Small Soldiers (1998) / Comedy-Sci Fi
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for some menacing action/violence and brief drug references
Running Time: 108 min.
Cast: Kirsten Dunst, David Cross, Jay Mohr, Gregory Smith, Phil Hartman, Denis Leary, Kevin Dunn
Director: Joe Dante
Screenplay: Gavin Scott, Adam Rifkin, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
Review published January 9, 1999
The son of a small toy store owner (Smith, The Patriot) wants to make his father (Dunn, Godzilla) a profit while he's away so he decides to stock some new toys early. These new toys are action figures which have a chip in them allowing them to think and talk but they are also meant to fight with each other. Now all hell breaks loose in his neighborhood because these toys stop at nothing until they complete the job they were supposed to do: destroy each other at all costs.
Joe Dante, the man who directed Gremlins, goes back to familiar territory with this Gremlins clone. It's actually quite enjoyable for about the first half before ultimately crashing down in an overlong and overly chaotic siege on the house, consuming about a half hour of mind-numbing tedium. Sporting a likeable cast and outstanding special effects, it has what it takes to be a good film, but it seems that only the concept of the film was good, they just had nowhere to go with it.
©1999 Vince Leo