[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mv5bmtk0mti0oty5ov5bml5_7953.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Bringing militant action figures to life with a thirst for blood? [[GoneHorriblyRight There's an app for that.]]]]

->''"We are the Commando Elite. [[BadassBoast Everything else is just a toy!]]"''
-->--'''Major Chip Hazard'''

'''Small Soldiers''' is a 1998 action/comedy film directed by Creator/JoeDante, best known for his work on the ''Film/{{Gremlins}}'' franchise. It focuses upon the Heartland Toy Company, a conglomerate that gets swallowed up by [=GloboTech=] Industries, an organization that deals in high-tech military hardware. The members of the board of Heartland deduce that implanting military AI chips into their newest set of action figures would grant kids a more interactive experience; however in doing so, manage to grant the two lines (the Commando Elite and their enemies, the Gorgonites) literal intelligence. The Gorgonites have a pacifist mindset while the Commandos are basically of [[AIIsACrapshoot the warmongering variety]], who will stop at nothing to [[FantasticRacism destroy the Gorgonite scum]], and anyone who allies with them. Their battle takes place in {{suburbia}}, where young Alan Abernathy (Gregory Smith) befriends the Gorgonites due to his being left in charge of his father's toy shop, and he vows to help them achieve their goal before the Commando Elite can find and take them apart. He gets help from his neighbor and love interest Christy Fimple (KirstenDunst).

The film was a modest box office hit, earning $54,682,547 in the United States market. It was only the 42nd most successful film of its year but more than covered its budget. It received mixed reviews. Some critics enjoyed the "smart satirical" plot and the [[ShoutOut Shout Outs]] to numerous pop culture elements. Others felt that it put too much emphasis on the special effects and too little on character development. Both Gregory Smith and Kirsten Dunst were nominated for Young Artist Awards and lost. Smith lost to Miko Hughles of ''Film/MercuryRising''. Dunst lost to LindsayLohan of ''TheParentTrap''.

Not to be confused with ''Film/ToySoldiers''

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!!Tropes Demonstrated in this Film:

* ActorAllusion: TommyLeeJones voices Major Chip Hazard, who at the end of the second act [[Film/BatmanForever gets horrific burns down one side of his face]]. The Commandos all bear some resemblance to their voice actors.
* AIIsACrapshoot: Subverted. The chips enhance programming that is already present, so the militant Commando Elites become bloodthirsty, monstrous warriors and the weaker Gorgonites become cowards who only hide from battle.
* AllStarCast
* AmusingInjuries: Most injuries are played seriously, even those that happen to the toys. However, Brick Bazooka getting torn in two is made rather funny by the fact that he has to crawl over to his bottom half to reply to his in-built radio. If he didn't get fully repaired in the next scene, maybe not so much.
* ArmiesAreEvil: Oh yeah.
* [[ArmouredClosetGay Armoured Closet Toy]]: Chip Hazard clearly knows ''how'' he works, but loudly proclaims that "Everything else is just a toy" and completely rejects Archer's NotSoDifferent speech in the final act.
* AwesomeMcCoolname / NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: The Commando Elite, both as a group name and as individuals. Special acknowledgments go to Nick Nitro and Butch Meethook.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: [[HeyItsThatGuy Kirsten Dunst's]] character seems to get a little overly excited about the prospect of tearing apart the baddies with whatever household objects she happens to have on hand.
** The Gorgonites, when they decide to fight back, easily overwhelm the Commandos' superior numbers.
* BillingDisplacement: Kirsten Dunst is the first billed despite playing the love interest.
* BlandNameProduct: "[[{{Franchise/Barbie}} Gwendy]]" dolls.
* BodyHorror: The Gwendy dolls undergo some "plastic surgery". It does NOT go well.
* BoundAndGagged: Happens to both Kirsten Dunst's character and her little brother, separately.
* ChainsawGood: "Dibs on the chainsaw!"
* ChekhovsGun: A couple
** The power pole.
** Phil's satellite.
* ClicheStorm: Invoked with Chip Hazard's mode of speech. A perfect example occurs when Hazard activates the other Commandos; he gives a speech that is literally composed entirely of cliched famous quotes from war movies.
* CommunicationsOfficer: Link Static serves this role in the Commando Elite.
* ConservationOfNinjitsu: In the finale, an [[spoiler:entire store line of Commandos]] are defeated by half a dozen Gorgonites with no casualties; the only part with any suspense is the showdown with (one) Chip Hazard.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Invoked with Gil Mars, CEO of [=GloboTech=], who pushes for the Gorgonites to be used as little more than the 'ugly evil mutant freak' foes of the Commando Elite and is stated to generally be pretty heartless; However, he doesn't specifically ''tell'' the designers to use military-grade hardware in toys, he merely states that he's sick and tired of products that don't deliver on their advertising and whilst he plainly doesn't give a crap about the devastation caused by Chip Hazard and the Commandos, he does make amends with a big cheque payoff.
* CutLexLuthorACheck: It's implied in the ending that the CEO of [=GloboTech=] plans to sell the Commando Elites to the military as essentially mercenaries against {{The Cartel}}s .
* TheDeterminator: A villainous example, no matter ''what'' you throw at Chip Hazard, he's very likely going to come back.
* DisneyDeath: [[spoiler: After Alan sets off an EMP to take out the Commando Elite, he finds Archer lying in the yard, inanimate.]]
--> [[spoiler: '''Alan:''' Archer? Archer, speak to me. [[TriggerPhrase Halt, who goes there?]]]]\\
[[spoiler: '''Archer:''' [[CatchPhrase Greetings, I am Archer, emissary of the Gorgonites.]] Greetings, I am Archer, emissary of the Gorgonites. Greetings, I am Archer, emissary of the Gorgonites.]]\\
[[spoiler: '''Alan:''' Oh, man, [[TearJerker your chip got fried, just like the Commandos.]]]]\\
[[spoiler: {{Beat}}.]]\\
[[spoiler: '''Archer:''' The Commandos...are dead? Gorgonites...We won!]]
* DoubleEntendre: All the lines spouted by the Commandoes when they discover the Gwendy dolls such as: "Fully poseable!"
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Chip Hazard may be programmed to destroy the Gorgonites, but he was given an honourable and loyal personality as a heroic soldier. The trouble comes when his programming allows for no mercy to the Gorgonites or their allies.
** In fact all of the Commandos have heroic personalities as brave, dedicated soldiers - which is half the problem since they just don't give up.
-->'''Chip Hazard''': "An OfficerAndAGentleman [[WouldntHitAGirl does not strike a lady.]]"
* EverythingsBetterWithSpinning: Insaniac rapidly spins in a [[WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes Taz-esque]] style, which turns lethal when he uses his EpicFlail.
* EvilPlan: The Commando Elite are programed with one goal in mind: Destroy the Gorgonites. Though the actual start of the conflict is Mars' plan to program them as such for greater profits.
* ExecutiveMeddling: In-universe example. Originally, the Commando Elite and the Gorgonites were going to be completely separate, with the Gorgonites going for a more "educational" view, as they only want to explore the world, learn more about it, and socialize. The Commando Elite, meanwhile, were somewhat generic, GIJoe-esque characters. The director decided that the concepts weren't interesting, and decided to put the toylines together. Needless to say, this did not end well.
** Part of this was the that the creator of the Gorgonite line [[WriterRevolt kept his original concept in all the background and programming]] as a protest, and the "heroic" Commandos had the sole purpose of following their orders to destroy the Gorgonites.
* ExplainExplainOhCrap: Irwin and Larry are discussing Alan's call about the rampaging toys:
-->'''Irwin''': What if this kid's telling the truth? We can't have toys out on the market that may be dangerous.\\
'''Larry''': ''[lackadaisical]'' How can they be dangerous? Everything on them is standard. The design is standard, the materials are standard... the mechanicals are standard. Even the... ''[sudden OhCrap face]'' Oh.\\
'''Irwin''': What's "Oh"?\\
'''Larry''': What?\\
'''Irwin''': You just said "Oh".\\
'''Larry''': No, I said "Oh!"\\
'''Irwin''': You mean "Oh" like, "That's interesting" or "Oh" like, "We're screwed"?\\
'''Larry''': No. I mean, "Hey! Whoa! Oh!". Look, forget the "Oh". l'll go to legal to start on the countersuit.\\
'''Irwin''': The chips! That's the "Oh"!
* FacelessEye: Ocula.
* FantasticRacism: The Commando Elite's entire goal is to strictly destroy the Gorgonites, nothing practical.
* FastballSpecial: Punch-It launches Scratch-It from his horns like a slingshot.
** Brick Bazooka is similarly hurled onto the back of Alan's bike. And blink and you'll miss it, but two of the Gwendy dolls cheerleader-throw a third one to better attack Brad.
* FellOffTheBackOfATruck: How Alan "buys" the toys off the delivery guy.
* GayMoment: Irwin diving into Larry's arms in the computing lab's airlock.
** Brick Bazooka's [[WeCanRebuildHim damaged wrist]] giving out mid-salute, leaving him in the classic [[HelloSailor ooh-get-you pose.]]
