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Unique, subversive masterpiece
gogoschka-115 December 2013
This film is about the ignorance of conquerors and the fact that war makes fascists of us all. Now that doesn't sound like a lot of fun, does it. But guess what: it is fun (by the truckload - at least if you have a pitch-black sense of humour and you do realise what this film is and what it wants to achieve).

Paul Verhoeven was a master at making Sci-Fi films which worked both as perfect mainstream popcorn cinema and as very intelligent social commentary on the direction - he felt - society was headed. And despite the fact that the over-the-top satirical elements and highly political undercurrents in his two previous sci-fi extravaganzas Robocop and Total Recall were only appreciated by a few critics at the time, those two films became huge hits at the box office: because they also offered great action, amazing special effects and overall great entertainment.

My guess is that Verhoeven felt encouraged by that success, and so with Starship Troopers, he didn't just sneak in some subversive parts: he went full-blown satire. Sadly, that didn't go down too well with audiences and critics alike; apparently most viewers didn't get the film at all (the - seemingly - good guys wear Nazi uniforms? What the heck?). Verhoeven even got accused of being a fascist, and it took the director's commentary on the DVD to finally make it once and for all clear what Starship Troopers is about and what the writer's and the director's intentions were.

I wonder whether the studio execs realised what Verhoeven was up to with that film; maybe the director just took their 100 million dollars and ran with it. The result, in any case, is a unique oddity that I personally feel is on par with films like District 9 or even Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove. It's a masterpiece. And much like another glitch in the Hollywood machine, David Fincher's Fight Club, films like that rarely get made (and not with such budgets), because more often than not, they end up as flops.

Apart from the underlying themes, on the surface Starship Troopers also has a lot going for it: amazing effects that still hold up very well and insanely intense battle scenes with more blood and guts than even the meanest gore-hound could wish for. So no matter how it came about that a studio ever green-lit this and gave Verhoeven a 100 million dollars - I for one will forever be grateful for this unique subversive masterpiece. My vote: 10 out of 10

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Better -- and more disturbing -- each time I watch it
obiwan2628 July 2004
This movie never fails to generate strong reactions, both positive and negative.

Much of the negative criticizes the wooden acting, soap-opera beautiful stars, and unreasonably military tactics that lead to an enormous human body count.

But that misses the whole point. The actors and plotlines are supposed to be caricatures of themselves. We are presented with a seemingly utopian society, where everyone is beautiful, the world is united under a single government, and patriotism is rampant.

The further the movie goes, the more the viewer realizes just how horrific this supposed utopia really is. Patriotism is exploited to trick young men and women into going off to a pointless war. The beautiful people are mercilessly chopped to pieces by their insectoid opponents. And the united world government uses its control of the media to brainwash the public into supporting this bloody war.

Yes, the Nazi symbolism is a little heavy-handed. But that's the whole point -- the intertwining of this "perfect" society with such a deeply evil subtext is supposed to be disturbing. What's even more disturbing is how close to our recent (American) history this movie truly is. Yes, it's a caricature, but it's a caricature of a very real and frightening phenomenon.

How different are the government propaganda ads in Starship Troopers from the "Loose Lips Sink Ships" campaign or the "10% for War Bonds" posters in 1940s U.S.? How dangerous is it to have a society where everyone looks the same, thinks the same, and acts the same, even to their own death? This is the message behind Starship Troopers, and it's a chilling one at that.

And for me, it works.
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Best satire since Dr. Strangelove
DeadpoolX23 July 2003
Starship Troopers is a subtle and insidiously subversive movie that proved frighteningly prescient in the wake of post-9/11 uberpatriotism. Both Heinlein's book and Verhoeven's film are valid and interesting political statements at opposite ends of the spectrum. Heinlein's novel was criticized as fascist at the time of its publication, and for all his obvious talent as a writer I'm inclined to agree. The movie is as much a sendup of the original novel as it is a satire of jingoist American politics. It really is a shame that despite the squeaky-clean heroes plucked straight from the soaps, the Mormon extremists, the multiple-amputee mobile infantry retirees and the propaganda shorts masquerading as news, the vast majority still seems to regard Starship Troopers as a stupid action movie and, for some reason, absolutely refuse to consider that it might be something more.

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The negative buzz kept me from watching this film for awhile, but I'm glad I've seen it now!
BrandtSponseller22 January 2005
Based on the famous Robert A. Heinlein novel, Starship Troopers is set in a world of the future where militarism is the norm, largely because we've discovered alien civilizations of huge insect-like creatures and we're at war with them. The film follows a quartet of high school friends as they make their varied ways through the military.

