Phil Hartman
Gregory Smith
Kirsten Dunst
Ann Magnuson
Denis Leary
Kevin Dunn
Jay Mohr
Tommy Lee Jones
Frank Langella
Christina Ricci
Sarah Michelle Geller

Joe Dante

"We are the Commando Elite. Everything else is just a toy!"
Time: 104 mins.
Rating: PG-13
Official Website
Genre: Comedy/Action/Science Fiction
SMALL SOLDIERS is a movie about one thing – the power of merchandising. The thing that makes it watchable is a decent story powered by great special effects and believable performances from its tiny, yet destructive stars. The concept behind this film is simple. A global corporation buys a small, heartland toy company and demands a product it can sell within 3 months. The two employees left from the merger create two groups of action figures – the Commando Elite and the Gorgonites – with the latest technology. Not only do the toys move and talk, they learn – thanks to a state-of-the-art military chip that enhances their prime directive. For the Commando Elite that means destroy anyone and anything that gets between them and killing the peace-loving Gorgonites.

Not a deep story, but it works due to the special effects wizardry of Stan Winston and ILM and the actors whose voices give life to the toys (among them Tommy Lee Jones, Frank Langella, Christopher Guest and Christina Ricci). You truly believe these toys are real and that's all that matters. The soldiers of the Commando Elite elicit the most laughs throughout the film. They are battle-hardened war veterans who will stop at nothing to win. They dump their plastic guns for real world tools creating some of the most unusual and deadly weapons one could imagine.

None of their human counterparts will be remembered much for their work in this film, but they hold their own. They know who the stars are in this picture and give believable performances. It can't be easy working with puppets or in some instances nothing at all. One of the best turns is by Ann Magnuson as a tennis mom extrordinaire. The humans eventually win out (the battle goes on a little too long in my opinion), though not without some pretty heavy property damage. And the boy gets the girl. What could be better?

If you don't leave the theater wanting one of these action figures, especially one of the Gorgonites, you're a stronger person than I am. An enjoyable, mindless diversion that I'm sure gives more bang for the buck than some of the other blockbuster action flicks released this summer.