Review: John Adams’ “Soldier of War”

I should probably take my own advice and watch the trailers of the movies I review. I thought Soldier of War was going to be about Nazi-zombies in an underground bunker. While this is partially true, it’s important to note that the bunker is only used every so often and the majority of the film takes place in a snow-covered town in the grips of mysterious murders. Written by John Adams and Peter Adams, Soldier of War sees two children uncover a secret military bunker hidden after the end of World War II. Inadvertently they unleash an undead soldier, who makes the town his stomping ground as he embarks on a brutal, ritualistic killing spree. Police officers, medical examiners, and anyone who steps foot in his forest become meat for the grinder. With the murders growing to national media coverage, the whole country of England wants answers…and they’ll find them in an unsuspecting war veteran who knew this day would come. But will anyone believe him? Directed and produced by John Adams, Soldier of War stars John Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings saga), Rosie Fellner, Tristam Summers, Paul Reynolds, Tanya Franks, Gary Mavers, Jack Derges, Theo Devany, Glenn Salvage and Anna Botting. Find it on VOD March 3rd and on DVD April 9th courtesy of Uncork’d Entertainment.

Well, Soldier of War was a production, I can tell, and it would be lazy of me to call it an independent feature. It could most definitely play in theaters across England, although I think it would be hard to reach its desired audience. It’s exciting and brutal, yet it falls short of anything in the Dead Snow territory. Still, I applaud director John Adams and producer Diane Shorthouse for handling a production of this magnitude and pulling the whole thing off with very little error. Actually, the only errors I found are a shot that needed to be a little more in focus and a few takes that were deserving of another go. Still, with so much gore, location changes, extras, action sequences, etc – Soldier of War came out victorious. I mean, where does one even find an underground bunker to film in, and imagine doing most of that in the cold? Props to the crew departments that helped this film become such a success. Props to the cast, too, because I’m happy to say there isn’t a single weak performance in this feature. Of course, having John Rhys-Davies as a lead will instantly draw fans to this horror title, but he was just one participant in a pool of great talent.

Plot death, plot death, plot death… that’s basically the gist of Soldier of War. People work to solve the mystery of who’s killing all these people – oh, just a zombie soldier from WWII – and every fifteen minutes or so there’s a massacre. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, especially in the realm of horror-thrillers. I want to liken Soldier of War to Predator because it features a menacing figure in the woods killing at random while everyone around struggles to piece together its backstory based on clues and random anecdotes. While the zombie in this picture isn’t from outer-space, I can’t help but see some sort of correlation between him and the Predator, due to their military-style tactics of murder. Also throw in the fact that soldier is hostile more out of confusion and being territorial more than wanting to destroy the world. And still, I feel that Soldier of War is partially a period piece, too, due to all the talk of WWII and its fallout in this particular setting. More flashbacks to the 40s and more current, direct military involvement would have really helped to weave this thing together.

I haven’t had anything too bad to say about this movie, but I haven’t had anything remarkable to say about it, either. Soldier of War is releasing later this year via Uncork’d Entertainment, and, yeah, I think you should check it out if you like Predator or are a fan of the Nazi-zombie genre. But I think I’d pass on this one a second time. Just not enough bite for me. Cool poster, though.

Final Score: 6 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)