Reviewed by: David Peterson
Starring: Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, Denise Richards, Jake Busey, Neil Patrick Harris, Clancy Brown, Seth Gilliam, Patrick Muldoon, Michael Ironside, Marshall Bell / Director: Paul Verhoeven / Released by: TriStar
The Federation needs you! Join up and kill some bugs!
“Starship Troopers” begins with what seems like a cheesy military recruiting commercial, but soon changes into an incredible feast of action and special effects.
Based in the not-so-distant future, the film centers around the lives of four young high school students who join the Federal Military. Though each of them joins for different reasons initially, they all become united in the common cause of protecting Earth and ridding the galaxy of the aggressive and warlike “bugs.”
The main character, Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien), joins the mobile infantry while his classmates pursue different careers as pilots and military intelligence specialists. During the incredibly rigorous and harsh boot camp (drill sergeants are allowed to break recruits bones, etc.!), an accident occurs killing one of the troops under Rico’s command. After enduring severe punishment for his negligence and error, Rico decides to leave the military altogether.
Just as he is preparing to leave the base, he receives word that the alien race has caused a tragedy on Earth that literally wiped Rico’s home city off the planet. As a result of the attack, the Federation declares war and launches an all out assault on the alien’s home planet. Rico reconsiders his decision to quit the service and becomes a dedicated infantryman.
Assuming that the aliens are just “stupid bugs” the Federation’s military assault is not well-planned or executed. In vastly underestimating the alien’s numbers, strategy, and general military capabilities, Earth’s forces suffer massive casualties and defeat.
After regrouping and reconsidering, the Federation determines a better plan of attack. This time they will seeks to capture one of the “smart bugs” that must be leading the aliens. By capturing one of these intelligent leaders, they hope to get to “know their foe” and mount a more successful offensive.
“Starship Troopers” is an action-packed, exciting film that should satisfy even the most demanding science fiction fan. The special effects are absolutely incredible and very believable. From the starships to the aliens themselves, all the effects are superbly executed.
Therein lies the rub. If you are the least bit squeamish, don’t see this film.
The realism of the effects combined with the nature of combat and violent warfare provide this movie with ample opportunities for gratuitous gross-outs! Keep in mind that the aliens do not use phasers or any such thing. They rely on skewering and dismembering their opponents. There are many, many scenes of decapitation, disemboweling, severing of limbs, etc. In addition to the intense “live” scenes, the viewer is shown numerous shots of carnage including dead and disfigured Federation troopers.
Of course, the bugs are also completely disgusting when killed, spraying gallons of green and orange ooze on anything or anyone that happens to be nearby.
The film also contains gratuitous scenes of male and female nudity (a shower scene at boot camp and one brief sex scene). The language was relatively mild, with very little cursing and no sexual innuendo.
This film is definitely not for children and even adults will want to give careful consideration of the violence and gore elements before making a decision to see “Starship Troopers”.
* PLEASE NOTE: After reading a number of the comments, especially those of Mr. Blaisdell, I felt it was necessary for me to briefly respond. I wish to sincerely apologize to Mr. Blaisdell (and anyone else) who may have been inadvertently “led astray” by my poor choice of words in describing the unacceptable nudity in this film. That was certainly not my intent. I fully agree that it was gratuitous and wrong. My use of the word “brief” in the review was a relative term and obviously not the best choice. I agree that this movie should be avoided. In my understanding, biblical purity seems to demand complete avoidance of a film with ANY nudity. If the length of the scene is the issue, then one could potentially watch a porno movie as long as it were viewed in brief segments not exceeding ones own self-imposed “length limits.” Of course this is ludicrous. Brief or not-so-brief, short or long, scenes of nudity should be unacceptable to any believer, especially those who struggle with such issues.
I also believe this film should be avoided for a number of other reasons. The excessive, explicit nature of the violence goes well beyond biblical principles and certainly defiles the mind of the viewer. It seems impossible to reconcile such things in light of passages such as Phil. 4:8, Luke 16:15, Prov. 4:23, etc.
In my effort to recap the plot and highlight the offensive elements, I apparently did not use strong enough exhortation. My desire to describe the film without defiling your consciences in the process has backfired. In the sense that I have caused some of you to stumble, I have sinned not only against you, but against the Lord as well. I ask your forgiveness. Again I sincerely apologize to anyone who may have been unintentionally misinformed by my review.
David Peterson (Guest Reviewer)