Starship Troopers 2 on DVD
By Jim Bray
I was surprised to hear about this sequel, and really looking forward to reviewing
it. The novel on which the original was based is one of my all time favorites;
it was the great Robert A. Heinlein at his best, full of incredible science
and science fiction as well as fascinating characters and typical Heinlein social
and political commentary.
Paul Verhoevens movie only used about ten per cent of the book, if that,
but what they used they got mostly right. Being Hollywood leftists they completely
misunderstood the politics, and a lot of my favorite things about the book
such as the powered suits wielded by the Mobile Infantry werent
included, but on the whole it was a good movie even if it wasnt great
The existence of a sequel gave me hope that theyd go back to the book
and do some of the things they didnt (or couldnt) do in the original
such as the aforementioned suits. And since this sequel went straight
to video (which can be but isnt necessarily an ominous sign)
I knew nothing about it and so could go in with only my hopes and have no preconceptions
about what to expect.
Add to the mix a first time director whos been advancing the state of
the special effects art since the 1970s (Phil Tippett, whose fame came
from his work with George Lucas Industrial Light and Magic).
Suffice it to say my hopes were dashed. Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation
is a really bad movie. Its cheap, its low budget, its schlock,
its politically correct liberalism in the extreme in short theres
nothing worth seeing here at all. Move along.
If you want to see this storyline done right, watch John Carpenters The
Thing. You wont be sorry.
This edition of Troopers sees a MI unit forced by a nearly unseen horde of
bugs (its cheaper to make if you dont have to show em much)
into an outpost on a planet either owned or controlled by the arachnids. They
reach the outpost in the first few minutes and from there on youre either
indoors (read on a soundstage) or just outside (read on a
soundstage) the compound and the hordes of bugs are kept at bay through
the use of a sci-fi fence that holds them off just long enough for whatever
story there is to play out, at which time they overrun the place just in time
for the MI to be rescued.
The Hero of the Federation in this case is a man they discover inside the compound
a holdover from the previous MI unit that had been there. This guy, who
is the best soldier of the bunch, is in the brig for having killed one of his
officers. But since the rest of the Infantrypeople are either incompetent, insubordinate,
foolish, or just busy having sex with each other, hes brought back into
action forgiven temporarily to help hold the compound until they
can be rescued in the nick of time.
What we end up with is a limousine liberals view of the military. Instead
of highly trained and competent professionals such as we can witness every day
in the War on Terror (or could if the media werent so busy trying to bring
down the Bush administration and had time to actually show us both sides of
the issue) we get a bunch of immature, whining prima donnas so unprofessional
it isnt difficult to see why they let a supposed mutineer become their
de facto leader.
Add some occasional gratuitous nudity (okay, that was my favorite part!), some
repellent and unnecessary graphic grossout makeup effects, some decent CG animation,
and an overall disrespect for the source material and you have a cheap and cheesy
mishmash that was one of the longest 90 minutes Ive ever spent in a home
Avoid this like the plague.
The DVDs fine, though by this time Id hope you dont care.
Its presented in anamorphic widescreen, 16x9 TV compatible, and the picture
is sharp and clean. Alas, its also very dark for the lions share
of the so-called plot, so you cant see anything very well anyway.
Audio is dts and/or Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and its fine. Theres
great bass and good use of the surrounds, but it doesnt matter.
You also get extras. I should have watched them first, because by the time
the final credits started rolling I couldnt get this disc out of the DVD
player quickly enough lest it damage it for other, better movies.
First up is a commentary by the director, writer and producer (Id hope
it was a 92 minute apology, but as mentioned I didnt stick around to find
out), followed by a featurette From Green Screens to Silver Screen
on the making of this dogs breakfast. Theres also an Inside
the Federation featurette the title alone of which frightened me off because
I figured it would have little to do with what Heinlein's Federation was supposed
You also get a bunch of trailers, a photo gallery and a DVD ROM link to a demo
of a Troopers PC game.
As the robot in Lost in Space (TV) said: Warning, warning! Danger Will
Robinson. Avoid this like the plague and rent the original. While it was
by no means perfect, it was still a ripping yarn well told and could be a bit
of an introduction to the grand visions of the Dean of Science Fiction, Robert
Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation, from Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment
92 excruciating minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1, 16x9 TV compatible),
Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, dts
Starring Richard Burgi, Lawrence Monoson, Colleen Porch
Produced by Jon Davison
Written by Ed Neumeir, directed by Phil Tippett
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