Starship Troopers is both a tongue-in-cheek satire of society and an intense sci-fi/action/war film filled with horror-like insect monsters and a healthy dose of graphic gore. That's a genre combination that will not please all viewers, especially if the tongue-in-cheek humor goes over their heads. For those more in tune with the genre melding, Starship Troopers promises a quick, edge-of-your-seat ride from the first moments to the last.

The film can be looked at in three sections, with slight crossovers from one section to another. The first is focused on the social satire. The cultural differences of the future are given in mostly indirectly, and occasionally, the point is what hasn't changed, or perhaps what is currently (per the film's setting) in vogue as a retro element. The second and third sections could be seen as a sci-fi Platoon (1986), with the second section focused on military basic training and the third focused on wartime. Like Platoon, the basic training scenes show order and a clear sense of purpose, while the wartime scenes show comparative chaos.

That the film could be compared to something like Platoon shows that although director Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Edward Neumeier are aware that the material could easily be seen as absurd, they have the chops to make it believable and suspenseful at the same time.

This is not to say that Starship Troopers is a rip-off of any other movie. The film-making here is highly original, and we could almost see the entire film as a computer-based CNN-styled collection of wartime newsreels of the future. It remains quick, witty and intense throughout. My only regret is that they didn't incorporate Yes' song Starship Troopers in the score somehow.
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KelticKarma4 October 2002
One of my favourite films, this one.

I love the way Verhoeven approached the idea of Man v Beast. Our "heros" are beautiful, white-teethed Americans, firm of body and morals; our villains are decapitating stick insects, cockroaches, and giant maggots.

Yet who are the real heroes ?

The white-teethed Americans are vacuous, shallow thugs. They are thrust into a war with the Bugs, whose planets, we are told, have been invaded by the Americans. The Bugs are justifiably annoyed.

I couldn't help but laugh at some of the "Nazi" parallels drawn by other reviewers. What Verhoeven is putting across in this film is not a polemic against Nazi ideology, but an attack upon American Imperialism in the latter part of the last century. He is satirising American crusades against other countries, whose inhabitants are portrayed in the American press as no better than Bugs.

Had Verhoeven wished to attack Nazism, he could have given the good guys German accents; he didn't, he gave them American accents. The "Nazi" symbolism as commented upon by other reviewers is not Nazi symbolism at all - it is totalitarian symbolism, full stop. It is right-wing, "bomb them back to the stone age" American totalitarianism.

Why do I believe this ?

Check out the scene where American kids are encouraged to stamp on cockroaches by an overly excited parent. Check out the high fives.

Verhoeven has done a mighty job here. He has made a film which has great action, great cinematography, very cute women (and boys) and yet the film still manages to take the mickey out of the New Order in a very funny and effective manner.

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Brilliant & timely critique of fascism
Delysid11 August 2004
The truth is that this is a brilliant film that, like Verhoeven's earlier "Robocop", is an insightful satire and critique of fascism and at the same time succeeds as a sci-fi thriller. It can be enjoyed at both levels, though obviously it is much richer when the viewer comprehends the satirical and critical level as well.

It's not as if the satire is so subtle it's hard to get. If anything, it hits you over the head with it. But at the same time, it is very disciplined and consistent in not tipping its hand and giving the game away, which to me makes it much more successful and enjoyable than if the satire and social critique were blatantly broadcast. That's the strange and wonderful thing about "Starship Troopers" and "Robocop" -- one viewer might totally not get it, while to another, the critical/satirical level is totally in your face and is what the film is really all about.

I don't know if I'm describing it well, but watch it with the film-makers' commentary turned on (on the DVD version), and director Paul Verhoeven and writer Ed Neumeier lay it all out very clearly: the film is about how war makes fascists of us all. Very timely today (2004) with US imperialism wreaking havoc in Iraq & Afghanistan.

On a technical level, the film is excellent. The bug special effects are top notch and the whole bug society and hierarchy is deeply thought through, as is the future Earth society's politics and technology. The acting is excellent, and the balance between the characters' interpersonal story line, the bug war story line, and the underlying political satire and critique, is perfectly handled.

A truly exceptional film, Verhoeven's best so far, topping even "Robocop" in my opinion, and fully deserving a 10 out of 10 score, which I rarely give.
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Military sci-fi at its cinematic best
honsou26 February 2005
On one level this is a pure action flick at its best. Amazing effects, mindless violence by the tanker-load and the good-guy gets the girl. Nothing more to say, really.

