Not much defense for 'Toy Soldiers'

April 26, 1991|By Stephen Wigler

'Toy Soldiers'

Starring: Sean Astin, Andrew Divoff, Denholm Elliott and Louis

Gossett, Jr.

Directed by: Daniel Petrie Jr.

Released by: Tri-Star Movies.

Rated: R.

1/2 star Two defenestrations in its opening two minutes do not prevent "Toy Soldiers" from becoming as boring as any action movie in recent years. At a recent screening even the shouts of approval from the teen-aged boys at the finale's obligatory bloody shootings were half-hearted.

In the numbingly hackneyed plot, a company of commandos led by the son of a captured South American drug lord (Andrew Divoff) takes over an exclusive American boarding school for boys. By holding hostage the children of some of America's most prominent citizens, he thinks he can induce the government to release his father. What he doesn't count on is that these students, rejects from other prep schools, hate authority enough to make life miserable for the terrorists.

The twin metaphors underlying all teen-age movies -- at least those for boys -- are machine guns and masturbation. This movie fails with both themes. Even a scene in which the kids sit around a speaker phone racking up charges on a 900-number sex line falls flat.

If the direction (by Daniel Petrie Jr.) and the script (by Petrie and David Koepp) are pedestrian, then the acting -- as used car ads used to say -- must be seen to be believed. Aside from Divoff, who actually manages to give an interesting performance, the adults unfortunate enough to be in this film include Louis Gossett Jr. and Denholm Elliott and the uncredited -- lucky for him -- Jerry Ohrbach.

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