More computer-generated adventures with Rico and his Roughnecks. When Rico, Flores, Higgins and the others land on a desert planet they receive a suspiciously hospitable reception from the Skinnies and wonder if it might be a trap. Sure enough, the troopers are soon over-run by gigantic killer bugs and have to fight for their lives once again.
Inspired by Robert Heinlein's pulp classic
and executive-produced by Paul Verhoeven, who made the big-screen version
, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles
is cutting-edge TV animation that's more for grown-ups than kids. The neat equipment, combat suits and weapons are as deadly as they are cool, and even though the extreme gore and violence of the movie has been toned down, the endless threat from all manner of nasty bugs is still pretty terrifying. Five roughly 20-minute episodes are spliced together into a movie-length feature, which makes for a satisfyingly lengthy story arc instead of the more usual self-contained individual episodes. Like all good war stories, at its heart Roughnecks
celebrates that Band of Brothers
-style bonding in extreme circumstances, which we viewers can only experience vicariously.
On the DVD: Roughnecks, Volume 4: The Tophet Campaign finds Rico, Flores and co on the desert planet Tophet, where they team up with the humanoid Skinnies to fight massive crawler bugs--though all is not as it seems. The disc has a good 4:3 picture, although it's better to watch with the lights off to see all the detail in the moody (i.e., "dark") CG animation. The 5.1 sound shows off explosions and gunfire, but also the almost incessant techno soundtrack. There's a commentary from cast and crew members, a photo gallery of the human actors, filmographies and a trailer. --Mark Walker