BLU-RAY REVIEW: TOY SOLDIERS / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: DANIEL PETRIE JR. / SCREENPLAY: DANIEL PETRIE JR., DAVID KOEPP, WILLIAM P. KENNEDY / STARRING: SEAN ASTIN, WIL WHEATON, ANDREW DIVOFF, LOUIS GOSSETT JR. / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 2ND
Regis High School is an exclusive prep school for delinquent teenage boys. One group in particular, led by Billy Tepper (Astin), loves nothing more than an elaborate prank and winding up the Dean (Gossett Jr.). However, when a Colombian drug lord is extradited to the US, his son and a group of terrorists take over the school to try and force the US government to negotiate the release of the kingpin father. Like a group of mini-John McClanes, Tepper and his buddies take it upon themselves to stop the terrorists anyway they can.
With the over-the-top action of the ‘80s heyday coming to an end, Toy Soldiers is a poorer relation of the big guns and, as a result, is all the more refreshing. The idea of a bunch of over-privileged teens being able to take on a group of well-armed and well prepared terrorists and bring them down would have been a miscalculation. By making the teens scared and using their years of experience in bad behaviour as a tool to thwart the villains and assist the FBI and US army, rather than overthrow them, the director and writers have managed to create a believable situation where you root for the students. It is an enjoyable film that could have ended up being an experiment in stupidity in less subtle hands.
Nearing its quarter century anniversary, Toy Soldiers does still stand up today, putting the events in over-the-top Hollywood experiences like the Expendables franchise to shame. These are characters you care about, even if Divoff is chewing the scenery in his own inexorable fashion. The cast is impressive, adding quality with the likes of Denholm Elliott and R. Lee Ermy to the principals.
Getting a second breath of life from 101 Films, Toy Soldiers finds itself in the position of being more topical then it ever thought it would be, with terrorism at the front of everyone’s minds right now.
An enjoyable romp and a throwback to when understated action films could have heart as well as guns and ammo.
Special Features: None
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