Another big budget sci-fi movie to come out in 1997, Starship Troopers tells the tale of an interplanetary war between humans and a species of giant, intelligent space insects. Directed by Paul Verhoeven, this has much in common with his more famous effort, Robocop.
The film was poorly received at the time of its release and didn’t do great business at the box-office. This was perhaps due to the actors involved, many of whom were new faces to the movie-going public. In addition, critics seemed to completely miss the point of the movie. In the modern climate and against the backdrop of ‘The War on Terror’, the satirical portrayal of the media of the future is devilishly clever. Few films have exposed the American propaganda machine quite as intelligently as Starship Troopers, that in spite of it being a crazy, over the top, uber violent, poorly acted mess of a movie.
Don’t get me wrong, I love this film. But Denise Richards, Casper Van Dien, Jake Busey and Neil Patrick Harris are not exactly the most renowned of character actors. Nor do they ooze ‘soldier’. It doesn’t matter though. If anything, one suspects that might have been the point on some bizarre level. Cheesy acting and dialogue aside, this film has a lot to say, not all of it obvious, and is well worth watching and re-watching for that reason alone.
More than that though, it’s a fun ride. The effects stand up pretty well and the non-stop over the top bug related violence is pure eye candy for those of us who enjoy such things. One can’t help wonder if this film had any hand in inspiring the Resistance series of video games for the similarities are pretty obvious.
Me, I just love the fact a giant slug sucks a man’s brain out. Or the part where the giant fly decapitates a terrified, irritating commander.
Stop reading this and go watch the movie already. It may be a bit crap on several levels but in spite of that, it’s easily more fun and insightful than 90% of the films out there.
Reviewer: Dave Coughlan