Owen Gleiberman
May 10, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Toy Soldiers

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
112 minutes
performer
Sean Astin, Louis Gossett Jr., Andrew Divoff, Denholm Elliott, R. Lee Ermey, Wil Wheaton
director
Daniel Petrie, Jr.
distributor
Columbia Pictures
author
David Koepp, Daniel Petrie, Jr.
genre
ActionAdventure, Drama

We gave it a C

In the kiddie thriller Toy Soldiers, a Columbian terrorist takes the students at a fancy prep school hostage in an attempt to get his father, a drug lord, released from prison in the United States. Despite his constant death threats, the students, led by their most courageous — and delinquent — member (Sean Astin), launch a successful counterattack. In other words, it’s Dead Poets Society meets Die Hard. The movie is competent, smoothly photographed, and pretty much free of false, baby-Rambo heroics. It’s so inoffensive that you can almost overlook its central drawback — that the students don’t have much personality. (The young actors come off as perfectly typical adolescents, which doesn’t necessarily work in the movie’s favor.) The only performers with any true presence are the adults. As the terrorist, Andrew Divoff has a crisp, sadistic menace, and Lou Gossett Jr. is as winning as ever as the fearless and humane school dean. C

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