Review: SOLDIER OF WAR (2017)

Shot and released in the UK under the title Aux, Soldier of War is the first directorial effort from prolific producer John Adams (I Am Vengeance, Demons Never Die). Working from a script by his father Peter Adams, he’s taken an overused idea and given it a neat and effective twist.

Two boys out in the woods stumble across an abandoned Army bunker. Abandoned, but not empty. There’s something still in it, something that’s been waiting to be unleashed on the enemy. As the bodies begin to pile up the police, led by detectives Unwin (Tristam Summers) and Samantha Huntley (Rosie Fellner The Housemaid) are at a loss. But they may be about to get a break. Jack (John Rhys-Davies, Grizzly II: Revenge, Tainted), an old, possibly senile man in a nursing home, claims to know what’s behind the killings. It’s a secret that goes back to a “last line of defence” against a potential German invasion.

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An army anti-terrorist unit is called in, but even they begin to fall victim to the killer. A killer who’s been trained in guerrilla warfare, and may not even be among the living.

Soldier Of War starts out quite strong, with several genuinely creepy scenes and some surprisingly gory kills. A chase through the woods and a decapitation both stand out here. But as the police and eventually military manhunts begin, it becomes more of a First Blood type of film. There are a couple of good sequences involving booby traps, but it’s not as effective. I’d have preferred the film to have kept going in a horror vein rather than become a hybrid action/horror outing.

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The killer’s identity and motivation are an interesting variation on the leftover “super soldier” or military zombie we’ve seen in the like of the Outpost films. I would think though, that even from the other side of the grave a British soldier would be able to tell an English policeman from a German soldier. The resolution is also different, though some may take issue with it.

Overall though, Soldier of War is a satisfying film. I do wish the gore had been more practical and less CGI enhancement. But it’s good enough to get the job done most of the time.

Uncork’d Entertainment will release Soldier of War on VOD March 3rd and DVD April 9th

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