Today: May 27, 2024

Small Soldiers

When a toy company accidentally programmes action figures with military tech, the Commando Elite begin to act like real soldiers … with the peace-loving Gorgonites in their sights … and regardless of who else gets caught in the crossfire.

1992’s Small Soldiers was never the big box-office splash it deserved to be. At the time, critics complained that the animation somehow lacked the anarchic vibe of other Joe Dante vehicles—most notably Gremlins. Yet, the 12 rating proves that there’s more to Small Soldiers than cutsie toys running amok. In fact, the Frankensteinian doll-surgery scene is distinctly disturbing. And watching a young, manic Kirsten Dunst mutilate the Commando Elite might make you wonder why she’s never been cast as a serial killer.

Dante had originally wanted the cast of Predator (1987) to voice the Commando Elite with Arnold Schwarzenegger as their the leader, Chip Hazard. Ultimately, though, Chip was voiced by Tommy Lee Jones with the other Commando Elite parts going to the cast of The Dirty Dozen (1967): Ernest Borgnine, Jim Brown, Clint Walker and George Kennedy. (Charles Bronson apparently refused to voice a toy soldier.)

In turn, the Gorgonites are voiced by members of Spinal Tap with additional cameos from the likes of Christina Ricci (The Addams Family) and Sarah Michelle Geller (Buffy The Vampire Slayer). The movie also features music by Led Zeppelin, who are notoriously strict about how their work is used. All in all, it’s a smorgasbord of talent–that’s well cast and well used.

The opening moments of Small Soldiers may feel distinctly like Middle-America Spielberg, but there’s Dante magic—and mania–in this off-kilter classic too.

Extras: Deleted Scenes & Special Effects, Bloopers, Behind-the-Scenes.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

Previous Story

The Arsenal Stadium Mystery

Next Story

WIN The Criterion Edition of Safety Last! on Blu-ray

Latest from Blog


Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.

Abashiri Prison I-III

Constructed in the late nineteenth century to house political prisoners, Japan’s infamous Abashiri Prison served as the inspiration for a popular and prolific run of yakuza movies released between 1965 and 1972. In Abashiri Prison,

The Beach Boys

2024 sees the 50th anniversary of The Beach Boys’ chart-topping compilation album Endless Summer that threw the fading band back into the limelight. Whilst this double LP release was a big financial

The Valiant Ones

The Valiant Ones was King Hu’s last, great masterpiece. Indeed it’s arguably his last true wuxia film — but what a magnificent beast it is. Directed by the celebrated master of the

Enter the Clones of Bruce Unboxing

There have been so many books, documentaries, and even biopics of the immeasurably pioneering martial arts icon Bruce Lee. His life and work have been studied intensely, and his influence remains felt

BackBeat Unboxing

This month saw underrated Beatle-biopic BackBeat make its Blu-ray debut from Fabulous Films, surely delighting the band’s collectors and completists. Telling the story of the Beatles’ first bassist – the so-called ‘lost
Go toTop

Don't Miss

The Virgin Suicides

Rating: 4/5. Run time: 1hour 35. Director:  Sofia Coppola. Cast: Kirsten

The Howling

Released just four months before John Landis’ bigger budget An