This movie is one of the present crop of new movies made especially for the `Straight-to-DVD and Blue Ray' market, the studios no doubt having realized they can by-pass the millions they would have to spend when launching a picture in cinemas. It used to be the case that a movie would be released straight to video or DVD only if it was deemed to be of a quality not satisfactory to be released in theatres. But these days, with roughly 7 years of revenue and research statistics available, studios are increasingly finding that the medium of DVD can often reap far higher financial rewards than the cinemas, and are therefore commissioning movies to be made especially for that medium, often with fairly creditable results. The DVD market is also more accessible to the consumer; it being far easier to pop down to your local HMV than it is to hike to the ends of earth to find a screening of the latest obscure little film you wish to see!
Ed Neumeier, the screenwriter behind Robocop and the first Starship Troopers movie makes his directorial debut with this third installment in the `Grunts Vs Bugs' science fiction war satire. The war between humanity and the relentless arachnids has raged for years, and the Earth government, increasingly reliant on the continuation of the conflict, have opened up new fronts in the war across several star systems, and stepped up the propaganda campaign to even more extreme levels. Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien), now a colonel, returns to the fold as the lead character in this picture after being absent from the last movie. The action begins on the dusty industrial planet Roko San with Rico and his hapless grunts defending an outpost populated by groups of resentful farmers and agricultural workers. Its business as usual on the colony as bugs swarm everywhere, while the outpost receives a visit from acclaimed Sky Marshall Omar Anoke (Stephen Hogan) accompanied by a former friend of Rico's Dix Hauser (Boris Kodjoe), and what might possibly be an old flame Captain Lola Beck (Jolene Blalock - the Vulcan from TV's Star Trek Enterprise). After the initial skirmish at the colony during which Rico has to stand up against not only the bugs, but the bureaucratic stupidity of the Earth government, the visiting party reboard their shuttle and begin to head home before being attacked mid-flight and forced to crash land on a remote desert world. The survivors are left with the unenviable task of trekking across the bug infested planet, with their Sky Marshall behaving increasingly erratic and creepily religious as times goes on. Rico, after a mock-execution trial on charges of sedition, is ordered to proceed to said planet and recover the survivors.
Put away your skepticism, this is great fun! The production, on an obviously limited budget has done a great job. Ed Neumeier has put in significant thought to developing an intelligent, thoughtful and enjoyably satirical script - the propaganda news reports are a hoot! The action too is well-staged, the special effects and set design all looking suitably polished and futuristic - resembling a big budget version of Babylon 5. The director also happily shoe-horns in a moment of gratuitous nudity, as a team of new recruits is introduced to some new military combat technology, and it all seems wonderfully commonplace!
Fans of David Twohy's Pitch Black may find something to complain about; as some of the scenery and landscapes of the desert planet do resemble that movie's setting, but this is only a small criticism. From watching the standard `making-of' featurettes included on the DVD, you can tell that everyone working on the production had a great time. All the principals; from the director and the cast and crew are over-flowing with enthusiasm for the project, and obviously very keen for the franchise to continue. Rumour has it that Neumeier and Van Dien are working on either another Starship Troopers DVD/Blue Ray movie or a possible TV series.
Any fan of pulp sci-fi B-movies should immediately add Starship Troopers 3: Marauder to their DVD collection. "See you on the Bounce, Trooper"!!