Tiny Alien, Big Action: Revisiting the Two 90s Dollman Films

Julien Neaves, Sci Fi Head Writer

I have been recently exploring the content on free streaming service Tubi and I saw they had the Sci Fi action film series Trancers from Full Moon Features, the folks behind B-movie cult classic series like Puppet Master and Subspecies. I was familiar with Trancers but I had never seen any of them, so I binged all six films and the short film City of Lost Angels. And while I really enjoyed the first two there was a huge drop off in quality thereafter and made a film ranking less than appealing. But one aspect that was enjoyable for the first five films was star Tim Thomerson, who played time travelling cop Jack Deth (best name ever), who I recalled from the two 90s Dollman films (also by Full Moon). And this inspired me to revisit both films, which I enjoyed more than I expected.

And so, we will be leaving Trancers dead for a while, and shrinking down to review both Dollman movies. With a tiny SPOILER ALERT here are my retro reviews of Dollman and Dollman vs. Demonic Toys:

Dollman (1991)

Don’t you get short with me, Mister!

Plot: Rule-breaking cop Brick Bardo (Thomerson) on the planet Arturos chases his nemesis Sprug, a criminal who he has reduced to a head floating in a machine, through an energy band to Earth, specifically the South Bronx. After Bardo crash lands he discovers he is now 13 inches in height and gets taken in by kindly single mother Debi. Dubbed “Dollman” by the humans, the diminutive space cop uses his skills and powerful blaster to protect Debi and her son from brutal gangsters.

Review: I have fond memories of watching Dollman on video cassette and the opening scene of Bardo blasting Sprug’s two henchmen into gory pieces has lived rent free in my head ever since. And upon rewatching, it was even better than I remembered. Thomerson is a delight as the grizzled, gruff, shoot-first Bardo, and the comedy is derived from his tiny fish-out-of-water situation rather than his wisecracks as with Trancers’ Jack Deth.

Sprug was always at the head of his class

And he is ably supported by a surprisingly strong and touching performance from Kamala Lopez (Clear and Present Danger) as Debi, enjoyably dastardly turn by future Watchmen star Jackie Earle Haley as gang leader Braxton Red and Frank Collison (Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman) as comically over-the-top alien head baddie (get it? you get it) Sprug. Seriously, these performances have no right to be as good as they are in this B-movie.

I also have to praise the action in Dollman. While Bardo’s now shrunken blaster is no longer exploding baddies it can still do some damage, and he blasts away multiple gangsters in bloody fashion. It is most entertaining. And the visual and practical effects are about what you would expect for a film of this budget, but they are effective enough, including the scene of Braxton crushing’s Sprug into mincemeat with his hand. Yuck. But there is also the scene of an actual doll representing Bardo hanging from a car, and it looks as ridiculous as it sounds. Despite a few cheap-looking effects and somewhat silly story, there is a level of depth to the plot and its brief but impactful exploration of crime, policing and poor neighbourhoods. I had a blast revisiting Dollman, and I am glad to report that instead of coming up short (I really can’t help myself) the Full Moon film exceeded my expectations.

Editor Jules Score: 8 out of 10

Dollman vs. Demonic Toys (1993)

Oh! Excuse me. I didn’t realise this abandoned building was occupied. Please go about your business

Plot: Brick Bardo finds love with a tiny human nurse who had been shrunken by aliens and teams up with a cop to battle a band of demonic toys in a toy factory.

Review: As one can tell from the above plot synopsis, Dollman vs. Demonic Toys (onscreen title Dollman vs. the Demonic Toys) is bonkers. It is not only a sequel to Dollman, but also to two other Full Moon features, namely horror comedy Demonic Toys (1992) and Sci fi spoof Bad Channels (also 1992). The film is very short (just over an hour compared to the Dollman’s 79 minutes) and about a quarter of the time is archival footage from the above three movies. And things take a while to get going, with the bulk of the action happening in the second half.

Such an infectious laugh

While a few steps down in quality compared to the first film, there are some things to enjoy with Dollman vs. Demonic Toys. Thomerson is in fine form, delivers some great zingers and has cool chemistry with shrunken nurse Ginger (the sexy Melissa Behr) and Demonic Toys cop Judith Grey (Tracy Scoggins from Babylon 5). The Demonic Toys themselves are fun too, especially the frequently cackling snake-like jack-in-the-box Jack Attack and the lecherous Baby Oopsie Daisy. And seeing all the toys getting offed in different ways was admittedly satisfying.

This crossover is shlocky, cheap and very dumb, but there was entertainment to be had. And I was happy to see my boy Double B find someone to love, someone to touch, someone to hold, someone to know. Sorry, I had a Babyface flashback there. On to my score.

Editor Jules Score: 6 out of 10

Are you a fan of the Dollman films? Any other Full Moon movies you would like us to review? And you can check more Sci Fi cult classic content below:


Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by the Cryptkeeper, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “13 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.

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