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Jingo Juice: Super Soldier Saviors in the Movies
By: Fuzzy Mickael
Ah, the "super soldier". A genetically-modified attempt at human perfection. The ultimate killing machine. This is the ever-rare action film trope that is equally portrayed as being heroic and villainous. Most character archetypes in action flicks are easily identifiable as an antagonist or protagonist. A cop who likes to play by his own rules? Hero. Vaguely Arabic guy with a beard? Villain. Guy with a perpetual 5 O'clock shadow who makes glib comments even in dire situations? Face. Guy with obnoxious facial hair and a 3-piece suit? Heel. But when it comes to super soldiers, we just can't make up our minds about whether or not we want them in our lives.

On one hand; having a genetically altered or cybernetic warrior to champion democracy and reduce the risk to our troops sounds like the closest thing to a utopian scenario we can reasonably achieve. We can't always prevent war (because who knows when the next Hitler-esque bully will step on the scene and start some shit), but if we can just send in Sergeant Bazooka-fists to end the fight quickly and cleanly then the free world will be safe. He's the last defense before we resort to nuclear weapons. He's like a condom instead of an abortion. He's Captain America.
On the other hand; there is perhaps no greater indicator that we inherently distrust the military-industrial complex than the fact that we frequently cast the super soldier in the role of villain as well. In the Universal Soldier franchise, we're shown the utter lack of humanity that is required to transform people into obedient killing slaves. Can you really put a price on a person's soul? If we condone this extreme measure, even if it's to ensure our own survival, then the human race as we know it has already been sacrificed!

This moral dilemma is really just the same "hawks vs doves" argument that we've been having since the 60s, only now it's being played out in Sci Fi and action movies instead of sit-ins and protests. When is it acceptable to take a life? When have we gone too far as a society? By supporting our military, aren't we really just condoning mass murder? Why can't we support our troops without supporting the government that's pulling the strings and sending our children off to die? These are the questions provoked by super soldier experiments in film, even if many of the movies don't even attempt to answer them.
Fortunately, I'm not interested in answering these questions either.

All I want to do is make a list of super soldier films, so that anyone who's a fan of the subgenre can expand their knowledge! I've already similarly done this for nunsploitation films, cannibal movies, and even R-rated cartoons (among others). As with those lists, I will only be looking at feature films, not TV shows or shorts. Additionally, I'm only looking at actual modified soldiers, not police officers (sorry, RoboCop) or anything too post-apocalyptic-y (sorry, Terminator). I'm also trying to be as thorough as I can, but I will not list films that have a super-soldier subplot which doesn't result in actual super-soldier action. (For instance; "Aaah! Zombies!!" or "C.H.U.D. II: Bud The Chud" or "Return Of The Killer Tomatoes"). Nor am I interested in Orcs or Storm Troopers, because they're just untalented cannon fodder.

After all, if you're here you probably want to see exceptional warriors doing supernatural things! Luckily for you, I can almost guarantee that I have one or two films featured below that you haven't heard of. Enough with the intro, already. Let's get ready for war in Jingo Juice: Super Soldier Saviors in the Movies!
Stand Alone Movies:
Haywire (2011)
A black ops super soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and set up during a mission. Gina Carano kicks so much ass, dude. The fight scenes in this movie are first-rate and so is the cast, which consists of; the aforementioned Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Anthony Wong, and Bill Paxton!

Soldier (1998)
In a futuristic society, some people are selected at birth to become soldiers, and trained in such a manner that they become inhuman killing machines. One of the most succesfull and older of these soldiers (Russell) is pitted against a new breed of soldiers.

Solo (1996)
Mario Van Peebles stars as an android killing weapon designed by the military and utilized to enter into a Latin American war to destroy the rebels - natives fighting simply to maintain their freedom. Contrary to his programming, he develops an affinity for the villagers and decides to help them fight back. This lets his creators bring him back and ultimately leads to one of them being given more powerful circuitry to defeat him.

Saikano: The Last Love Song on this Little Planet (2005)
Based on a manga.
Quiet, introverted high school girl Chise, who is madly in love with Shuji, a confident, arrogant athlete. But Chise has a secret, one so dark, so terrible that it may threaten not only her relationship with Shuji, but also her life, his life and the future of the entire country. For Chise is no ordinary girl, she is the ultimate weapon of mass destruction, a genetically engineered cyborg built specifically for military use - and when she goes into battle she strikes fear in everyone around her, including her own troops.

