Regis High School, or Rejects High School as it is known as by the students who go there, is an all boys prep school for delinquents. Billy, Joey and his friends are always finding themselves in trouble as they rebel against the Dean. But their cunning schemes and ballsy attitude may just be what the school needs when terrorist Louis Cali invades the school and takes all the pupils and the headmaster hostage, demanding the release of his drug kingpin father who’s recently been extradited to the U.S. and imprisoned.
1991 flick TOY SOLDIERS is just the kind of action adventure flick teens would enjoy after seeing the likes of The Goonies and Stand By Me during the 80’s. Featuring two of those films’ stars, Sean Astin (The Goonies) and Wil Wheaton (Stand By Me), in lead roles, this tale of rebellious students versus dangerous terrorists is aimed at older teens but still injects all the fun and excitement from films aimed at a slightly younger audience.
Sean Astin’s Billy Tepper is the brains behind the trouble he and his group of friends stir up. From selling vodka disguised as mouthwash to hacking the school’s phone line to talk to sex chat lines, Billy just loves to have fun and despises authority. When ruthless drug lord Louis Cali, played by the excellent Andrew Divoff, invades the school with his men, suddenly the fun and games stop. If Cali’s attitude and threats weren’t terrifying enough, the arsenal his men are equiped with makes escape and rescue futile. But maybe, just maybe, the teens can come up with a plan.
The setting of a school makes the action in the movie that much sweeter. Not many people enjoy school or being talked down to by teachers, especially those at a boarding school sent there by their rich parents. Pranks and getting away with forbidden actions are what makes life fun for the boys. They never do anything violent or threatening, unlike the sort of things you see teenagers do in modern movies. Billy and his friends prefer more mischievous pranks and what most underage teens do their age, sneak alcohol and cigs into their dorms. The authority figures they’ve been rebelling against soon become allies when their lives are threatened by the arrival and presence of the Colombian cartel terrorists.
Kick back and put your feet up, because TOY SOLDIERS is an utter joy to watch from start to finish. These kinds of movies never get old, and considering not many films of this genre are really made any more, it makes them all the more special to watch. It would be interesting to get a teenager’s perspective on this, but as an adult, I enjoyed it immensely. The film balances action, adventure and a hint of comedy with the element of life-threatening danger to create a film with a plot and characters you genuinely care about. The familiar faces of Astin, Wheaton and Divoff represent a sign of quality and the rest of the cast are equally impressive in their supporting roles, especially Louis Gosset Jr as Dean Parker, with whom Billy is always in trouble with.
TOY SOLDIERS has been given the Blu-Ray treatment from 101 Films as part of their ‘Cult Movie Collection’ and whilst the release doesn’t contain any special features, the quality of the transfer is impressive. 101 Films have also released the movie on DVD.
Packed full of 90’s teen attitude, TOY SOLDIERS is a must-watch for all fans of cinema, especially those young at heart!