However, this isn't a pure sci-fi action film; this is military sci-fi in all its fascist glory. Guns, warriors, alien scum and pretty explosions rendered in a disciplined manner. I wouldn't call it tongue-in-cheek, its too hardened for that. I wouldn't call the satire in your face or subtle; its more... subliminal. Sublety by another name perhaps. I don't read so far into films as others do; maybe I'm right for it, maybe I'm not. You just cant get it so wrong. Certainly people spend less time actually reviewing films.

Uncharacterized enemies, a one sided view the situation, rampant jingoism, those are the trademarks of militarism. This film catches them well in a futuristic setting. A little slow to start but still enjoyable, with just the right sense of innocence and its loss, replaced with the hardened edge that invariably lies within success. When the action finally gets going, it really gets going. The effects are stunning for 1996 when they were made, and even 10 years on they'll still be impressive. I thought Casper van Dien was more impressive than the film really shows; certainly the screen test on the DVD seemed to show a greater depth IMO. Denise Richards was a little too wide smile for the film, but Dina Meyer pulled off the 'chick with a gun' more convincingly than any other woman I've seen on film (they always seem uncomfortable with it, but Meyer carried herself naturally). Her character was pretty good too ;-) . Clancy Brown clearly enjoyed himself, hamming up the stereotypical drill-instructor pleasingly, and Michael Ironside was wonderful as the hard-nosed and competent Leiutenant. The cheesiness beloved of action films was there but it never became too cheesy to detract from the work (unlike say 2004's King Arthur). Another thing that takes this to the level of military sci-fi.

Basically, brilliant. As clever as the others here say, depending on the level you watch it, but maybe not subtle in the way some like to think. If you want a working definition of the military sci-fi I've been harping on about, this the one i refer you too. I just wish there were more examples like this.
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Pure Science Fiction
Freemheart26 March 2004
Again the same story of: "go to watch a movie after read many reviews telling you how bad it's the movie just to find something incredible" and really it was. I remember wait to see and action film about great space heroes, and even when I found heroes and action, I found a awesome and satirical story about the evolution of the human race and how the path of war falls in a road to hell. More than that, Starship troopers it's that kind of science fiction films with great a big special effects but at the same time a terrific script. A shocking story, more realistic and cruel than many movies about real conflicts, where you can feel the havoc and the pain of any battle. The acting it's good, the soundtrack it's one of the best works of Basil Poleoduris. After this you can read the book of Robert Heinlein founding how far goes Paul Verhoeven in every scene and every character creating. But the best of all is how everything has a reason, there's no word or scene without a meaning, even the promise of the beginning remain intact making clear some disturbing things about some character(s). An movie to watch more than two times.
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It's all about the battle, not the enemy.
Scott-417 December 1998
This movie is about war and militaristic society and its effect on mankind. I agree with Leonard Maltin (the professional movie critic) that everything is directly modeled on WWII battles and WWII movies.

The enemy is irrelevant, and characterizing the enemy is not important. That is why we never get any explanation for why the bugs are attacking us, how their weapons work, etc.

The movie is extremely gory to make the point that "war is hell", and war consists of a lot of "blood and guts". It is also making the point that our tolerance for violence is constantly accelerating. In this future world, it is no big deal to get stabbed through any part of the body, it is even a part of military training. Pain is of no concern, you simply call for "Medic!" and get on down the road.

The movie does not try to be cute or funny. The viewer does not have to listen to the aliens being called all sort of combinations of cuss words by the heroes.

The characters are realistic. They sometimes do the right things for the wrong reasons and vice versa. At times we are not sure who is good and who is self-motivated.

I also liked the shower scene. Just the concept of 19 year-old, physically-fit, men and women casually showering and bunking together is fascinating.

It is obviously one of those movies that you either love or hate.
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Fieracha21 December 1998
While some of the characters and lines in the movie were a little underdeveloped, the overriding story of the evolution of our society into an aggressive, militarist regime cannot be ignored. The action scenes were great, with flawless computer animation (how Titanic beat it for SFX I will never know) and enhancement supported by what can only be described as gore-laden prosthetics. I thought they could have left the love story out, but that's Hollywood.

Very watchable, and a nice change from the Alien movies - this is WAR, not some isolated pit-fight! I love the Alien movies, but Startship troopers just has a lot o' lead, heads, and bodies flying left, right and centre! I thought the Mobile Infantry could have used better weaponry (apparently in the novel that it's based on, the MI has powered armour with assault cannon and missile launchers etc.) to battle such a foe, but I'm just being technical.

If you want a nice beer & pretzels movie to yell and scream at, then this is it.

10 out of 10
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A truly space epic!!!!!!
remadri200031 May 2002
This is by far one of the best space epics I've ever seen. The characters are compelling and interesting, the story truly epic. I know this film has been criticized for its apology of violence, but those who say that, don't understand Verhoeven sense of humor. Dark, very dark. In the same manner displayed in Robocop (Ed Neumeyer was also the writer of that one, if I'm not mistaken). We do feel we are watching a true universe, which by the way is amazing. Look at the starships (massive), the battles (awesome), the I do love this movie!!!! The music by maestro Poledouris is magnificent as always. Just hearing Klendathu's drop makes me shiver!!!! And finally kudos for Paul Verhoeven. Man you are a genius.
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Am I the only one who thinks Verhoeven hates Heinlein?
Roger-5119 January 1999
Warning: Spoilers
Most of the reviews of 'Starship Troopers' on this site seem to fall into one of three groups:

a. Those who hated it, because of the silly 90210 look, mediocre acting, goriness, poor science, or infidelity to Heinlein;

b. Those who say "Give it a break, it's a fun beer & pretzels movie"; and

c. Those who applaud the anti-militarism theme.

I disagree with all of the above. Actually, I somehwat agree with group a., but for different reasons.

Criticising a movie for infidelity to a primary source or technical inaccuracy is like criticising it for being in colour; they are very few mainstream movies not like that.

In this case, however, any dismay by Heinlein fans is deserved. There are huge differences between script and novel, and where a resemblance does exist the movie seems to _mock_ the book. In fact, I became convinced that either Verhoeven or Neumeier strongly dislikes Heinlein - in particular, his social beliefs - and deliberately parodied his work.

'Real' science fiction is about exploring the possibilities of actual (and plausible future) science and technology, and its effects on us and our society. Hollywood's version of 'sci-fi' is often an action movie decked out with bizarre gadgets, blaster guns and slimy-skinned humanoid villains. Sci-fi fans call this 'science fantasy' to emphasize the difference. To a sci-fi fan, 'science fantasy' is derogatory - just as 'sci-fi' is to a 'serious' novelist!! Heinlein was a science fiction author, and both sociological and technological details in his books are important to the plot. The movie is pure science fantasy. Of course it's rare for Hollywood to produce a non-fantasy sci-fi movie, but when seen from the viewpoint of the anti-Heinlein theory, the bad science in this movie does seem needlessly exaggerated. Heinlein was careful with his science, and even included physics calculations in his work; this movie has starships piloted by kids staring out the windshield, and being shot down by the farts of giant bugs. A parody, perhaps?

Forgetting the times in which Heinlein lived, people have sometimes accused him of revealing fascist traits. One idea from 'Starship Troopers' was of extending suffrage only to military veterans. Bizarre extremism to present day readers, but remember the context: Heinlein was writing just after the vast armies of WW2 saved the world from the Nazis, when national service was still nearly universal, and the Cold War was just hotting up. Anyone advocating the abolition of compulsory military service looked suspiciously like a commie fellow traveller. But there was Heinlein (a naval veteran) suggesting a novel compromise path: make military service voluntary, but with suffrage as an inducement - while those who refused service to the nation didn't get to run it. So the "fascist Heinlein" claims are somewhat shallow. Compare "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" - admittedly a much later work, but distinctly liberal/leftist (it's about an ingenious and inclusive popular revolution overthrowing a repressive colonial government). Now we seem to have the movie 'Starship Troopers' taking the "Heinlein was a closet fascist" theme and ramming it down our throats. The Mobile Infantry are dressed in SS-like uniforms instead of power armour, the Terran government uses Nazi propaganda techniques, and an intelligence officer is dressed as a Gestapo agent. It's so blunt no-one could miss it - but many did. When some viewers asked about the strangely fascist newsreels, we were told it was a parody of WW2 Nazi newsreels. Huh? Why parody 1940's Nazi newsreels in a movie set in the future? Unless it was a comment on the social ideas being parodied at the same time...

I'm surprised the 'beer & pretzels' crowd didn't notice the blatant anti-violence, anti-military 'messages'. It almost seems as if the makers are offering their eye-candy science fantasy (and sex) as a lure to get the 'beer & pretzels' types to watch their ‘messages'. If so it is rather, erm, ironic that a movie parodying Nazi propaganda techniques should employ slightly subtler but essentially similar methods itself...

Finally, a couple of particular gripes: Some people have lauded the special effects. I believe that when it was first released, this movie had the greatest number of synthetic images realistically interacting with human actors. Bravo for that. However the point of special effects is not to rack up statistics, it is to create astonishing images not otherwise possible to film. In this respect, 'Starship Troopers' was ok but not anything special. Compare the pedestrian starship combat to the breathtaking starship battles in 'Babylon 5'. Or look at the scene of crewmen on the exterior of a spaceship hull in 'Star Trek: First Contact' - as the 'camera' slowly panned away and revealed the massive grandeur of the scene, it really evoked a feeling of hanging by your bootstraps above an infinite void. _That_ was an inspired effect. Anything like that in 'Starship Troopers'? Nah.

Some people were also impressed by the battle scenes. WHAT?!?! You get more convincing battles in the average cowboys-and-indians flick. Case in point: 90 zillion bugs, packed into a broad canyon, are swarming toward you. You have tactical nuclear rockets, and a radio link to a star fleet. So you pull out your assault rifle and try to shoot them one at a time!

Overall, I neither loved nor hated this movie. I'm not sorry I went, but I won't see it again. My strongest impression is a mild annoyance that Verhoeven seems to have thought he could mess with a whole bunch of heads, and mostly they didn't even notice him doing it.
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An Incredibly Good Film?
GeeMan8 August 1998
Warning: Spoilers
This is either a really good, surprisingly intelligent satire of sci-fi and war films in general (particularly the WWII era recruitment films that Hollywood cranked out like they were actually a part of the War Department) or an incredibly vapid film that should only be watched for it's glitzy, flash-bang qualities. I choose to believe the former, otherwise I can't justify watching it as many times as I have, and I'm not nearly as smart as I think I am.... ST is only anecdotally related to Heinlien's novel, a choice made for various reasons, probably linked to the possibility of a sequel. Verhoeven raided the casts of various soap operas for his characters, a decision that exemplifies the portrayal of killing the enemy as a glamorous occupation in most war films, and the dialogue is filled with ironic machismo of the kind that can only be deeply satirical. (I hope.) FX are fantastic as are the one-liners. Don't watch this film and Arachnaphobia in the same 24 hour period or you'll spend a month's salary on bugspray. P.S. The proximity of this film to the Ra-Ra Homecoming of American troops from the Gulf War should also not be ignored....
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A high-tech splatterfest disguised as a heavy-handed satire that actively perverts the novel it purports to adapt.
johnathompson631012 January 2004
Verhoeven disguises this queasy ode to gore as an anti-military cautionary tale. It's kind of like watching a prude drooling over pornography while protesting to the world how evil it is.

The combat scenes are laughable. The soldiers have the tactical acumen of a heard of sheep with assault rifles. The movie doesn't just ignore significant aspects of the book, it goes out of its way to deliberately distort them. A single example (one of many). The protagonist of the novel, Johnny Rico, was a Filipino. Verhoeven casts stereotypically Aryan Casper Van Dien as Johnny. Is this a cynical distortion of the book to `prove' that the author wasn't `honoring diversity?' Or is it a cynical marketing ploy to appeal to a particular demographic? Or didn't Verhoeven care?

The movie's supporters seem to fall into three main categories. There are those who enjoyed watching people being torn limb-from-limb while thinking `Gee, what a great science fiction action movie!' There are those who justified watching people being torn limb-from-limb because they were thinking `Gee, what a clever satire of a militaristic society!' And there are those in the first category who apparently had to see the movie more than once to move to the second category. This is amazing to me since I thought the satire was about as subtle as a brick through a window.
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The smartest dumb movie ever.
theodman2 December 2009
You can watch this film in three ways I think, one, is with a bag of popcorn, a few beers and some friends, and just try to enjoy the ride. Two, is with your thinking cap on, and to really try to take in all the subtle, and not so subtle satire, and anti-propaganda that this film offers. Three, is a mix of the above, and it's the way I think a lot of people have started to watch this movie, at least that is the case for me.

When I first saw this movie in the theatre, I loved the movie for really simple reasons(not bad, but simple) it was visually stunning for it's time, it had funny, over the top characters that you just can't help but to love, and a cast of really easy on the eye actors.

Then I bought the DVD, and started to notice all the social commentary that I kinda missed the first time around, and now I hold this film as one of my all-time favorites, maybe even top 5.

I see a lot of difference in opinion on these boards, and I can't help but to think that the people that do not like this movie, have not moved away from the first example I wrote on how to watch this film, and simply do not like sci-fi films, and don't want to give credibility to the genre.

For people who DO like sci-fi, and are open to new takes on the sci-fi genre, this movie is a godsend. It's a treat for the eyes, ears, and brain, and just one of the most entertaining movies I've ever had the privilege to see. If you haven't seen it, I envy you, cause you're in for a real treat.

If I had rated this movie back when it came out, I would have given it a seven, maybe an eight, but now, after so many years, and views, I have come to the conclusion that this movie deserves a top score, ten out of ten from Sweden.
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Galactically Bad
WarHawkeye29 October 2005
Bad on every level I can think. Bad war film, bad action film and far worse than stupid political commentary.

If this were simply a bad film, that would be fine, but the fact that it is based on a classic science fiction novel makes it a crying shame. I remember how excited fans of the book were that it was finally being made into a film, and how disappointed they still are that Verhoven did it.

I'm not surprised people will try to give the film credibility by talking about how "complex" it is. Um ... no. It's not, really. It doesn't come across as having a bad script and bad acting and a morally bankrupt point of view because it's making a statement, it comes across that way because has a bad script it's truly badly directed and yeah, most of the acting isn't great. On the other hand, the script's subtle-as-a-jackhammer political agenda and wooden dialogue would have been hard to rise above even if the director did have some sort of vision that was worth sharing. Why bother using Heinlein's book if you have so little respect for it? Why ruin the film adaptation of a book for your own purposes? How arrogant, self-serving and irresponsible is that? The combat sequences make no sense whatsoever, with the hi-tech Space Marines charging the Bugs in a way that would seem more appropriate in "Braveheart" being especially bad.

I can't remember being more disappointed by a film, ever. You won't just want your money back; you'll be regretting losing those two hours of your life.
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The more you watch it, the more you'll like it...
Xophianic2 February 2000
This is probably the dumbest movie I've ever enjoyed. This movie reminds me of The Fifth Element in two ways. One, it's a good movie that you may not like when you first watch it. And two, the movie is better if not taken seriously.

First, let me get the bad things out of the way. The biggest thing is that the acting was really bad. Casper Van Dien (Rico) is probably the worst actor in the entire picture. The plot itself is a little predictable and the quick way in which they are resolved is a little corny. (I also think that the Drill Sargent Zims becoming a private was a useless plotpoint, one you probably won't even catch.)

But this movie is still very funny. It is a little bloody, but still enjoyable. The enemy "bugs" are very cool, and the battles scenes in the movie are some of the greatest futuristic battles I've seen. Most of the characters, although badly acted, are still pretty cool. (Especially the ones who survive for a longer time than the others)

I'd say go out and rent it when you're in the mood to have some fun. If you're looking for a serious but entertaining sci-fi movie, go see Star Wars or the Matrix instead.
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bmaranta31 March 2001
Hated it. Really, really hated it. Probably because it was purported to be the movie version of a novel I really enjoyed. Starship Troopers is one of my favourite novels by my all-time favourite Author, Robert A. Heinlein. This movie has only a passing resemblance to it. The Power Armour suits that were central to the book are missing in the movie because, AFAIK "we couldn't make it look right." The bugs in the movie are basically mindless insects, while in the book they are an advanced, intelligent, technological race that uses space ships, weapons and explosives. Why the difference? Because Verhoven "couldn't imagine a bug with a gun." Did he even read the book? If you liked the book, don't bother with the movie. If you haven't read the book, please do so; find out what you've missed, what this movie *could* have been.
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unxmully8 May 2007
Truly, truly, truly awful. An absolute waste of time and money which could have been better spent doing anything else rather than watching this apology for a film.

Apart from the fact that it's an awful adaptation of the storyline of one of the best SF novels ever written, it's shallow, missing all of the depth of the novel and the characters were all far too easy to hate. By the end of the film I wanted the bugs to win.

When I think of what this story could have been if someone had put in the kind of effort that Peter Jackson put into the Rings trilogy or King Kong, it annoys me even more.

I've tried hard to think of any redeeming features and I can't. The only reason I gave it a score of 1 is because 0 isn't an option.

And lastly, if anyone decides to do the same with Glory Road or The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, please, please, please don't.
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They sucked our brains out....and it was good.
SamiHussain21 February 2005
Perhaps nine out of ten of you will recoil in disgust even at the name of the movie, before you've even cracked open its ectoplasmic shell and gorged on the space goo inside...shame on you. Whilst the cast is a bizarre troupe of shambolic non-actors, (save for Ironside), and whilst the story seems to have rolled out of the mind of a toddler playing Spaceships and Aliens, Starship Troopers is perhaps one of the most engaging, outrageously entertaining pieces of cinematic history I have come across. Screenplaywright Neumeier takes Heinlein's somewhat obscure and simplistic model of "alien-threat-mankind-doomed-war-ensues" and moulds it into a deeply, deeply dark comedy. Credit where credit is due, Verhoeven has captured and then gifted us with shockingly surreal scenes that stun and catch us off guard. It is not often one can boast a film that sees a soldier-cum-reporter describing mid-battle the "ugly, bug planet" only to get ripped in half by a ten foot arachnid whilst his cameraman continues capturing every gory second. The boot camp process is dealt with an unnervingly brutal efficiency, without losing an ounce of the blackly comic introduction to the later, and equally blunt settings. The defence of the Fort is a brilliantly defiant yet hopeless stand, and the settings of an alien planet appealing to both that hung-ho, Chuck Norris-esquire persona, and the childhood nightmare, Tim Burton-esquire fear that run though us all. The gore and violence intertwines perfectly with a comic love-square, in a surreal tribute to man's competition against one another. Such violence is bewildering yet strangely enchanting, and I found myself drawn into the film as a result. Akin to the hopelessly adolescent antics of the Japanese class in the Battle Royale series, Starship Troopers strength lies within its availability to be one of the most startlingly blunt films ever. It doesn't demand a deep concentration in order to engage with it, but it commands an interest that leaves you feeling bizarrely battered, but nonetheless entertained. Who can resist immortal lines such as "They sucked his brains out!", "Fire 'em up...give 'em all you've got!" and Rico's bitter scream of "DIZZY LOOK OUT!" as an arachnid forklifts her? I challenge you to sit down, kick off those dancing shoes, and enjoy a film made for one purpose.
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Potential never realized
snovack3 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This film had fantastic potential. Anybody can tell you that this was based on a book written by Robert Heinlein. In truth, however, all Verhoeven got right was that the main character was named Juan "Johnnie" Rico, and the enemy was the Bugs. To give this more context, let me add that the book was originally published in 1959. Keep this in mind. The story was written before Vietnam, only six years after the Korean Conflict had drawn to a close...only four years after the publishing of "The Return of the King". Remember that when you read all the commentary here about how this movie is a "Social Commentary". That is all Verhoeven, not Heinlien. According to the DVD commentary, Paul Verhoeven never finished reading the novel, claiming he read through the first few chapters and became both 'bored and depressed', the movie's message is "War makes fascists of us all", and that he sees the movie as a satire of American militarism. Great background research there Paul... The overall theme of the book is that social responsibility requires individual sacrifice. It is the only science fiction novel on the reading list at three of the four United States military academies. The novel was filled with life lessons and examples of the importance of civic duty. More importantly though, it had a REALLY cool element that would have translated very well on film. POWER ARMOR!!!! The book spends loads of time explaining the power armor that made the "infantry" the "Mobile Infantry". Soldiers didn't ride down in boats, they were shot from tubes in capsules (hence the term "cap trooper"), and their suits looked like a kind of giant mechanical gorilla. Rather than utilize one of the best ideas in the history of science-fiction warfare, Verhoven decided to create "Space 90210" and add in his own sophomoric commentary on soldiering and society. Pretty boys and girls in shower scenes might bring in the high-school money, but it certainly doesn't make a good movie. If you enjoyed this, I strongly recommend that you read the book. You'll know immediately why those of us who did were very disappointed. Fantastic potential, never even close to becoming realized.
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Bad movie
sichcossack5429 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Where to start? The title, if anyone has ever read the book Starship Troopers they will understand that the title of this movie was used for nothing but marketing purposes, the book and the movie have almost nothing in common with each other.

The acting is horrible, Dawsone's Creek has better actors then this movie. The movie is supposed to be a parady of a violent society and does a very poor and obvious job of sending this message. The plot line is somewhat pridictable and doesn't have any great twists or turns in it.

The movie is also just plain stupid, the soldiers are armed with assault rifles and travel on foot while battling giant insects, they run in a mob and then just stand up in a line, completely exposed, and start fireing into the ranks of insects, after a while of this some random soldier yells retreat and the order is followed, the soldiers run away in the same mob fashion. Lets think about this, if you are battling giant insects wouldn't a tank be better then a foot soldier? Their is no artillery, no armour, no heavy weapons, no air support, the soldiers simply run around as one big mob. A child playing Command and Conquer on his PC knows more about military tactics then the person who wrote this script.