Deadpool (2016)
Wade Wilson is a merc with a mouth... and a heart of gold!
He gets some cancers and thinks he's gonna die, but he loves his hooker girlfriend too much to die, so he says, "NOT TODAY, DEATH!" and so he goes and gets himself some super powers!
But, he became ugly in the process.
He's so upset about being ugly that he decides to just fucking kill everybody that was involved in his ugly-ass transformation.

Horrors Of War (2006)
Feeling the pressure from Allied advance, Hitler unleashes his secret weapons giving rise to a type of warfare the world has never seen. Throughout the European theater of WWII, Lieutenant John Schmidt comes face to face with these "weapons."
This is a cheesy, low budget B-movie. Well worth the watch if you like that sort of thing.

Terrible Things (2010)
I can pretty much guarantee you've never seen this movie, so even if you think the rest of the list is trite and basic, I can point to this and be like: "Seen that one, FUCKFACE?!"

The cost of protecting our freedom some times results in even a great nation doing terrible things. The United States is in an elevated state of panic over the recent terrorist plots around the world. The president has called for a black ops mission inside Mexico to find a suspected terrorist drop point. Once in Mexico the team of five special forces soldiers find nothing is quite what they expected, and the only thing for sure is this is a matter of life and death.

The Last Sentinel (2007)
No emotion. No fear. No pain. They were the perfect soldiers to protect civilization-until the drone police became the perfect enemy. With little hope left for mankind, Tallis, an electronically enhanced soldier, rescues a rebel beauty from a failed resistance mission.
Reasons to watch this:
1) Keith David
2) Don "The Dragon" Wilson
3) Bokeem Woodbine

Edge Of Tomorrow (2014)
Tom Cruise respawns in this sci fi/action gritty reboot of Groundhog Day!

Far Cry (2008)
*WARNING* This is a Uwe Boll video game adaption *WARNING*
Jack Carver, a German ex-special forces soldier turned boatman, is hired by Valerie Cardinal, a journalist, to take her to a nearby island where her uncle Max works in a top-secret research facility, smuggling information out. However, the facility's director and evil mastermind Dr. Krieger is actually creating genetically modified super-soldiers with no intelligence.

UKM: The Ultimate Killing Machine (2006)
Now, here's something a little different: a horror movie take on the super soldier!
Waylon and Buddy decide to join the army as it appears to be their best option. But when they realize that they are part of a group that have been thrown into a medical experiment facility with a doctor who plans on turning them into ultimate killing machines, they must fight to destroy his other creations and save themselves.

Universal Soldiers (2007)
This "mockbuster" is by The Asylum, and isn't even really all that similar to Universal Soldier. Also, it was released at a time when there hadn't even been a UniSol movie in 8 fucking years, so like what were they hoping for? I dunno, man.

Popular Franchises:
The Bourne Identity (2002)
The story of a man whose wounded body is discovered by fishermen who nurse him back to health. He can remember nothing and begins to try to rebuild his memory based on clues such as a Swiss bank account, the number of which is implanted in his hip. He soon realizes that he is being hunted and takes off with Marie on a search to find out who he is - and why he is being hunted. This works so well they do it several more times.

The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
Jason Bourne evades assassination and punches things very well, while searching for the secret to his past.

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
Jason Bourne evades assassination again and continues to punch things very well, while searching for the secret to his past.

The Bourne Legacy (2012)
THIS ONE'S TOTALLY DIFFERENT, in that during the events of the previous movie (the one in which Jason Bourne evaded assassination and punched things very well, while searching for information on his past), some guy named Aaron Cross also evades assassination and... punches things... very well...

Jason Bourne (2016)
Jason Bourne returns!
To evade assassination.
And to punch things.
Very well.
(And to find more information on his past.)

Universal Soldier (1992)
The army uses the bodies of soldiers who died in Vietnam for a secret project - reanimating them as deadly obedient cyborgs. This elite team of soldiers has been used against terrorists where they use astounding physical capabilities to overcome them.

Universal Soldier 2: Brothers In Arms (1998)
Produced for Showtime, this is a largely unrecognized sequel that was intended to kickstart a TV Series. It is universally awful. (But, it does have GARY BUSEY and MATT BATTAGLIA!!)

