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TOY SOLDIERS

Review by Chastity Campbell

Stars: Sean Astin, Wil Wheaton, Keith Coogan, Andrew Divoff, Denholm Elliot, Louis Gossett Jr.
Director: Daniel Petrie Jr.
Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo
Video: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Studio: Columbia/Tri-Star
Features: See Review
Length: 112 Minutes
Release Date: November 5, 2002

We have got to strike back or I’m going to look like a douche bag in front of the entire school!”

Billy, you were born looking like a douche bag!

Film ***

Toy Soldiers is a story set in the world of an all boys prep-school that is home to the son of a New Jersey Mob Boss, the 3rd largest construction contractor in the world’s hyperactive son, and a host of other influential boys who consider themselves rejects.   They apply this term because they all have a habit of getting kicked out of school!   Sean Astin (Sam, Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring) plays the hyperactive Billy who in the past four years has been in and out of four different schools.   He’s about as rebellious as you can get and proves it right off the bat.  

It seems he’s figured out if you mix 3 parts 100 proof Vodka, 2 parts Peppermint Schnapps, 1 part Crème De Mint for added flavor, you can pass it off as Scope mouthwash…well, that is, until the headmaster catches him with it, and he gets lectured on how many times it’s been tried before!!

The basic plot of the story revolves around a Columbian drug lord who is captured and transferred to the United States to stand trial.  His son wants him released and will do anything to make that happen.  They lay siege to the prep-school, because the judge assigned to the Columbian’s case has a son there.  They want to use his son as leverage in getting their leader released!

It will be up to a cocky young teen and his troubled band of friends to help free the students at the school before their time runs out.

I really enjoyed this movie.   From beginning to end, there was never a dull moment.  Sean Astin was only one of the well-known names in this film.   Louis Gossett Jr. did a magnificent job as the Head Master who takes no B.S.!   Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher, Star Trek The Next Generation) could give A.J. from the Soprano’s a lesson or two.  It seems his father is the head of the entire New Jersey Mob Syndicate.  Talk about influence…I’ll bet ya he could tell us where Jimmy Hoffa is buried!  

The direction for this picture was wonderful.  Daniel Petrie Jr. did an excellent job as the movie’s screenwriter and director.  He was able to write a really great movie script, and then direct it so his vision never faltered from beginning to end.   With the combination of acting talent, a beautiful digital transfer, and solid direction, this DVD will enhance just about anyone’s movie collection! 

Video ***

Watching this DVD was a very nice experience, as Columbia-Tri-Star did a wonderful job with this 1.33:1 full frame transfer.  All of the colors were surprisingly vivid, crisp, and clean for an eleven year old film.   I was really impressed with the quality of the special effects for this movie as well.  The scenes containing the rocket launchers as well as those with the military helicopters were really well received in a digital format. 

Audio ***

The Dolby Digital Stereo mix for this one was pretty good.  The dialogue was easy to understand, and very clean without any white noise.   The special effects could have had a little more pop to them, but overall, the mix was pretty well balanced without any flaws.

Features *

Movie trailers for Enough, Panic Room, and Soul Assassins are the only features you really get with this DVD.   It’s obvious that Columbia/Tri-Star is using a solid movie such as this one to promote three of their newer films, but it would have been nice to see a little behind the scenes action, or some interviews with the actors at least.  

Summary:

ATTENTION! FORWARD MARCH, to the movie store of your choice and pick up this disc!  It was a very enjoyable movie, with an all-star cast, and a very nice digital transfer.   I don’t think you heard me, I SAID MARCH…left, left, left, right, left!