Here's the pitch: "It's like Toy Story but these toys that come to life really kick butt!" That's essentially it for this breezy popcorn flick. In a very smart first 10 minutes, new toy-company owner Denis Leary tells his ... more »crew he wants toys "that play back." Hence the small soldiers land in Anytown, U.S.A., and the loner kid Alan (Gregory Smith) opens them up before they are supposed to be on the shelves. Those military-grade chips sure make them smart and give the toys plenty of pithy retorts to boot. Plenty of violence, er, action, most of it fun enough. The vocal talents, including Tommy Lee Jones, Frank Langella, and cast members of The Dirty Dozen are inspired characters, the humans less so. With Gremlins director Joe Dante at the helm, it plays like a sequel to that '80s fantasy. Amazing visual effects, of course. --Doug Thomas« less
One of my all-time favs - always a great watch. The perfect blend of humor and scifi action. David Cross and Phil Hartman in a film together! (Sadly, this was Phil's final film.) A tale of toys come to life and the neighbors who get caught in the middle of the battle. (One set of toys is voiced wonderfully by Spinal Tap!) Good music, a plethora of classic film and cultural references, and likable (and believable!) characters make this a very enjoyable (re)watch.
Awesome special effects
Shelley Gammon | Kaufman, Texas USA | 01/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For pure entertainment value and eye-candy alone, I really enjoyed this film. The acting was good, even though the plot was full of holes and the script had some extremely cheesy lines. It was good to see Phil Hartman on screen, but his talent was wasted in this flick - his character was a minor one and he didn't get many lines.The premise: a military defense contractor expands its boundaries by buying up a successful toy company, hoping to put surplus chips to use by remarketing them as toys.Two races of action figures - soldiers (human) and Gorgonites (totally dissimilar to each other, from the planet Gorgon, both are programmed to be mortal enemies. The soldiers are programmed to win, the Gorgonites are programmed to either hide or lose.Apparently no testing takes place before they hit the shelves and the soldiers are ruthless, ripping the Gorgonites limb from limb.They decide that children who play with Gorgonites must also be destroyed, as they are perceived as being collaborators with the enemy. Needless to say, this is entertainmen for grownups, not for little ones.The chips that are used in them give them artificial intelligence - the ability to learn and to create new weapons using anything they find. Almost like "Universal Soldier" along with the passion and emotion.Archer, protector of the Gorgonites, is the true heartwarming character of the film. He is homesick for Gorgon, and even though the planet only exists in the mind of the toymakers that marketed him, he longs to be home.Alan, a boy trying to re-earn the trust from his parents, has a hard time proving that toys are the ones wreaking havoc until they are caught in the act.In the end, it becomes a literal fight to the death between the small soldiers and the children and their parents.The film falls short in that it doesn't know if it's a farce, a parody, a comedy, an action flick or a drama. They try to put in way too much, so most of it falls flat.The scenes with the attacking Barbies is more creepy like "The Stepford Wives" than it is funny, even though you get the jokes in what are supposed to be comic relief moments.Still, this is well worth watching for the animitronics and for sci fi concepts."
Absolutely delightful, action-packed and imaginative!
R. NEWALK | cary, north carolina usa | 12/23/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"my dvd arrived today, from amazon.com (great service!) i bought it after reading some of the other reviews by on line viewers, and DAMN! they were right! i had a ball! not really knowing what to expect, but relying on the past expertise of joe dante and the spielberg factory, i sat back and WOW! it floored me. great animation, great action, terrific and imaginative storytelling, with a really good cast. it was the most enjoyable purchase of this holiday season. and it really kicks b--t on the dvd format! great visuals, awesome 5.1 digital sound. now i know why it has been on the charts for so many weeks. all of you undecided's out there-go for it. you will have a ball. i recommend it to everyone and of all ages. you will not be disappointed. merry christmas, y'all and thanks to amazon.com for getting it to me in 2 days flat ane even with the holiday mail in full swing."
firstname.lastname@example.org | Las Vegas, NV | 03/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie got a bit of a bad rap when it came out, because people were expecting another "Toy Story", which is great in it's own way, but far from the spirit of this picture. In this story, the toys not only can die, but they can kill. It shows what would happen if supercomputers the size of a doll's head were placed used as the "brain", and then they were programmed to kill other toys. If humans get in the way, well, I believe the term is "collateral damage". Surrounded by this story are a lot of comments on corporate greed. Dennis Leary gives yet another (see "The Ref") terrific performance with his no-nonsense look at the world. In this one he's the CEO of a conglomerate who wants to make toys that actually do what the commercials lead on to. With an unlimited budget and a tight deadline, the results are not quite what people hoped for. You see, there are two sets of toys: one is a peace-loving set of oddballs, and the other is a group of soldiers. Even though the oddballs are intellectually interesting, they are merely cannon fodder, as the soldiers are programmed to kill them. Since this is what the toy-buying populace will want, that's what the company gives them. It goes a bit off-kilter when the soldiers do their job way too well. The special effects that show this are state-of-the-art for their time, and still hold well today. There is humor all around, both for kids and adults. When the soldiers discover a group of Barbie dolls, and one observes with a leer that they're bendable, mom and dad get the joke while still keeping it OK for kid viewing. Now I know a little bit about programming, and the movie does take a few liberties with what computers can do in the spirit of advancing the plot. A computer, no matter what the size, is still a big calculator that does what it's told. Some programmer had to tell the dolls to reek havoc. The movie blames the bad behavior on a batch of "aggressive" computer chips, which is like blaming an auto accident on an "aggressive" car. This is a great movie, but I just wanted to point this out. Why? Because I can."
A mirror of "Gremlins"
John A Carrigan | Worcester, MA United States | 02/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you ever saw the movie "Gremlins" and enjoyed it, you will have the same reaction to "Small Soldiers". Although it is an action movie with a few rather violent scenes, the similarities between these two movies are unmistakable. Aspects of the story like the fact that the leader of the villians survives until the last 15 minutes of the movie and the fact that the villians manage to come back at the heroes in even greater numbers after they are seemingly destroyed make "Small Soldiers practically a reflection of "Gremlins". As I said before, if you liked one of these films, you will certainly like the other!"