Reviewed by Chris Bjuland
Rating: 8.5 Beans
have waited years for a big budget, powerful science fiction movie. Now that "Starship Troopers" has been released, I realize I'm still waiting. Sure we've got great FX and visuals. What we don't have is a story, which is a sad truth considering this movie is supposed to be based on the novel of the same name by Robert A. Heinlein.
If the movie "I know what you did last summer" was in reality the 90210 halloween special, "Starship Troopers" is a group of Melrose Place looking beautiful people hitching a ride on a starship. And they brought plenty of hairspray and other cosmetic necessities to make their job in the Federation that much easier.
The movie has elements of soap-opera and space-opera, and begs, borrows and steals from many other well know (and not so well known) sci-fi thrillers. I found elements of Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Aliens, Space: Above and Beyond, and Buck Rogers. There was even a scene almost straight out of the Japanese animated video "Gunbusters". I kept waiting for Godzilla to make a guest appearence, but alas, it was not to happen.
Casper Van Dien plays Johnny Rico, the beautiful rich boy who joins the Federal Service to win the affections of his girlfriend Carmen Ibanez (Denise Richards). Leaving his life as a pampered, rich "civilian", he heads to the military life that will guarantee him (and all others who sign up) "citizenship". (But don't ask the movie to explain the differences between the two or why citizenship is important, because it's an unanswered point of continuity). Rounding out the group of soldiers with perfect hair is Dizzy Flores (Dina Meyer) who's love for Johnny leads her to the same infantry platoon as Mr. Rico, and Dr. Doogie Howser himself, Neil Patrick Harris, dressed to a T in a Nazi inspired trenchcoat outfit.
Errors in tactical procedures are more prevelant than split ends in "Starship Troopers". Infantry units assume mob formation during combat. Capital ships fly at close range to those ships around them. Held held guided nuclear weapons don't cause damage to the other soldiers around them. Life fire exercises are conducted with other troops training on all four sides of the life fire training area, yet no bullet impacts any of these oblivious bystanders. Troop training is conducted with laser weapons, yet the standard issue rifle is a slug thrower (with almost, but not quite, unlimited ammo). And a large scale asteroid impact on earth does nothing more than destroy one city. Which is surprising considering the movie opens up with propoganda films about earth early defense system against asteroid "invasions" from the bug world. Shuttle crafts and other personal flying machines lack any form of safety restraint systems, and yet, a sudden crash into a mountain doesn't throw it's occupents through the window (as a front end collision would do), nor does wild aerobatic flying do more than mildly move it's occupents around in their seats.
But these and many other glaring black holes of logic shouldn't take away from your enjoyment of the movie. If nothing else, sit back and admire the well designed capital ships. Enjoy the beautiful people with perfect combat hair. I know I'll be dreaming of beautiful tough girl Dina Meyer for weeks to come. Dream about life in the Federal Services. And remember, viewing this movie quarantees citizenship!
Other reviews for this movie:
Roger M. Wilcox
Ken M. Wilson