'Toy Soldiers' is another drawn-out terrorist movie

April 26, 1991|By Lou Cedrone | Lou Cedrone,Evening Sun Staff

Terrorists can be tiresome, particularly on the screen. They're always doing or saying the same things, like, ''We want $50 million and a plane that will take us to Belize.''

When things get tough, terrorists dawdle and the lead terrorist says, over and over, that if his demands are not met in 10 minutes, the shooting will begin.

It's not a nice situation in real life, and it's not that much fun on the screen. Nevertheless, we keep seeing movie and television dramas in which groups take over stores, banks, city halls, etc., and make demands.

Sometimes the topic is well handled. It was certainly well managed in both the ''Die Hard'' movies. It is not in ''Toy Soldiers,'' a new film that opens today.

For half the time, ''Toy Soldiers'' is a by-the-numbers terrorist film, an incredibly ugly one. South American terrorists, led by a man who hopes to barter for the release of his father, held by American authorities on dope charges, take over a private school.

Some of the kids are troublemakers. One, a boy who has been tossed out of a series of schools, is the ringleader. Of course, we know what is going to happen. The kids, using their knowledge of circuitry, are going to outwit the fiends who have taken over their school and wired it for destruction.

The trouble is, it takes the students too long to get to it. Time after time, we hear the lead terrorist threaten to kill the boys, one by one. Time after time, we wish the movie would get on with the rescue. The writers, however, want to whip the audience into a frenzy of hatred, and they manage to do that. They also manage to have the authorities say some pretty foolish things.

Only one boy dies, and we know he is going to before the film is well along. It is at this point that the movie becomes more interesting and moves toward an undeniably exciting climax.

Sean Astin, Keith Coogan, Wil Wheaton, George Perez and T.E. Russell are the students who rid the school of the intruders, Andrew Divoff is the lead terrorist, and Lou Gossett Jr. is the dean of the school. Wheaton plays Joey Trotta, son of an underworld figure, so the mob becomes a part of the drama.

''Toy Soldiers'' ** Terrorists take over a school and hold the students hostage.

CAST: Sean Astin, Wil Wheaton, Keith Coogan, Andrew Divoff, R. Lee Ermey, Mason Adams, Denholm Elliott, Lou Gossett Jr., George Perez, T.E. Russell.

DIRECTOR: Daniel Petrie Jr.

RATING: R (violence, language).

RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes

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