Universal Soldier 3: Unfinished Business (1999)
Produced for Showtime, this is yet another largely unrecognized sequel produced at a time that they still thought maaaaaybe they could get a TV series out of it. (At the time, a theatrical sequel was being made with Van Damme and Bill Goldberg). This is universally awful. (This one has BURT REYNOLDS and MATT BATTAGLIA!!)

Universal Soldier: The Return (1999)
Most people say this is the worst of the theatrical Universal Soldier films, but I'd like to point out that it has Van Damme, Bill-fucking-Goldberg, Michael Jai White, and Xander Berkeley! So, how bad could it be?

Universal Soldier: Regeneration (2009)
This one is sort of depressing and slow. It's the George Harrison of the group.

Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning (2012)
This final sequel picks up the pace and adds Scott Adkins to the mix. (Which is all it needs to become AWESOME.)

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
A skinny kid from Brooklyn takes steroids and becomes a bro. He sings and dances. Then he fights nazis. Then he takes a very long nap.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Steroid guy wakes up from his nap only to discover that everyone he ever knew and loved is really old or really dead. (or are they? dun-dun-dun) Some secrets from his past still linger...

Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Steroid dude is still pissy about how long he slept. Some secrets from his past still linger, even though he politely asked them to stop lingering him.
Seriously, though, this might just be the best superhero movie of all time.

Captain America (1979 TV Movie)
Captain America dresses like Evel Kneivel, and looks like Yor, the Hunter from the Future.

Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979 TV Movie)
Christopher Lee co-stars in this campy, unnecessary sequel to the 1979 TV movie. Cap still dresses like a motorcycle stunt man, and they still can't get this stupid thing turned into a TV series, no matter how much cocaine they snort.

Captain America (1990)
They considered a lot of actors to play Captain America in this film. Val Kilmer thought about it, but went for The Doors instead. Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn't cut it because of his accent. Dolph Lundgren was too busy filming The Punisher. Who could possibly be awesome enough to fill this role?
Why, Matt Salinger, of course!
And who is Matt Salinger?
I dunno.

Hitman (2007)
A genetically-altered assassin known as Agent 47 is hired by a group known only as 'The Organization', which finds him pursued by both Interpol and the Russian military as he treks across Russia and Eastern Europe.

Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)
This reboot is SO MUCH BETTER than the first one. Seriously. Some fantastic over-the-top action. HITMAN: AGENT 47 centers on an elite assassin who was genetically engineered from conception to be the perfect killing machine, and is known only by the last two digits on the barcode tattooed on the back of his neck. He is the culmination of decades of research and forty-six earlier Agent clones -- endowing him with unprecedented strength, speed, stamina and intelligence.

Iron Man 3 (2013)
Iron Man is NOT a super soldier. He's a billionaire playboy philanthropist with a cute outfit. But, in this 3rd film, he's pitted against Extremis soldiers who ARE super soldiers. So, there.

The Incredible Hulk (2008)
The Hulk is also NOT a super soldier.
He's just an angry nerd.
However, Banner then must fight a soldier who unleashes himself as a threat stronger than he... Tim Roth?

Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)
Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2010)
Although anything with Wolverine in it could technically be seen as a "super soldier" movie because he was a part of the Weapon X program, THIS is the only film that really focuses heavily on Weapon X and displays the skills of a whole team of mutant soldiers. If you claim that my list sucks because I didn't include EVERY film with Wolverine in it, then fuck you because I think people can find those movies just fine on their own. Do I really need to tell people this?

Honorable Mentions:
(Close, But No Cigar)
I can't wait for all you lovely bastards to tell me how wrong I am, because Jason Bourne isn't a super soldier, Terminator needs to be here, and blah blah blah... I promise, I'll do a cyborg soldier subgenre very soon!
Until then; bring it on, CineManiacs:
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1 comment
Average Vote: 110.0/5

BDLHellcat
2016-10-07 21:06:11
Would you consider "Frankenstein's Army" for this list? Have you seen this? It's like if the creepy neighbor kid from "Toy Story" were a Nazi doctor experimenting on soldiers. Uber violent, which is not normally my thing... but interesting nonetheless.

Or, "Manborg" ... this is an awesome piece of awesomeness that is a must see. Though, it may fit your exception of too post-apocalyptic-ey... it still deserves a mention.

Also, if Jason Bourne is mentioned... how about "La Femme Nikita" or, the American remake "Point of No Return"... or even, "Salt" for that matter. Killer female assassin sleepers. Those are killer flicks. Pun intended.

 
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