Can you believe it? This is already the final requested review for my Science Fiction & Horror theme month. But that doesn’t mean that this is the end of the month itself though. There are still some reviews coming up, one that is kind of a request as well, but I don’t want to give that one away yet. (Although there is probably one person reading this that knows what I am talking about). Now, this review was requested by someone that I really think the world of and is truly special. I am talking about the astonishing Dani who has a blog that focusses on books. Even if you don’t like books, I still urge you to follow her anyway though. You know how some people can have a rough time in their lives, but still triumph in the end? Dani pretty much wrote the book on that. She is a powerhouse of a woman, that just spreads so much happyness and joy around with her reviews and comments, that you cannot help but smile. And considering all that she has been through, that is something that still amazes me to no end. My respect for her is enormous. Her positive attitude is something inspiring and if this hasn’t convinced you to follow her now, go and check out her amazing blog and you will know what I mean. Dani, my amazing and kindhearted beautiful friend, as you are so fond of saying: you rock! This review is for you!
Yes, we humans are at it again. In the 23rd century we begin colonizing new planets and wouldn’t you know it, we of course encounter a hostile alien species. Well, at least we know that we humans are always very peaceloving beings right? So what do we do when we encounter something that is hostile? We of course squash it. And in this case that term is pretty relevant as this hostile alien race are a bunch of bugs. Only not the kind that you can trample underfoot. No, I’m talking about big giant bugs that are as big as houses, and a few that are even bigger than that. These Arachnids, as they become known, are hellbent on destroying our beautiful planet, and so we go to war! But for a war one usually needs soldiers. The Federation is the organisation that governs the Earth and in order to gain citizenship that grants special privileges one can for instance, enlist in the military. John “Johny” Rico decides to become a soldier against his parents wishes. His girlfriend Carmen Ibanez and one of his best friends, Carl Jenkins soon join him in the Federal Service, together with Isabelle Flores (who secretly has a crush on Rico….awwwww). One of their first missions will sent them to the heart of the Arachnid race, their homeplanet Klendathu. And this is ofcourse going to be a peace of cake right? Erm…wrong. Soon John is about to find out that the human invasion force might have bitten of more than they can chew……
Starship Troopers was directed by Dutch director Paul Verhoeven, who is responsible for such science fiction classics as Total Recall and Robocop. And most people that know his style will probably also know that he really isn’t one to handle things in a very subtle way so to speak. Extensive use of gore and sex/nudity are certainly some of his trademarks. One only has to watch Basic Instinct and you will get the picture. And this movie definitely isn’t an exception. In a pretty controversial scene we get a number of the male and female soldiers all taking a shower together, and yes they are naked. One has to wonder if this was a scene that was purely added to shock audiences or if it served any kind of purpose. But we have a film here that also is meant, in part at least, as a satire. The “benovelent” Federation, is little more than an institution that sends young people into a meatgrinder. But the way that is done, the propaganda it uses in for instance television commercials, is at times quite hilarious.
Another thing that one has to note is the actors that are being used in the roles of soldiers. Casper van Dien, Denise Richards and Patrick Muldoon are all way to pretty to be playing at Gi-Joe/Gi-Jane. But this was also clearly the intention of Paul Verhoeven. The acting in this film is quite atrocious. It’s so wooden at times that there are some scenes that become unintentionally funny. But in amongst the youngsters are luckily a few veterans such as Michael Ironside and Clancy Brown. Both of them have some fun parts in playing veteran soldiers that work as drill instructors, that try to get the new men and women into shape. Casper van Dien plays the hero of the movie, John “Johny” Rico (seriously who came up with that name), and he is just likeable enough to carry you through the film. Actress Dina Meyer’s character Isabelle, is one of the characters that you will like the most. She plays the tough woman soldier that kind of kicks ass, but also has a weakness, her love for Johny.
But where this movie excells at is the fights against the Arachnids. While I am not quite convinced by the special effects they used for the shots in space , they more than make up for this in the way they depict the bugs. Usually with films like these you see the monsters in total darkness. Here though, we get fight sequences in full daylight, that not only look enormously convincing, but are also highly entertaining. The multiple different species of Arachnids are definitely the highlight of this film. The fights are bloody and very gory, and we get to see people that literally get torn apart by these nasty critters. As such it is definitely not a movie that is for the faint of heart, or when you are easily shocked by violence. But, it has to be said, this is a war movie. And even though we are of course talking about a fictional war against an inhuman species, it’s still a war. And war is never pretty, no matter which way you look at it. And this comes across perfectly as Starship Troopers doesn’t pull any punches on that front.
So is Starship Troopers a film that is worth seeing? Well…..hell yes! I’m not going to lie here, this won’t be a film that pleases everyone. There is enough stuff in this film that probably will have some people raise their eyebrows, especially considering the acting involved and the extensive use of excessive gore and violence. But if one is willing to look beyond that, and enjoy the film for what it is, you will have a blast. This is just a solid peace of sciencefiction action film making, with cool creatures and some incredibly well made special effects fight sequences. Considering this film is now over 20 years old (seriously where does the time go), it is one of those nice and cool cultclassics, that will always be fun to watch. And I also like the fact that this movie doesn’t take itself too seriously either. Now if you will excuse me, I’m off to go find me some bugs to squash. Naw….not really. Unless they are wasps that is…..
I give Starship Troopers a 8 out of 10 score.