When the defence company Globotech buy out a toy makers, their entire executive board is fired except for two of the companies top toy creators. The head of Globotech wants to know their latest ideas and they present him with the peace loving and educational Gorgonite action figures. They also show him the ass kicking army toys led by Chip Hazard. Globotech’s head Gil Mars demands that the Gorgonites are made the sworn enemies of Hazard’s Commando Elite because kids love action toys. However adding a special learning chip into the toys which is basically military hardware can only lead to problems down the line.
When his Father is away at a conference, young Alan Abernathy manages to persuade the delivery guy (Dick Miller) to let him have a set of the figures before they are released to sell in the family toy shop. The chips inside the toys get activated so the Commando Elite go into full war mode and plan on the destroying the rather lovely but ugly Gorgonites.
Joe Dante’s Small Soldiers is now over twenty years old and apart from the obvious (lead actress Kirsten Dunst was still a teenager when it was filmed and dodgy old PC’s) the effects haven’t aged one bit. Using a mix of puppetry and CGI to an almost perfect blend, Dante assembles possibly one of the finest voice casts ever for a film. Archer, the leader of the Gorgonites is voiced by Frank Langella giving the character a calming majestic tone. Tommy Lee Jones channels his inner R. Lee Ermey as Major Chip Hazard and his army cohorts are voiced by the surviving members of the original Dirty Dozen. Archer’s Gorgonites are voiced by members of Spinal Tap and the psychotic Gwendy dolls (a bit like Barbie) have the voices of Christina Ricci and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Complementing the voices is a killer soundtrack featuring the likes of Edwin Starr, Queen and a fella who shall remain nameless whose same song was prominently featured in Joker along with a terrific Jerry Goldsmith score.
The human cast is equally impressive and Dante ropes in his usual regulars for small roles, Dick Miller I’ve already mentioned and the great Robert Picardo pops up as well. Packed with action, comedy and a dab of satire Small Soldiers is just brilliantly entertaining stuff for all the family. A little Gremlins’esque (small town setting, little dudes on the rampage, big fight back at the end) at times which is in no way a bad thing as Dante knows what works and this film proves it. Still great and bloody funny after all these years.
- Starring Gregory Smith Kirsten Dunst Kevin Dunn Jay Mohr Phil Hartman (in his last role)
- Directed by Joe Dante
- Distributor Fabulous Films