* GeneralRipper: Chip Hazard.
* GenreSavvy: The truck driver, when ordered to move his truck with company logo on it, he feigns an issue just to get the CEO to cut him a check then and there.
* GogglesDoNothing: The Commando Elite wear [[RobLiefeld Liefeldian]] amounts of pouches, holsters and straps. Link Static even has a huge pair of welder's goggles, for even less apparent reason than usual.
* GoneHorriblyRight: Putting AI into toys, programming them as soldiers and giving them a specific enemy? They become more dangerous than full sized ''human'' soldiers. It's worth noting that numerous times Larry and Irvin both admit that there's nothing wrong with the intelligence chips.
** Technically they were going after that specific enemy all along. They just considered any humans harboring them as one of them as well.
** [[spoiler: Subverted by the end of the movie. Instead of selling them to children, Mars decides to sell them to the Department of Defense.]]
* {{Gonk}}: MAJOR points for many of the Commando Elite and Gorgonites. Best examples are [[TheBrute Nick Nitro]] and [[TheBrute Brick Bazooka]] with their [[SlasherSmile giant]], [[TechnicallyaSmile ever showing mouths of teeth]] and Scratch-It with her own chompers and strange looks.
* GrowBeyondTheirProgramming: The Gorgonites. They were programed to lose but at the climax Archer declares "No more hiding." Then they go out to win.
* HeroicBuild: Somewhat inverted, The Commando Elite are made out to have muscular, almost GIJoe-esque designs, and they're the villains of the film.
* HumansAreBastards: The Commandos are all human soldiers (for a dash of ArmiesAreEvil as well), while the good ones are nonhumans. The fact that the peaceful Gorgonites were designed as aliens from the start seems to indicate that Irwin at least holds this opinion.
** Then again the two lines (Commando and Gorgonite) were not originally intended to be used together, adding a in universe case of ExecutiveMeddling to the mix.
* HypocriticalHumor: Chip doesn't take kindly to officers and gentlemen hitting women, but has no trouble shooting at them if they are helping the Gorgonites.
* ImprovisedWeapon: The Commando Elite are experts at this. Among the household implements they convert into weaponry are a toaster that fires flaming [=CDs=], a tennis-ball launcher firing kerosene-soaked balls, and a catapult made from a mousetrap and a spoon.
** The CEO, seeing the havoc the toys created (And giving everyone truckloads of cash not to press charges or talk about it), decides the best thing to do with the obviously-dangerous toy line is to add some zeroes on the end of the price and sell them as automated weapons instead.
* InMemoriam: A dedication to Phil Hartman at the end of the movie.
* KarmaHoudini: The CEO of [=GloboTech=] manages to get away with authorizing the mass-production of untested, highly destructive military toys without any punishment by cutting checks for everyone involved. And he even goes on to authorize the toys to be ''remade'' (except this time [[spoiler:they'll be repurposed to bring down South American drug lords]]).
* LargeHam: Most of the toys, especially Chip Hazard, who gets most of the best one-liners.
* LaughingMad: Insaniac, but he's one of the good guys.
* LetsGetDangerous: Alan has been trying to avoid this trope after getting kicked out of two schools for his near dangerous pranks. However when the Commando Elite kidnapped [[BerserkButton Christy and sent him a ransom/torture video]], the gloves come off.
--> '''Alan:''' Major Chip Hazard wants a war, we'll give him a war.
* LiteralGenie: The Commando Elite. They follow their orders to kill the Gorgonites to the '''extreme'''.
* LivingToys: As alive as the finest military AI chips can make them anyway.
* LoudOfWar: The Commando Elite blast "Wannabe" by the SpiceGirls to demoralize the Abernathys and the Gorgonites. The tipsy wife of the electronics geek exclaims "I love this song!" Christy even alludes to the fact that the US Military used the same tactic to force the surrender of Manuel Noriega (dictator of Panama in the '80s; except they used hard rock/heavy metal IRL).
* [[SeanConneryIsAboutToShootYou Major Chip Hazard is About to Shoot You]]: An in-universe promotional image for the Commando Elite line uses this very heavily.
* MajorlyAwesome: Chip Hazard is a baddie version.
* ManlyTears: With the exception of [[TheStoic Chip Hazard]], who simply wipes away a SingleTear, the Commando Elite blub unrestrainedly as Nick Nitro dies.
* McNinja: Kip Killagin has two outsized shuriken prominently displayed on his chest. Almost certainly intended as an in-universe bit of silliness on the part of his designers.
* MeaningfulName: Chip Hazard, ''Major'' Chip Hazard.
