The 1991 thriller Toy Soldiers is being released for the first time on Blu-Ray on the 2nd June by 101 Films as part of their ‘Cult Film Collection’. It is probably arguable however whether this film deserves cult status. It fits in with the typical action/military films of the late 80s/early 90’s; but this is no WarGames.
This was the directorial debut of Writer/Director Daniel Petire Jr. who is better known for his comedic writing on films such as Beverly Hills Cop an Turner & Hooch. Some of that humour is also seen here but is not nearly as effective as his other works. The cast includes Sean Astin(The Goonies, Lord of the Rings), Wil Wheaton (Stand By Me), Louis Gossett, Jr. (An Officer and a Gentlemen), Andrew Divoff (Air Force One), Mason Adams (Lou Grant) and Denholm Elliott (Indiana Jones).
Regis High School, an exclusive prep school for delinquent teens becomes the target of a terrorist hostage-taking when Columbian drug lord and terrorist Luis Cali (Divoff) travels to the US to negotiate the release of his father and it is left to a group of student pranksters (Astin, Wheaton etc.) to outsmart the terrorists.
The films action segments are given a certain sense of grandeur by Robert Folk(Police Academy)’s stirring score; but this is perhaps undeserved and marks the occasional moments of excitement that lead this formulaic plot to it’s inevitable conclusion. There are some good performances here; I particularly enjoyed Denholm Elliot as the wide old Headteacher and Louis Gossett, Jr as tough and wily Dean Parker as well as the kids ensemble but this is not enough to redeem the film. The result is neither gripping tense thriller or laugh-out-loud action comedy with little visual excitement.
The transfer to Blu-Ray from the original is reasonable but not exceptional and it doesn’t appear as if much restoration work has been done to the film; leaving it looking quite dated.
There are also no special features included however the disk is at-least reasonably priced for a first release.
2.5/5 -This is one of those films which despite having a strong cast and writer fails to live up to expectations.
You can pre-order the blu-ray here now.