Friday, 30 January 2015

Toy Soldiers (1991)

"In which Sam and Wesley defeat The Wishmaster"

A perhaps unjustly neglected action movie from the early 1990s, Daniel Petrie's TOY SOLDIERS is about to get a UK DVD and Blu-ray release courtesy of 101 Films. It's not quite the sort of thing you might expect from the chap who wrote all the BEVERLY HILLS COP movies, but it is an enjoyable romp that’s worth checking out if you’re an action fan.

All is not well in the state of Probablymadeup in Columbia, where a drug baron is about to be deported to the US and his unhappy son is holding a courtroom full of locals to ransom. The son is played by Andrew WISHMASTER Divoff, but the only wish he’s granting here appears to be terminating casting contracts as he pushes people out of windows and out of helicopters. Fortunately the telly is on in the courtroom and Andrew learns that Dad has actually already been taken away to the land of Uncle Sam, with his efforts all being for nothing.

Meanwhile, at the Regis School for Kids Too Badass For Anywhere Else, Sam the Hobbit and Wesley Crusher, along with their chums, hold midnight feasts of peppermint schnapps and vodka cocktails masquerading as mouthwash, deface notices, and reconstruct headmaster Denholm Elliot's study in the quad. When one of their number turns out to have a dad involved with the imprisonment of Mr Drug Baron, that’s the cue for the Wishmaster and his Columbian drug gang to disguise themselves as a dry cleaning service and sneak a stash of machine guns and remote controlled explosives into the school before locking it down and demanding that Andrew’s dad be released.
Will Sam and / or Wesley save the day? Will it be fortuitous that kindly teacher Louis Gossett Jr was busy taking all that confiscated mouthwash back to the off licence when the baddies arrived? Will any wishes get granted?

TOY SOLDIERS is actually a lot of fun. It seems to have had a decent budget, and while it's not comparable with the Bruce Willis-style spectaculars of the period, it's way ahead of Cannon Films that starred Chuck Norris. The performances are all fine and actually rather endearing, and there's an excellent wannabe Jerry Goldsmith score from Robert POLICE ACADEMY Folk. It takes a tiny bit of time to get going, but once it does it’s well-paced and the action scenes are well handled. 
101's Disc offers no extras apart from a menu and chapter selections which is a shame as this is quite possibly their best release yet. TOY SOLDIERS is actually thoroughly enjoyable, and an unexpected delight.

TOY SOLDIERS is being released on Region 2 DVD and Region B Blu-ray by 101 Films on 2nd February 2015

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