I had the pleasure of watching two movies about teenagers kicking ass that both happened to come out in 1991 last week. You know what's funny? The very next year Kevin Smith's Clerks and Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs brought all kinds of attention to the world of film, but just the year before we got treated to Toy Soldiers and If Looks Could Kill.
I had never actually seen Toy Soldiers (starring Sean Astin, Wil Wheton, R. Lee Ermey and Louis Gossett Jr.. The idea is that, this dude whose dad has been arrested for being a drug dealer decides to take a private prep school hostage in order to take a kid hostage. The kid is someone from the government's, but what the terrorists don't know is that that kid was moved off campus the day before. Now, Astin, Wheton and their friends have to put a stop to things. See, Astin's kind of the bad boy of the school, but he's got a good heart and is willing to risk his life for the safety of his fellow students.
Watching TS was definitely an experience. They really don't make movies where kids can try and kill terrorists with an uzi anymore and that's kind of a shame. I was talking to Rickey about this movie and he said it lead him to all kinds of kid empowerment fantasies. Kids need that kind of stuff to keep them sane or at least to weed out the lameazoids and give the free thinkers something to think about (though hopefully shooting people with uzis isn't the only thing they think about).
The other Class of 1991 movie I checked out was one that I had seen before but only once: If Looks Could Kill. It's a case of mistaken identity movie in which a high school senior gets mistaken for a James Bond-like secret agent. There's plenty of Bond references in this badboy (including a sexily named lady, cool car with gizmos and a look at a gadget testing lab). ILKC stars Richard Grieco in the only role I ever remember seeing him in (though, did you know he played Ghost Rider on the Fantastic Four cartoon? weird).
This movie is definitely played more for laughs than TS, but Grieco, a high school student, does still straight-up murder some people with an uzi (I guess he's 18 though, so it's not such a big deal). I didn't enjoy ILCK as much as Toy Soldiers, but I think that's because, aside from the humor, I was only looking for the few things I remembered about this movie from what I was a kid: the sneakers that walk down walls, the short lady's extending necklace whip and the exploding gum ("borrowed" in the first Mission: Impossible movie by the way). I think this empowered me to some extent as a youngin, or at least made me want someone to invent high tops that would allow me to walk down walls. Come on science, where are those kicks already?!