22 April 2008 | anonymili
Soldier - he took his revenge, can I now take mine?
As far as story goes, there was absolutely nothing original about this film. It just seemed to be a tired old typical Bollywood plot - honourable guy gets killed in the line of duty leaving a widow and child, child grows up to take revenge on those responsible, falling in love with the wrong girl in the process! What happens in between, in this film anyway, is all rather tiresome and gave me a real sense of déjà vu and not in a nice way!
Surprisingly (or maybe not - this is Bollywood after all) the plot leaves you totally confused in some places as to who is who and who is not who they're supposed to be and who is really whose son! There I've confused myself again - just be glad it's me trying to work it out and not you - you'd get a headache!
Bobby Deol might be cute to look at but I've always found him rather hammy as an actor. He's tall and muscular and suited to this type of role but his acting skills in 1998 (even though one of his earlier films) and acting skills in more recent movies don't seem to have changed. I guess it's always difficult living up to a famous actor of a dad, Dharmendra, who I found somewhat "hammy" even in his best of films (1000s of Bollywood fans would totally disagree with me, mind you)!
This was one of Preity Zinta's first films and thank God she picked better roles after this as her character didn't have much to do in this film except look pretty and she was worth so much more than that even back in 1998! Zinta won the Filmfare and Screen Weekly Awards in 1999 for her role in the film as Best Newcomer and Most Promising Newcomer respectively. Although Zinta gives it her all to convince us that her character is in love with her leading man, his almost buffoon like acting prevented me from taking them seriously and it therefore made them on screen romance look rather forced. On the one hand, he's supposed to be a soldier out for vengeance and on the other hand, he's dancing around trees romancing his target's daughter? Are we really supposed to stomach that?!
I was rather disappointed with Raakhee in Soldier. She has become rather typecast in recent years, since she became too old to play the leading lady herself as the weeping, grieving, whining mother or mother-figure of the hero or heroine of films. I was rather bored every time she appeared on screen in this film to be quite honest and to add insult to injury I never found her to be appealing even back when she played the heroine in films. She just has a miserable sounding voice and mostly did roles where she had to deal with some sort of tragedy in her life
Dalip Tahil (he of short lived UK soap Eastenders fame as Dan Ferreira) and Sharat Saxena were painful to watch as the bad guys. Like in other films Tahil has appeared in and to a lesser extent Saxena they both came across as pantomime baddies! I wanted to shout BOOOO when the appeared on the screen. Suresh Oberoi can pull off a decent enough bad guy (if that's a contradiction in terms, I do apologise) but I'm more used to seeing him as a good guy so I didn't quite buy him as a villain.
I did feel (as with many other Bollywood films I've seen and relentlessly reviewed) that there were too many songs in the film which dragged it out even more than was already acceptable and they were mostly placed at totally inopportune moments! I can't say that I would recognise a single song from the film should I hear one again.
Oh and did I forget to mention Johnny Lever as the token comedian? Well I should have forgotten to mention him for all the additional entertainment he tried but failed to bring to the film! As I've gone to the effort of mentioning the annoying comedian I might as well mention that the music included playback singers such as: Sonu Nigan, Kumar Sanu & Alka Yagnik.
If I have to say something positive about the film apart from that fact that the beautiful and talented Preity Zinta was in it; I would have to say that there was some nice scenery in the film which didn't go all the way to redeeming the film but definitely didn't hurt the film.
One thing which was unclear to me by the end of the film (which made more sense nearer the start) was why the film was called Soldier. The thriller aspect of the film was supposed to be suspenseful but personally I didn't find it at all suspenseful and pretty much guessed the ending at the halfway point and was really hoping that the storyline called for some sort of surprise ending, which disappointingly it didn't!