Starring: Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer, Jake Busey, Neil Patrick Harris, Clancy Brown, Michael Ironside
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven
Written By: Edward Neumeier
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 2 hr 9 min
From the maker of Robocop, comes a futuristic science fiction film exploring Neo-Nazism, based very loosely on Robert A. Heinlein’s book, Starship Troopers. A surprisingly political film set in a time when democracy has been abandoned as a failed dangerous experiment, and the world is run by the military. To vote, or get a license to have children, you have to become a citizen, and to do that you have to serve the militaristic Federation for a minimum of 2 years.
If you’ve seen this film and missed all that, you were likely distracted by thousands of incredibly well rendered CGI killer bugs! Or the no-stop action as hundreds of Starships, and nuke wielding troopers, storm bug inhabited planets blowing up everything that has more than two legs. And to be honest, I can’t blame you for that, because this is a really entertaining film and a lot of fun to watch!
Structurally, this is a really simple film with three distinct sections. The get to know your futuristic fascist world and lead heroes bit, followed by training and life in the military. Then most of the last act is spent blowing stuff up and not much more. It’s all incredibly violent and gory, and each section is book-ended with hilariously dark satirical news and propaganda films encouraging you to join the fight!
At the time its 100+ million dollar budget was huge, but all that money makes it onto the screen, and the visual effects haven’t really aged at all. The action is bloody and cartoonish, and when you can hear it over the explosions, Basil Poledouris’s score is really effective. The only thing that lets this film down is the wooden acting, and Denise Richards is by far the worst offender in that regard.
If you’ve watched and enjoyed Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop, Total Recall or Flesh + Blood, then you should enjoy this too. This movie, like his others, earns its R rating due to its extremely violent content and occasional nudity.
Impressive wide shots of thousands of CGI bugs scrambling over each other to kill humans, makes this a big screen event. At home a HD screening on your nice big TV is recommended. Viewing this on anything smaller would be a mistake. This movie is really entertaining, and often very funny, so a screening of Starship Troopers with your uber-violent sci-fi movie loving friends, along with brews and snacks, could make for an awesome evening in!
Best Moment: << mild spoiler >>
Later in the film, the troopers find a General hiding in a locker. The man has clearly lost his mind, and you can tell everyone isn’t too impressed. Then the bugs attack, and during the action Rico (Casper Van Dien) and his friend Ace (Jake Busey) take out one of the more troublesome flying bugs. The bug crash-lands inside their base killing the General. The smile on Rico’s and Ace’s face after they witness that, just cracks me up every time I see it.