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"SOLO"
(1996) (Mario Van Peebles, William Sadler) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
None Moderate Moderate Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Mild Mild None Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild Mild None Minor Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Action/Adventure: A synthetic soldier flees when he learns he's to be reprogrammed and must fight off the military's attempts at recapturing him.
PLOT:
Solo (MARIO VAN PEEBLES) is the first prototype synthetic soldier developed by the military. Stronger and faster than humans, he is valuable primarily due to his expendability in dangerous situations. During a mission to destroy a guerilla airstrip in the jungle, everything is going fine until Solo calls off the mission after he's determined that non-hostiles (children) are present. The military brass, led by General Haynes (BARRY CORBIN), isn't happy and orders Bill (ADRIEN BRODY), Solo's programmer, to send Solo back to the lab to be reprogrammed. Intercepting this message, Solo acts upon him prime directive: Preserve Self. Thus, he takes a helicopter and escapes back to the jungle. There he encounters peaceful villagers who have been "drafted" into building the airstrip for the guerilla forces. Noticing how he takes care of several guerillas, the villagers ask for his help in defending themselves. He agrees and the villagers are successful. But when Haynes dispatches evil Colonel Madden (WILLIAM SADLER), and then later a new and improved robot, to retrieve the renegade soldier, Solo must do whatever he can to survive.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Maybe. There are no big draws in this movie, but its similarity to "Terminator 2" might make some kids want to see it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For combat action violence and brief strong language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • MARIO VAN PEEBLES plays the synthetic soldier who begins to learn about the human way of life, but is still a preprogrammed fighting machine that kills many people (but only the bad guys).
  • WILLIAM SADLER plays both the despicable Colonel and the improved robot. The robot is a better role model only because he has no choice in wanting to be evil and kill things -- he's just programmed that way. The human Colonel is just very bad.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
    If you took two older Arnold Schwarzenegger movies ("Terminator Two" and "Predator"), mixed them together and then took out the high production values, you'd get this film. It isn't a really bad film. It's just that we've seen this before where it was done much better. Van Peebles isn't bad as the robot with human tendencies, but we don't see enough of him learning those human qualities. Instead we get to see lots of uninspired jungle fighting. And Sadler way overacts as the bad guy. Beyond that there are too many inconsistencies that distract from enjoying this film. For instance it's said that Solo can't physically withstand being shot down in his helicopter, but moments later he crashes it into a mountain side and survives relatively unscathed. And then there's the General who can't make up his mind about how he wants Solo returned. In one scene he orders that he come back in one piece. Then he says to bring him back in any fashion since "we can put him back together." But then he reconsiders saying he wants him without a scratch. And then he finally decides to just get rid of him to be done with the whole mess. Also nothing is made of the fact that Solo has a gaping wound in his side that earlier was reported to be his Achilles heel, but no one takes advantage of this or even remembers it.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    If you think about the Schwarzenegger type action films, this one plays out in a similar fashion. Many people are killed in many different ways, but none of it is too gory. There's a moderate amount of profanity (one "f" word), only one sexually related item (a playing card with a bare breasted woman on it), and little or no alcohol use or smoking. If your kids are used to (and mature enough for) this type of action film, then this one will offer no bad surprises. As always, read through the listings before letting your children see this.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None.
  • BLOOD/ GORE
  • Solo has a big wound in his side with some torn up skin, but then it's seen to be just wires and metal sticking out of him.
  • Some of the wounded or dead soldiers and villagers are a bit bloody.
  • Blood drips down onto a priest who looks up and sees several bloody bodies hanging in the Church rafters.
  • Oil (or some similar fluid) flows from Solo and nearly looks like blood.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The guerillas are forcing some local villagers to build their airstrip and often they threaten (and occasionally kill) the villagers as incentives to work harder. They also force the children into hard labor.
  • Colonel Madden lies and tells the General that Solo has burned down the villager's huts, when in fact he's the one responsible.
  • Colonel Madden and his men side with the enemy (the guerillas) in order to find and kill Solo.
  • FRIGHTENING/TENSE SCENES
  • Solo is sneaking along the hilly side of a jungle airstrip planting bombs. As he makes his way along the hill, there are several times when he is almost discovered by enemy soldiers.
  • As Solo recharges his power pack he experiences (and we see) several disorienting flashbacks that include some violence and may be a little disturbing to some kids (because of the way it's shot and edited together).
  • Several scenes listed in "Violence" may also be scary or tense to some. For details, read through that category.
  • A rattlesnake nearly bites a villager boy, but Solo grabs it just in time.
  • A large log, tied up via a swinging rope and to be used to fight the guerillas, comes lose and, in slow motion, swings down and twice nearly hits two village boys.
