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Review Toy Soldiers (1991): Die Hard at a boarding school!

genre: die hard clone, action, thriller, drama

In my opinion Toy Soldiers is one of the most underrated and best Die Hard clones in existence. Like in Die Hard the heroes of the story are very unlikely and have very little intention to be the heroes. But like McClane they are forced to do what is necessary to save people from harm and worse, death.

These heroes under leadership of Billy Tepper (Sean Astin) are a group of students at the Regis Academy. These teens are the most rebellious mostly because of their complicated and strained relationships with their parents. But Billy has the most trouble adapting since he got it the worst. His father apparently barely pays attention to him. Whether he is being difficult to act out and calling for attention or he just is not being challenged enough he is a hand full. But he is honorable, intelligent and very reliable. As soon as he gets into contact with hostage taker Luis Cali (Andrew Divoff) he makes life difficult for him. 

Andrew Divoff plays a villain not to mess with. Whenever there is a sign of trouble he and his goons don't hesitate to kill. Strategically they got everything covered. And they even have enough firepower to deal with the best the US military have available. So what can these teens and Billy do against them? It's a what if scenario and immensely fun to witness. Even if most of the events seem incredulous or implausible the tension and thrills are effective. Just because they are teens doesn't mean they are incompetent. But naturally one could argue  and say they perhaps miss the wisdom and experience to deal with things. Then again how many adults actually know how to act and behave in hostage situations? There are many situations where the teens are shown to have more heart and wisdom than the so called adults.

The production values of this film are high. Everything looks good and the big names that are involved make events look more believable. Louis Gossett Jr., Denholm Elliot, R. Lee Ermey and Jerry Orbach give the film more weight and depth. Wil Wheaton however is disappointing. I have seen him do better, much better in for example Star Trek: The Next Generation in which he was even younger. It's almost like he didn't want to be there. Fortunately for him Sean Astin makes you overlook the shortcomings of the others. 

Overall this is a must watch for sure!

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