Plot: As graduation approaches, students have to decide in which direction to take their future, to the world of normal work, or toward becoming a citizen. Of course, you can only become a citizen if you serve in the military and since the war with the bugs rages on, that often means risking life and limb in the process. Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien) was a sports hero, came from a wealthy family, and was a poor student, but when he learned his girlfriend Carmen (Denise Richards) was enlisting, he decided to do the same. Against the wishes of his parents, Rico signs up and is assigned to join the infantry, which means he will be among the first to storm the bug strongholds, the most dangerous division of all. As he trains to take on the enemy, he forms friendships with several fellow troopers, including former classmate Dizzy (Dina Meyer). After he runs into Carmen and discovers she is now close with someone else, Rico forms a bond with Dizzy and soon, he is forced out on the battlefield. Can Rico manage to survive the horrors of the war against the bugs and more to the point, can humanity overcome and send the bugs back into the ground?
Entertainment Value: Starship Troopers is a masterful slice of cinema, an over the top sci/fi b movie that is also a razor sharp satire on movies and propaganda, a unique blend of fluff and brilliance. The satire is so on point that Starship Troopers is a pitch perfect take on sci/fi cheese, which leads to some dismiss it as just that, ignoring the deeper elements at work. I can see why that happens, as if taken as just a campy b movie, this is still a fun, wild ride, but there is so much more to Starship Troopers than just the action and outlandish touches. The jabs at xenophobia, fascism, and the military complex are by no means subtle, but they’re so woven into the fabric of these kind of action sci/fi movies, they’re sometimes well camouflaged. But if you pull back the curtain, this is a smart, relentless satire that manages to get most viewers to cheer on the bad guys, no simple task. At the same time, Starship Troopers is also an insanely fun ride as just an over the top sci/fi action b movie, as it hits all the usual tropes and the spectacle level is off the charts. The cast also runs with the premise and turns in exactly the kind of wooden performances the movie needs, while the visual effects are remarkable and have held up quite well. I think Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers is a sci/fi masterwork and no matter how you choose to experience it, the movie is able to entertain and spark some brain waves.
A little nakedness can be found in this one, with a quick topless scene and a couple of bare asses involved. The co-ed shower scene has the most naked skin and is one of the movie’s more talked about sequences, with several fully naked folks on showcase, but no full frontal is seen. The film is filled with war movie style violence, including a lot of bug trauma, so a flood of alien goop flows over the course of the battles. The visual effects on the bugs look excellent in most cases, a blend of practical and digital effects that have withstood the tolls of time well enough. Some of the scenes look fantastic, far and away better than a lot of big budget effects made decades later. The humans take some damage as well, with impalement, slashes, and some assorted other splashy wounds, including soldiers being torn to pieces. The dialogue is loaded with propaganda style feeds and over the top patriotism, with both elements taken to extremes, to say the least. The lines combine with the enthusiastic, but wooden performances to hit some absurd levels of satire and entertainment. A lot of gung ho, quotable lines to be found here, from the grunts’ banter to the brainwashing news breaks. As for craziness, the movie is insanely over the top, but plays more like camp than sheer wackiness, so the score reflects the approach taken. But those who appreciate b movie vibes however, there’s plenty of those to be had here.
Overall Insanity: 2/10