  • There are many scenes in the old temple tunnels that kids may find spooky due to the darkness and abundance of cobwebs.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Machine Guns/Explosives of all Sorts: Used throughout the movie to inflict harm or death upon innocent and not so innocent people. For details see "Violence."
  • A young villager boy has a handgun hidden in an old temple and gets it to protect himself from the guerillas. Later, he uses that same gun to shoot at the new robot man.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • A young villager boy has a handgun hidden in an old temple and gets it to protect himself from the guerillas. Later, he uses that same gun to shoot at the new robot man.
  • As Solo is relatively bullet proof, he's shot many times without any apparent harm. Some kids may think (as they act like Solo) that they won't be hurt if they're shot.
  • Phrases: In subtitles a village woman tells one of the guerillas, "The worms will feed on your testicles." Also "Pissed," and "Shut up."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A rattlesnake nearly bites a villager boy, but Solo grabs it just in time.
  • Some people may jump when Solo comes up out of the water a man is drinking from, grabs, and kills him.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • Several scenes are accompanied by mild suspenseful music.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 1 "f" word, 6 "s" words, 6 hells, 2 SOB's, 2 "ass" words and 5 uses of "God damn," and 1 use each of "Jesus," "Jesus Christ," and "Oh my God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Solo looks at a playing card the villagers are using. On it is a naked woman whose breasts can clearly be seen.
  • SMOKING
  • A soldier smokes a cigarette.
  • Bill smokes a cigarette.
  • Some villagers are seen smoking cigars while playing cards.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Robots/synthetic beings.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A man is knifed in the neck and falls to the ground.
  • Solo is planting bombs near a jungle airstrip. When his team notices that he's deactivating them (after seeing kids in harms way), they detonate the bombs, blowing up the airfield and Solo is swept away in an avalanche of dirt. After that, the guerillas fire their machine guns back at the U.S. soldiers who return fire.
  • There's a helicopter chase scene where Solo ends up crashing his copter into the side of a mountain. It explodes and the burned up wreckage is later seen, but he isn't.
  • When Solo recharges his power supply, he experiences flashbacks including some combat training. Several soldiers attack him with fists, knives and in one instance, a gun. He easily disarms and then inflicts necessary harm (no deaths) on his opponents.
  • A guerilla soldier executes a villager after receiving an unsatisfactory answer to his question of how long it will take the villagers to rebuild the jungle airstrip.
  • The villagers, mistakenly believing that Solo is dead, prepare to bury him. A guerilla soldier comes in, aims his gun at Solo and fires just as Solo grabs his arm. Other soldiers then fire their machine guns at him (the bullets bounce off) and another comes at Solo with a machete. He easily beats up all of the attacking guerillas by throwing them here and there.
  • The villagers attack the guerillas. A log smashes into a jeep. The guerillas fire their machine back at the villagers who then shoot flaming arrows at the soldiers, one of which is impaled by one. A small basket with many sharp sticks and spears inside it explodes and several guerilla soldiers are killed. Solo breaks a guerilla's back who was trying to shoot some village girls. He then throws a large log onto other soldiers.
  • Colonel Madden and his men have killed one of their own men (who earlier had questioned their actions), and then kill one of the villagers after they're done with him.
  • Several dead and bleeding villagers are discovered in the rafters of the village church.
  • Colonel Madden broadcasts to Solo that he'll kill Bill if Solo doesn't give himself up. Solo then finds Bill, who's been beaten (and in a later scene dies), in a tent. Madden and his men then fire flamethrowers into the tent just as Solo carries Bill out. The men then fire machine guns at the two who somehow manage to escape.
  • The guerillas say that they'll kill one peasant per hour until Solo gives himself up.
  • Solo shows up and dispatches (ie. Kills) most of the guerillas. He breaks one's neck and impales another. Colonel Madden orders the church to be blown up despite that fact that many of the guerillas (now his allies) are inside. The church explodes and then the U.S. soldiers shoot down the remaining guerillas.
  • Colonel Madden's men then try to kill Solo by machine gun fire or attacking him with large sticks (neither works). Madden then fires grenades at Solo which blow up near him, but he avoids harm and finally grabs Madden and holds him above his head. "How do you think this is going to make you feel, Solo?" the Colonel asks after figuring out he's doomed. Solo replies, "I don't know, let's find out" and then drops the Madden down onto his knee, breaking his back.
  • The new robot man (who looks just like Colonel Madden) finds Madden and after determining he won't survive, breaks his neck.
  • Robot man and Solo then fight the big last battle. Robot man has a big weapon on his arm that fires explosives at Solo who just manages not to get hit. Once the weapon's empty, the two then throw one another back and forth and smash each other into the temple walls. Just as Robot man thinks he's won, Solo jams an explosive into his side that explodes and "kills him."



  • Reviewed August 21, 1996

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