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DVD Review

DVD cover

Small Soldiers (1998)
(2020 Reissue)


Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Gregory Smith, Jay Mohr, Phil Hartman, Kevin Dunn, Denis Leary, Frank Langella and Tommy Lee Jones
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £9.99
Certificate: 12
Release Date: 14 September 2020

When a toy company accidentally programmes action figures with military technology they begin acting like real soldiers. The Commando Elite action figures start to engage in combat with their enemies the Gorgonites and teenager Alan gets caught in the crossfire along with his neighbour and crush Christy...

Small Soldiers was a movie I originally saw at the cinema, but wasn't overly impressed with. My only memory of it, before sitting down to watch it again for review, was that it was very boring.

Sadly, the years have not altered my view. It's a shame, because it was directed by Joe Dante (Gremlins) and so should have been a much better film than we ended up with. I think the biggest problem is that there's no real plot. A range of action figure toy soldiers are released with military grade chips embedded in them. This allows the figures to learn from their surroundings. Their sworn enemy are a race of aliens called the Gorgonites. When one box of these toys accidentally winds up at a run down, out of town toy shop the figures break out of their boxes causing chaos in the neighbourhood - a sort of rehashed Gremlins-esque plot.

The Gorgonites are actually gentle monsters who just want to find their home planet and live in peace. They are aided by a teenage boy and the popular girl that he has feelings for. But the army of toy soldiers are intent on tracking down every Gorgonite and destroying them, or any human, that get in their way.

The film is overly long, meandering and has the thinnest script, which can't stretch to anywhere near the duration of its runtime. Yes the effects are impressive and the acting is well above average, but it's just so dull.

Extras include Behind the Scenes (11 min, 21 sec); Bloopers (4 min, 56 sec - which is worth watching just to see Including Kirsten Dunst put her motorcycle helmet on backwards; and Deleted Scenes and Effects (6 min, 15 sec).


Darren Rea

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