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Starship Trooper

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Starship Trooper

Starring: Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Rated: R
RunTime: 129 Minutes
Release Date: November 1997
Genres: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, War, Action

*Also starring: Denise Richards, Jake Busey, Neil Patrick Harris, Clancy Brown, Seth Gilliam, Patrick Muldoon, Michael Ironside, Rue McClanahan

Review by Walter Frith
3 stars out of 4

To truly enjoy 'Starship Troopers', you have to leave all thought of plotting and character development at the door. You also have to remember that with a budget of 100 million dollars, there isn't a lot of money left to hire big name stars. The real stars of this movie are the special effects which rank as both ground breaking and mind numbing. The entire film is a constant barrage of extreme violence and frightening pops of large alien insects which devour humans by breaking apart their bodies and the audience sees it all in full motion but the editing is appropriately handled through fast cutting and you have very little time to think about what you've just seen before the next scenario begins.

Director Paul Verhoeven ('RoboCop', 'Total Recall', 'Basic Instinct') formulates his movie in his typical visual manner when dealing with science fiction which relies heavily on futuristic shock value in a world he creates based on academic predictions of things to come. His vision of the future is often bleak like it was in 'RoboCop' but when sticking to a present day Earthly film like 'Basic Instinct', Verhoeven exploits sex as much as he does violence in his other films. Some would accuse him of being excessive in his display of these elements but all directors can't be subtle. While I've never found any statement in his films, I have generally been entertained and knew what to expect coming in to this one.

A group of fresh faced college graduates decide to enlist in the futuristic military based on Earth but the technology in the future allows them to explore regions of the universe presently unthinkable. There is a planet sending meteors to Earth which contain giant insect creatures which kill Earthlings by the millions and the new recruits look at their enlistment as more of an adventure rather than as an entrance way to Hell.

The cast is headed by Casper Van Dien who plays Johnny Rico, a grunt private who works his way up the military ranks as the film progresses. His fellow colleagues are Dina Meyer and Jake Busey and the girl he always loved (Denise Richards) has joined a different branch of the military and they rarely see each other. Another colleague (Neil Patrick Harris) has joined military intelligence and is key to the film's resolution. The military officers in the film (Michael Ironside and Clancy Brown) are casted appropriately and are totally believable.

The technical aspects of 'Starship Troopers are of the highest calibre and I predict Academy Awards and possible wins for the special effects and thunderous soundtrack which puts you into the action as if you're on screen with everyone else in the film. This upscale production has breathed continuing life into the science fiction genre and while Hollywood technology is better than ever and movie screenplays are worse than ever, 'Starship Troopers' demonstrates that the former can be a bonus to a movie going experience.

Copyright 1997 Walter Frith

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