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Film / Toy Soldiers

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Toy Soldiers is a film released in 1991, starring Louis Gossett Jr., Sean Astin, Wil Wheaton, and Keith Coogan.

The Regis School has earned the nickname of "The Reject School" as many of its students have been expelled from other boarding schools. When Luis Cali (perpetual villain Andrew Divoff), son of a powerful Colombian drug lord, takes over the school in an attempt to bargain for his father's release, The Rejects decide they won't settle with being hostages and begin hatching plans of sabotage and escape.

Not to be confused with Small Soldiers.


Provides Examples Of:

  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Snuffy says that the first rule of prep school etiquette is to pretend to be asleep whenever your roommate is beating off.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: The boys take every piece of the Headmaster's office furniture and lays it out as it was perfectly on the school quad. The Headmaster and the Dean try desperately not to laugh while in front of all the students. The Headmaster then says quietly he would rather like to leave all the furniture there and work outside in the sunshine.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Used by Billy Tepen (Sean Astin) to get from a bathroom to an office.
  • Anti-Air: One of the terrorists grabs a rocket launcher to try to shoot down an incoming special forces Blackhawk helicopter, but ends up getting mowed down by an Apache gunship before he can use it.
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  • Badass Bystander: One unnamed kid (credited as "Brave student") sprints out of the cafeteria past the cartel gunmen during the initial hostage taking and tries to get to a phone to call in what's happening before being caught.
  • Badass Teacher: Dean Parker definitely earns his stripes at the climax when the assault team he was leading into the school gets incapacitated by a booby trap and he picks up a gun and continues on his own.
    • During the initial hostage taking, the chemistry teacher tries to manhandle a mercenary who looks about to shoot a student, which gets him killed.
  • Big Bad: Luis Cali.
  • The Cartel: Cali and his men, naturally.
  • Cassandra Truth: Cali's claims that what happened to Joey was do ho his own actions when he really was going to be released are largely true, but come across as false to Joey's father.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The remote controlled airplane, with the control chip.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The remote controlled airplane's control chip evidently shares a common feature with that of the detonator for the explosives. That said, it was established earlier in the film that the chips were standardized.
    • Truth in Television, radio control components are standardized. This makes it a bit risky to use for a bomb, though they are freely available, so easily accessible to terrorists. They might not even be aware they are used in toys.
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction: When Cali takes Billy hostage and holds him in Headmaster Gould's office while the Special Forces tries to enter before he can detonate the bomb, Dean Parker jumps through the window to kill Cali but Cali shoots him first, wounding him. With Cali distracted, the Special Forces enters the office and one of them shoots Cali in the back of his head, killing him.
  • Cut Phone Lines: The cartel does this at the school, just before busting in to announce their takeover.
  • Delinquents: The dean asks Billy if he's going for a record in expulsions. He sells disguised booze to his classmates and is the ringleader in any pranks pulled by the students. His record makes authorities dealing with the siege reluctant to go with his proposed plan, until the Dean convinces them otherwise.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: Die Hard in a boarding school.
  • Disposable Woman: The unfortunate courtroom hostage in the opening. She and others are forced to stand on the window sill. One rifle butt later...
  • The Door Slams You: During the climax, Luis Cali, the Big Bad, rushes into the kitchen looking for the students, who have taken refuge in the hidden cellar beneath the kitchen. Billy, holding a submachine gun, hides behind the kitchen's swinging door, and for a moment it looks like it's worked. And then Cali abruptly grabs the door with one hand and slams it into Billy, crushing him against the wall and dazing him long enough for Cali to disarm him and take him prisoner.
  • The Dragon: Jack Thorpe.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The operation to eliminate the terrorists and retake the school is conducted by special forces operatives.
  • Fast-Roping: Several of the aforementioned special forces teams use this method to gain rapid access to the school grounds.
  • Foreshadowing: When Joey is talking about taking a machine gun from one of the bad guys.
  • The Ghost: All of the parents besides Joey's father (several parents are seen in a meeting with the authorities, who are trying to prevent them from panicking, but none of them are identified as being the parents of previously established characters).
  • Guile Hero: Billy Tepper mostly relies on his wits.
  • Gunship Rescue: The climactic raid on the school has multiple soldiers flying in with Blackhawks and Apache chopper support.
  • Heroic BSoD: After Joey is killed, Billy sinks in deep depression, almost missing their chance that they planned so hard for.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: A deliberately invoked example. Ricardo claims not to speak Spanish to Cali, who tells one of his men in spanish to shoot Ricardo in the leg, with his panicked reaction showing that he did understand that.
  • Kick the Dog: When Billy is late to the head count Cali beats him with a metal pointer.
  • Language Fluency Denial: The villains are Hiding Behind the Language Barrier by speaking Spanish. They ask one of the students, Ricardo, if he speaks Spanish. Ricardo denies being able to speak the language. When the villain says in Spanish to shoot him anyway Ricardo yells "No, wait!" revealing himself.
  • Law of Inverse Recoil: Averted. Joey is in no way prepared to control the assault rifle's recoil, and it drives his weapon straight up in the air almost immediately.
  • The Mafia: Joey's father is a Don in the Mafia, and Joey is ashamed of it and takes exception when his friends bring it up. When Joey is killed, his dad has Cali's dad murdered in prison in retaliation.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: It's not enough for the terrorists to shoot up a cop car with a fifty-cal heavy machine gun, they have to blow it up with an anti-tank rocket launcher to top it off!
  • Numbers Station: The coded transmissions of The Cartel utilize this method.
  • Papa Wolf: Joey's father takes the murder of his son hard and lashes out by ordering his guys in prison to kill the man Cali wants released.
  • Pet the Dog: Cali is a cold, ruthless man, but after the American government meets several of his demands (although not all of them) while he continues to hold out for more, he acknowledges this act of good faith and extends the deadline he made for executing hostages to give them more time.
  • Properly Paranoid: The authorities moving the son of the judge trying Cali's father out of the school and into protective custody was a far-sighted and wise precaution. Unfortunately, it isn't enough to keep Cali from holding everyone else at the school hostage.
  • Race Against the Clock: Billy has to get back to the school in time to make the next headcount, or five of his classmates will be executed.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Dean Parker and the Headmaster are both this for the school. Deputy Director Brown and General Kramer also seem like this outside the school.
  • Spanner in the Works: The climactic raid becomes much more important to pull off because Joey Trotta's father (who has connections in prison) orders the death of Luis Cali's father (who is also in prison) as he's being released and the authorities really don't want to know what will Cali do when he discovers that his plan to force the authorities to release his father was All for Nothing.
  • Surprise Vehicle: Two terrorists don't see or hear an attack helicopter that is only a few feet away. They see it and hear it only when it rises to the same height as they are.
    • Somewhat justified, since there were 2 other helicopters closing in on the school.
  • Would Hurt a Child: When Joey Trotta (Wil Wheaton) tries to start a rebellion among the students, the Colombians shoot him down without hesitation. Cali does try to explain that, had the boy not grabbed a submachine gun from one of the guards and threatened his people with it, Cali probably would have been content to just beat up on him some as punishment instead of shooting him. Cali doesn't help his case by claiming it was an accident.


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