An action-comedy about toy soliders that come to life to take on humans, Small Soldiers ingeniously blends live action and computer animation. Similarly, the soundtrack blends classic rock tracks with hip-hop. Everything on the soundtrack (with the exception of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Henry Rollins, Tom Morello and Flea's cover of "War" and the original Edwin Starr version) is a classic rock track as remixed by a contemporary hip-hop artist; occasionally, the tracks also feature new vocal raps. It's an intriguing concept on paper, but (perhaps unsurprisingly) it doesn't play out particularly well in practise. Usually, the fusions sound forced and the raps sound pasted on over the top. That said, the cuts that work signal how much fun the album could have been. The Butcher Brothers and Kool Keith successfully make over the Pretenders' "My City Was Gone"; "Love Removal Machine" still has a big bottom groove; and Billy Squier's "The Stroke," of all things, works as a pseudo-hip-hop dance track in the hands of Dallas Austin. So, like many soundtracks, Small Soldiers is a decidedly mixed bag, but at least it's one with an original premise.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine