Starship Troopers is a 1997 military sci-fi action film written by Edward Neumeier, but don't let the age put you off, the special effects are still incredible. The box set contains the original motion picture and the first 2 direct to video franchises in a specially designed gatefold box which reduces storage.
Starship Troopers 1 From the drumbeat and fanfare of the opening army recruitment advert, you know this is a gung ho war movie in the best Boys Own tradition. Over-the-top acting, cheesy lines, hunky guys and beautiful babes all add up to a superb 'B' Movie style escapade, but the sound, filming and directing aim high. Basically the movie follows a handful of graduates as Humanity and the 'Bugs' [giant spider like aliens] go to war against one another. Denise Richards is great as the teasing, self centred, wannabe career pilot and Casper Van Dien's Rico is a traditional American jock at the dumb end of the military yardstick. Violence is everywhere and the futuristic society is one that favours brute force. Almost the whole of the film relies on violence either High School football to full on war -it's all the same to the characters. The extras are 2 screen tests, 2 commentaries featurette, sneak peak and 5 deleted scenes. Plenty of romance, some nudity, action by the bucketful, tongue-in-cheek humour and the action scenes in the last half are excellent making this easily a ***** movie not to be missed.
Troopers 2 `hero of the federation' is not a natural sequel, being filmed on 7% of the original movies budget and went straight to DVD, so it's not surprising its not up to the standard of the original. Although the reviews pan it, I actually liked it -a lot. Essentially it starts with an upbeat add like the first [but budget cuts mean the 'interactive' pointer is missing form the screenshots] but then cuts to a squad completely surrounded by bugs. When their evac ship fails to arrive, they decide that 4 will stay and hold the bugs off while the others head for a nearby abandoned outpost. The outpost is a beat up tower and they soon get the power and defences up and all the action takes place in this enclosed area, adding to the tension and claustrophobia. The real story however is that a few more stragglers and the vanguard team of 4 show up, but things within the tower are not quite right. What follows is a general anti war and survival tale as the survivors end up holding off the bugs outside and the dangers within. If you like claustrophobic films like Hunger, the Descent or the standard zombie survivors locked in a house type film then this will generally appeal and gets a **** rating, but don't expect lavish outdoor scenes, but the double standards of many characters are great. Gory violence throughout and 1 scene of nudity.
Troopers 3 starts with the standard add which sets the tone for a film that almost returns to the original style. In the outer colonies, the Military Assistance Command base on Roko San is besieged by the bugs. Enter the Sky marshall -the Federation leader and Pop Star. Yep the humour is bizarre and is rife with tongue in cheek gags but avoids camp silliness yet keeps the over the top humour. Anyway, the base is overrun and similar to ST2 the film follows a small band of survivors as they try to make their way across another planet they've landed on. The fight scenes at the beginning and the end are on a par with ST1 but the middle is a slower pace as you try to understand what's going on in the Sky Marshalls head. Throw a military coup into the mix and you've more or less got the plot.
Casper Van Dien returns as the excellent Johnny Rico. Jolene Blalock seems to enjoy parodying Star trek and Marnette Patterson plays the ditzy blonde to perfection. Extras are nothing special; 5 documentary or commentary types things, a music video and 5 trailers. It's a good film with a more varied story than ST2 but still not as good as the first. Definitely a **** rating.
If its mindless action with tongue in cheek humour you want, then this box set is probably for you. It's not serious, avoids outright campness, yet entertains and remember, `the Federation needs yes men like YOU!.'
OK so whilst the original Starship Troopers certainly took more than a few liberties with Heinlein's classic novel, it still conveyed a very powerful and enduring image. Truly awe-inspiring special effects, human interest - love rivalry, jealousy and courage, all interlaced with a hefty dollop of dark twisted ironic humour made this a hugely enjoyable spectacularly epic experience. The Blu-Ray transfer is superb - you can make out every pore on Casper Van Dien's face and every hair in Denise Richards' ample eyebrows. Surround sound is also exceptional - you'll often hear those bugs scuttling around behind you. Extras include a genuinely interesting commentary and some fascinating deleted scenes (albeit sadly only in standard definition). For me the movie works best at stirring dissonant emotions amongst the viewer. We are supposed to be rooting for the humans aren't we? And yet the Federation is brutally totalitarian, with its leaders being something like Mau/Hitler/Stalin/Pol Pot all rolled into one. This seeming incongruity along with the overriding message throughout that social responsibility entails individual sacrifice is pretty much in keeping with Robert Heinlein's original sci-fi novel but you may well be cheering on the bugs by the end! This is a film that stands up to repeated viewings and I love it - 10/10!