I give this movie a 1 because it has a horrible plot, horrible actors and is a poorly written film. If you like action movies and don't care much for the details then this is an appropriate movie, while it lacks many things their is no shortage of bloody and action packed combat.
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Leni Riefenstahl plus 21st century CGI.
rctowns2 October 2010
Verhoeven accomplished exactly what he set out to do; I deducted 1 point because the satire was just a little too subtle. Not his fault, really; he simply overestimated his audience's intelligence.

American audiences have been ever more heavily propagandized in the 13 years since this film was released. With the rise of Faux News and their ceaseless pandering to the lowest common denominator, the average American is incapable of discerning the true nature of this film.

It's not 'satire' - it's a cautionary portrayal of what happens to a culture that has lost its way and has been force-fed fear for half a generation. With stunning precision, it anticipated the Cheney/Rumsfeld/Bush agenda to use fear to collapse the American middle-class and create generations of cannon-fodder for the new corporate state.

Look at any of Leni Riefenstahl's Nazi propaganda films. Compare this to the sub-plot of 'Inglourious Basterds'. Verhoeven and Neumeier's deliberate revisioning of Heinlein's novel is pitch-perfect.
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misunderstood masterpiece??
Aronnax29 May 2000
Well, maybe not masterpiece. But Starship Troopers is one of those great films that grows on you the more you see it.

Verhoeven has said his life was changed by witnessing the violence of WWII up close and personal. On the surface Starship Troopers is an homage to those gung-ho WWII (propaganda) movies, but Verhoeven shows what those movies NEVER showed: the horrifying, grisly reality of war. The casting emphasizes his point: he takes barbie and ken doll actors, sets them up for a fun adventure fighting bugs, then literally rips their arms and heads off! The only problem is the characters are still gung-ho barbie and ken dolls at the end, with some well placed smudges and bruises. Had they been burned out human wrecks I think people would have gotten what Verhoeven was going for. But maybe that would have been too much.

I also think this was misunderstood because the 'heroes' are, in a sense, the bad guys! A reporter makes a comment half way through the film that the bugs were harmless until humans invaded their territory. The opening TV news show even says that the conflict started when Mormons opened a mission on the bug planet (this is something I missed first time around.) But again, the relatively lame ending soft pedals this theme, so by the time Doogie Houser shows up wearing an SS trenchcoat, torturing the poor Brain Bug, people tend to laugh and dismiss the deeper meaning.

Starship Troopers also has some of the best FX ever! The bugs are flawless. Notice how the dead humans resemble squased bugs! The 'Alamo' sequence is breathtaking, especially on the big screen. Same with the big battle scene, with hundreds of orbiting troopships discharging hundreds of landing ships, while plasma blobs shoot up from the planet. We even follow one of the landing ships to the ground (while others get blasted with plasma), then watch the soldiers run out and over to a cliff, where huge Tanker(?) bugs literally fart out the plasma blobs that are destroying the orbiting troop ships. It's an mazing sequence. The music score is also great.

I know a lot of people who hated this film when it first came out. But I think it's because they took it at face value. This is a film that really comes together on second viewing. If only the ending weren't such a thematic cop out...
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an unmitigated pile of crap
Raoul-1631 May 2000
As soon as I remember who it was that told me this movie wasn't actually as bad as it looked in the trailers, I'm going to wring his or her neck. I wasted nearly an hour of my life watching the 2nd half of this film last night, and I'm still retching. This was truly putrid filmmaking at its worst. The "big payoff," as has been more than adequately noted in these reviews, is the fact that this movie is actually a satire and that humans can be the bad guys. Fine, but so what? I need the director of "Showgirls" to tell me that? Hey, folks--here's a little observation: the category of "satire" does not raise a work of art above criticism. Just because it's not supposed to be "good" in any straight/conventional sense doesn't mean it is absolved of the responsibility of being a good satire. A brief overview of any of the spate of horrible Zucker Brothers-clone movies churned out over the last decade (or even some of their own later films, for that matter) should prove conclusively that is is very possible to make a bad satire, and this is an awful one. It is neither funny nor profound, and I would even argue that this is that worst of possible satires--a completely insincere one which pretends to mock the subject matter it in fact sensationalistically exploits for sales and cheap shock. I will admit that I liked "Robocop" and even "Total Recall," but Verhoeven's direction is getting lazier, sloppier, and more contemptful of his audience with every film, to the point where he now clearly no longer cares at all whether he is insulting that audience's intelligence or not. This film is utterly pointless, thin, devious, corrupt, banal, and cynical--in the worst sense. If I could have given it a zero, I would have, but a one will have to do as an expression of my loathing for this movie.
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