** The CEO of Globotech, a weapons manufacturer that has begun producing kids' toys, is named Gil ''Mars''.
* MyLittlePanzer: Toys with military-grade computer hardware built in. WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong
* NailEm: The Commando Elite bring along a [[MoreDakka rapid-firing]] nailgun along for fire support on their second try.
* TheOperatorsMustBeCrazy: Alan tries to call Globotech to complain about the Commando Elites coming to life and wrecking his dad's toy store, but the operator is actively unhelpful to the point that he ultimately asks to be transferred to a machine - right before the operator gets his gender wrong.
* PetTheDog: The Commando Elite mourn after one of their troops dies, although subverted later, as they raise an army of evil Gwendy dolls ''using what is technically the brain of their fallen comrade''.
** [[IncrediblyLamePun "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."]]
* PosthumousCharacter: One of the Gorgonites is killed off down to the last copy in the toy store when the Commando Elite first begin their attack, and thus never gets to do anything.
* PreAsskickingOneLiner: "An OfficerAndAGentleman [[WouldntHitAGirl does not strike a lady.]]"
* PreMortemOneLiner: "Have I got a shock for you!"
* RageBreakingPoint: "Don't tell me to calm down; calm was killing me."
* RoboticAssemblyLines: Begins with a production line of the titular toys being manufactured (including Terminator-style skeletons and Uncanny Valley-ish rubber "skins").
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney: The CEO spends his second scene handing out cheques to every disgruntled party, all of whom immediately stop complaining when they see the numbers.
** ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules: Alan's dad puts his foot down and refuses to be paid off after what they witnessed. [[AvertedTrope Then he sees how much money the check is for.]]
*** "Even you don't have the means to pay for this!! ...(cue the Mars' assistant handing out a cheque) Oh.. wait.. actually, yes you do..."
* ShoutOut: Many, many parodies/homages of scenes from famous war movies. For example, Chip Hazard's ''Film/{{Patton}}''-like speech in front of a jigsaw of the US flag, or [[Film/ApocalypseNow "Ride of the Valkryies" kicking in as he appears riding a remote-controlled helicopter]].
** "Literature/AllQuietOnTheWesternFront... yard!"
** And the requisite ShoutOut to ''Film/ApocalypseNow'': "[[ILoveTheSmellOfXInTheMorning I love the smell of polyurethane in the morning.]]"
** Several to Dante's most famous movie, ''Film/{{Gremlins}}'', such as the password being "Gizmo", you can actually see a toy in the dumpster the Gorgonites hide in, among other things.
** Not to mention countless homages to ''[[Franchise/{{Terminator}} The Terminator]]'' and the obligatory ''[[Music/AlsoSprachZarathustra 2001: A Space Odyssey]]'' riff.
** Possible ShoutOut to GIJoe with Alan Abernathy: Joe leader Hawk's real name is Clayton Abernathy.
** At Nitro's funeral: "His memory will keep going... and going... and going..."
** The final line: "[[Film/{{Titanic}} I hope we don't hit an iceberg!]]"
** When the first Gwendy soldiers begin to move, Brick Bazooka shrieks, "[[{{Frankenstein}} It's alive! IT'S ALIVE!]]", complete with maniacal laughter.
* TheSingularity: [[spoiler:The Commando Elite learn how to reverse-engineer their chips and create a army of [[NightmareFuel Franken-Barbies]].]]
* SmoochOfVictory: After Alan helps Christy fight off the Gwendy dolls the Commandos "recruited":
-->'''Christy:''' You rescued me! *smooch!*
-->'''Alan:''' *is very surprised* Anytime!
-->'''Christy:''' *smooch!*
* TestosteronePoisoning: The Commando Elite all have [[AwesomeMcCoolName ridiculously manly names]]. And [[HeroicBuild builds]]. And attitudes.
* UglyHeroGoodLookingVillain: Archer and Chip.
* VerbalTic: Link Static, Commando Elite communications specialist, bookends his sentences with white noise.
* WeCanRebuildHim: Troglokhan is reconstructed as Freakenstein.
--> '''Punch-It''': We fixed him!
--> '''Slamfist''': We ''tried'' to fix him...
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Christy's boyfriend tries to [[spoiler:save Christy from the Gwendy dolls, gets attacked by the Commando Elite]], runs out of the house, and presumably escapes... except his motorcycle is still outside later. Where'd he go?
* WhatMeasureIsANonCute: Subverted with the Gorgonites.
* WhyWeAreBummedCommunismFell: In the trailer for the film it's explicitly pointed out that Globotech decided to expand into the toy business due to the decrease in military hardware demand after the end of the ColdWar.
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