Movie of the Day – Toy Soldiers
August 18, 2012 Leave a comment
Boy did I keep getting this movie confused with yesterday’s post Small Soldiers. I am sure the studios that made Small Soldiers were pissed that this movie existed and therefore had to alter their title. I actually only remembered this movie because I had to look up a trailer for Small Soldiers and found this little gem from 1991. To my surprise, I completely forgot that Wil Wheaton, Wesley Crusher, was starring in a movie with Sean Astin, who was a big deal in the early 90s. Anyways, this really for kids although it has a lively, Home Alone vibe to it, but yeah terrorists take over some prep school and now it’s time for those delinquent kids to take it back.
The film opens as a crazed Central American terrorist, Luis Cali (Andrew Divoff), goes on a shooting spree, attempting to gain his drug baron father’s release from extradition to the United States. The following sequence introduces some malcontented rich kids from the prep school –Joey Trotta (Wil Wheaton), the son of a New Jersey mob leader; Billy Tepper (Sean Astin), a reprobate who has been to four boarding schools in as many years; Snuffy Bradbury (Keith Coogan), whose rich banker father is the chairman of the Republican Party; Ricardo Montoya (George Perez), the son of a big-shot lawyer; and Hank Giles (T.E. Russell), whose father is the head of the House Armed Services Committee. The boys disregard their studies and spend their waking hours giving Dean Parker (Louis Gossett Jr.) a hard time. The two storylines collide when Luis, with a group of terrorist goons, make their way across the U.S. border and invade the boarding school, planning to take hostage the son of his father’s judge. But the authorities have already removed the boy from danger, so Luis and the terrorists decide to hold the entire student body hostage until their demands are met. Working with the FBI and the special government forces, the rebellious groups of boys have to devise a plan to short-circuit the hostage situation. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi
It’s Dead Poet’s Society, meets every hostage movie alive, but with a bit of Home Alone mixed in to lessen the impact that terrorists are holding rich kids hostage. Sweet looking mullets abound, Toy Soldiers was a pretty decent action thriller with a young cast of unknowns, except for Astin and Wheaton, plus you got Louis Gossett Jr. being his intense, collected self. They all do a great job in this movie, having to play reckless but tough teens who are just over-privileged kids with attitude complexes. I do find it funny that we are supposed to connect with these rebellious rich kids of privilege, but meh what can you do about it, they need to be like this so we can root for them when they come up with a plan to outsmart the terrorists.
Toy Soldiers is a b-movie, which isn’t bad cause it’s enjoyable when you just go along for the ride. The criminal mastermind behind the hostage taking has all the outcomes thought of, but didn’t expect that a bunch of hooligans would come up with simplistic distraction ideas and Home Alone like traps that defeats the terrorists. But it’s not just the Red Dawn-esque tactics that make the movie enjoyable, although seeing those Columbians or whatever get what they deserve is satisfying, it’s group of guys who band together that make this enjoyable. It’s the overcome the odds situation and their friendships that they rely on to beat back the hostage takers and risk life and neck. They share in the triumphs of a idiotic plan and the pains of failure. Wheaton and Astin carry the brunt of the acting and they are good, especially Mr. Crusher.
You can’t go wrong with a movie that plays out like a Saturday matinee showing. I dig the rough edges of the movie from the acting and plot standpoints, but it doesn’t ever get cheesy or too ridiculous to enjoy. It’s a grown up version of Home Alone where the kids have to come up with ingenious plans to take down terrorists with machine guns and disable bombs, all while sporting mullets and feathered hair styles.