Movie of the Day – Small Soldiers
August 17, 2012 1 Comment
I want to buy these action figures if they really existed. Not the cheap, plastic ones that they made in conjunction with the release of the movie, but the ones that had a military chip in them that brought to life to attack their human owners. Yeah, for an upbeat trailer like that, they really didn’t tell the audience that these toys were out to kill the humans in the rudimentary way possible. Yeah, not you standard G.I. Joe’s type kid movie. But damn if wasn’t an awesome movie from 1998.
After the defense industry firm Globotech takes over a small toy company, Heartland Play Systems’ CEO Gil Mars (Denis Leary) gives the green light to develop a new line of action figures, requesting an upgrade to more realistic figures from Heartland toy designers Larry Benson (Jay Mohr) and fumbling Irwin Wayfair (David Cross). Mars wants toys that act like the ones in TV commercials. The results are fierce fighting figures, the Commando Elite, programmed to seek out and destroy the kindly alien-like Gorgonites. In an effort to make the toys as natural as possible, Benson inserts Globotech’s most powerful military computer chips. Meanwhile, in quiet Winslow Corners, Ohio, toy-store owner Stuart Abernathy (Kevin Dunn) and his 15-year-old son Alan (Gregory Smith) are stuck in a failing business, so when Heartland truckdriver Joe (Dick Miller) stops by with the Commando and Gorgonite toys, Alan is convinced they will be hot sellers, commenting, “Maybe this store will finally make a little money.” With blistering blows to their blister packs, the Commandos burst out, receive orders from their leader Chip Hazard (voice of Tommy Lee Jones) and ready for an all-out assault on the Gorgonites. When the Gorgonite leader Archer (voice of Frank Langella) begins communicating with Alan, it causes the Commandos to perceive humans as another enemy, simply by their association with the “Gorgonite scum,” so an attack on the Abernathy house begins. Unfortunately, the Gorgonites can offer only limited assistance, since they have been programmed to lose. The film combines animatronics, puppetry, and computer animation. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi
You know what’s great about this movie, other than watching action figures come to life to do battle, is that the Commando Elite soldiers were voiced by actors from the movie “The Dirty Dozen”. That to me is the coolest thing about this movie. Sure the thought of seeing what I used to, who I am kidding, still do with action figures by making pretend battles come to life and actually do battle is cool and all, but I am a film fan and having the actors of “The Dirty Dozen” do voices is awesome. You got Ernest Borgnine, Jim Brown, George Kennedy and Clint Walker all lending some voice talent to this movie. Even Tommy Lee Jones is the main leader which is fucking cool. Hell the “enemies” or Gorgonite’s had awesome voice actors from Frank Langella, Christopher Guest and Michael McKean. That’s not even all as Christina Ricci and Sarah Michelle Gellar lend their voices to commando barbie dolls. It’s a star studded action comedy movie!
I remember catching this movie in the theaters and just loving it. I mean if you are a guy and grew up with action figures, you made pretend battles. You had the good guys versus the bad guys and they mocked battled one another. This is just taking it one step further, infusing it with war movie tropes and some sporadic craziness all in the sake of having an enjoyable time. You just have to get over the fact that it really isn’t a little kids movie since the soldiers actively try and kill the humans with crude, but interesting weaponry.
Small Soldier is worth a view just for the cast alone. It wasn’t until I got older that I appreciated the voice casting and even seeing Phil Hartman, Jay Mohr, David Cross and a young Kirsten Dunst all a part of this satirical action comedy movie. But I loved it when it came out in 98 cause it was cool seeing action figures come to life and be bad ass. Those little plastic, military toys were awesome and the Commando’s were enjoyable to watch. Check it out if you enjoy some nostalgic voice casting from the remaining crew of “The Dirty Dozen” and also for action figures doing what our imagination could only do.