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Set in a fascistic future where kids must do military service to qualify as citizens, own property or even have babies, the film's dark Vietnam and Nazi-era parallels are all the more disturbing given its deceptively sunny Beverly Hills 90210 teenage cast (though scenery-chewing veteran Michael Ironside steals the movie as tough-talking Lt Rasczak). The CGI arachnids are among the most convincing and dangerous-looking creatures ever seen on screen, and with the movie clocking up the highest number of blanks ever fired on a film set, it's also pretty loud! Verhoeven went on to be Executive Producer of the Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles animated TV series a couple of years later.
On the DVD: Starship Troopers in this DVD incarnation can now be played continuously on one side of the disc (the original Region 2 release version was that crime against the DVD format, a "flipper"). You'll also feel really spoiled by the extras here: five deleted scenes (approximately six minutes) pad out Carmen's love triangle problems. There are impressive screen tests for Denise Richards and Casper Van Dien (three-and-a-half minutes). An eight-minute featurette zips by with key interviews and fact flinging. And a real treat is three scene developments with layers of FX work explained by Verhoeven. But what makes this DVD essential is the director's enthusiastic commentary alongside screenwriter Ed Neumeier: dissing astrology, making a stand for feminist issues, saying how he went nude to placate the actors for their shower scene, and drooling with praise for his FX team, Verhoeven makes a fascinating statement that "war makes fascists of us all". After a studio disclaimer, and beginning with his reaction to the film's critique in Time Magazine, this is no-holds-barred fun. --Paul Tonks