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STARSHIP TROOPERS 3: MARAUDER (2008)

 



Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (2008)
 

Actors: Casper Van Dien, Jolene Blalock, Marnette Patterson, Cokey Falkow, Boris Kodjoe
Director:
Edward Neumeier
Format:
AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Language:
English
Subtitles:
English, French, Spanish
Region:
1 (US and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85:1
Number of discs:
1
Studio:
Sony Pictures
DVD Release Date:
August 5, 2008
Run Time:
105 minutes
 

Movie:
Disc:

 

The previous 2004 sequel to Starship Troopers was a small-scale intimate standalone horror movie set within the same fictional universe as Paul Verhoeven's largely misunderstood 1997 magnum opus.

This direct-to-DVD release by first-time director Ed Nieumeier (he wrote the original Starship Troopers as well as Robocop) is its direct opposite.

It is a direct sequel to the original film and even though it is set ten years later it does in fact features some of the characters (Casper van Dien returns as Johnny Rico, the original's chief protagonist) from the 1997 film. Starship Troopers 3 is also much more ambitious, featuring a sprawling story that often across as more of a remake of the Verhoeven film than a sequel at times.

However, Starship Troopers 3's biggest problem is that its ambition often outstrips its low budget. The movie is often let down by cheap special effects, especially with the celebrated jump suits inspired by Heinlein's original 1959 novel featured towards the end of the movie. (The jump suits were omitted from the Verhoeven film chiefly to save on costs, but also because it was felt that they were too similar to the mechas often seen in Japanese anime shows. Here they make for the weakest CGI sequences in the entire movie.)

Once again fans of Heinlein's original novel would disapprove of the end results. Nothing makes it intact from Heinlein's book except for the famous line about wanting to live forever, the name of a character and the concept of the jump suits itself. Like Verhoeven, writer/director Nieumeier refuses to take the material at hand seriously, taking not only cheap pot shots at Heinlein's fascist wet dream about a society in which only those who have done military service enjoy full citizenship and rights, but also drawing parallels between this fictional universe and America's wars in both Vietnam and Iraq.

The tone is again that of straight-faced camp and over-the-top humor. It is like the first movie a war movie, but with the Nazis as the heroes this time round. The plot involves all kinds of skullduggery at the upper echelons of the human Federation which is waging a seemingly endless war against the Bugs, a race of low-tech aliens who only seems unintelligent but aren't really. Nieumeier makes all kinds of points about how the media manipulates the truth and religion is used to mobilize the masses. Only problem is that an air of over familiarity hangs over the proceedings. After all, we have already seen this sort of thing done in the first film.

THE DISC: The audio commentaries and extra features are of limited interest and mainly of a self-congratulatory nature. Sure, the film accomplished a lot with its limited budget, but seldom do the film-makers supply any examples of the sort of tricks they used to save on the budget.

WORTH IT? Make no mistake though: Starship Troopers 3 does OK with its no doubt limited resources at hand. (Like recent direct-to-DVD sequels such as Scorpion King 2 it was filmed in South Africa to make use of the beneficial South African rand / US dollar exchange rate to save on production costs.) Effects and sets are actually nifty at times, but tellingly not as good as the 1997 film - even though it is now ten years later. Then again, the original was made for a much much bigger budget and considering that the movie ultimately flopped at the box office fans should actually be thankful for any sequels of any sort. Also, the humor is always welcome.

RECOMMENDATION: Some fans may whine and bitch about the cheapness of it all, but we found it all rather watchable and entertaining in a low-rent way even though the film isn't as good as it thinks it is. Check it out if you've liked the original film. As far as direct-to-DVD fare goes you can do a whole lot worse.


 



 

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