir.

Afterword by Paul M. Sammon, the author of: Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner, Conan the Phenomenon, and The Making of Starship Troopers.

Review: I’ve always found Soldier starring Kurt Russell to be underrated, but it’s popularity has grown over the years to become a bit of a cult classic. Russell was in his 40’s at the time and he got into what was arguably the best shape of his life to play Todd, a soldier trained from birth to become the ultimate weapon. He is stripped of his humanity and it’s only when he is abandoned by the military and dumped on a trash planet that he meets a group of people who show him what it means to be human.

There is a great fight scene at the end between Russell and the criminally underrated Jason Scott Lee and there is plenty of action and impressive visual effects throughout.

Author Danny Stewart has written a book called Solider: From Script to Screen which takes a look at bringing the film to life; it’s filled with insightful interviews with the crew and the screenwriter of the film David Webb Peoples. The script was initially written in 1984, so it was a long time before it actually became a reality.

Despite what many may think Soldier was never written to be a side-sequel to Blade Runner and was more inspired by the original Terminator (although Blade Runner was certainly an influence as well). This book actually points out themes and references and there were some aspects I hadn’t noticed like the battles of Tannhauser Gate and Shoulder of Orion which are of course references to Blade Runner, but the film also includes references to the likes of The Thing and Escape from New York.

This book is impeccably researched and well written; it’s wonderful to see a film like Soldier get more love than it did at the time of release. Danny Stewart is clearly a fan of the movie and I love to see his passion jump off the page.

In terms of flaws the cover artwork looks a little cheap so you do miss actually seeing any images form the movie itself; if you saw this in a shop you wouldn’t really know it had anything to do with the Kurt Russell film. There are also no images in the book so you can tell this is unofficial.

Overall, if you’re a fan of the film Soldier then this book is a must-have as it goes into all the behind the scenes of bringing the film to life and it’s packed with informative and entertaining interviews where even if you didn’t like the film before reading this book it will surely make you want to give it a reappraisal.