Then, with a budget slashed to the bone, what could poor Phil Tippett do to satisfy the punters demanding a second installment? The answer is to do his very best. If the original was similar in respect to the zap-em-away-with-machine-guns action of Aliens, Starship Troopers 2 is more of a conventional horror movie in similar vein to the gothic claustrophobia of the original Alien movie. I found something truly compelling in the few terrified human survivors holed up in this abandoned tower, surrounded by countless thousands of bugs. The tension builds with desperate attempts to secure the entrance and get the comms online. The perimeter forcefield (hat tip to Forbidden Planet?) was a nice touch too, subtly highlighting the isolation of our heroes. Without giving any spoilers, the main theme of this new form of bug attack is a very interesting one (if not 100% original) and provides a suitable framework for Tippett to give us some real gross-out gore. Unfortunately, the Blu-ray transfer is rather mediocre though, with plenty of grain evident. This is exacerbated by much of the action occurring in dimly lit conditions. Still it's watchable and not as bad as some critics make out. 6/10.
Onto the third helping, dubbed Marauders. The first thing you'll notice is that its look and feel is far closer to the first movie than the second (hurray!). Great to have Casper Van Dien back as the iconic Johnny Rico and, spookily, not looking a day older (has he got a holographic picture of himself looking old and gnarly up in his attic somewhere?). No-one can impart so much into the one word OUTSTANDING as Casper! The eye-candy for us blokes is mainly courtesy of the stunningly beautiful Marnette Patterson as the naive but gutsy Holly Little, French actress Cécile Breccia as the rather intense lieutenant Link Manion (who gets the movie's corniest line - "I like my bugs fried in the morning") and, of course, that woman from Enterprise with the funny lips. Onto the plot; humans suffer an ignoble defeat, leaving a handful of survivors, including one VIP, forced to yomp across a desert planet crawling with bugs. Rico leads a crack team equipped with the latest technology - the Marauder (think Battletech), in a rescue attempt. Doesn't sound like much does it? But that's not the point. The fairly flimsy plot serves admirably as a frame on which to hang some stunning action scenarios and to develop a bitter, cynical political ethos. From the opening battle on frontier planet Roku San, to the drama on the incongruously beautiful desertscape of OM-1, the movie provides entertaining adrenaline-filled thrills for most of the time. Then there are the myriad sub-plots - the conflicting emotions between friendship and duty displayed by General Dix, the subversion of the Sky Marshall, the ruthless ambition of Admiral Phid and, of course, the cynical manipulation of religion. The latter may upset those of a particularly devout persuasion, but the touching faith and stoicism of Holly Little engineers a kind of victory in the end. Blu-ray presentation is pretty good, with the strangely lit scenes on the desert planet looking exceptional and surround sound rivalling the original film in its impact. Overall, not quite the scope or enjoyment factor of the original, but still a very decent effort. 7.5/10
So, whilst the Starship Troopers 2 Blu-ray transfer in this box set looks little better than DVD quality, there is a definite step up in audio and video quality for the first and third films when compared with the DVD versions. All three are presented in full-screen 16:9 ratio, which looks fantastic on a large-screen TV. You're getting one great film, one pretty good film and one so-so film for your hard-earned (which is quite similar to how I felt about both the Matrix and Robocop trilogies!). It's all nicely packaged in a gate-fold box, with three Federation Propaganda postcards bundled for good measure. Shop around and you can find this Blu-ray set at a very decent price. Definitely worth a look for action/sci-fi fans.
PS. my comment about this being great value referred to when it was being offered at £15.99.
Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein is one of the masterpieces of science fiction. The universe he created, the action and warfare are magnificent. The society Heinlein posits as an alternative is at least thought provoking if not much more. The Starship Troopers trilogy are films set in that universe and to a reasonable extent reflect a lot of the sentiment that Heinlein produced. Starship Troopers 1 is a great action film that introduces the war between the Federation (humanity) and the Bugs. Starship Troopers 2 is a B Movie that drags the trilogy down a little by creating what is essentially a zombie fest. Starship Troopers 3 is the cleverest of the films and brings in more of the elements that Heinlein created including the societal structure needed to win a total war and some of the technology that Heinlein described that have been so influential to sci fi in the decades since.
What the original book did not do was produce a cast of deep characters. Starship Troopers 1 goes as far as it is possible to change that approach. The bug war is a relatively distant and unheralded conflict that humanity is engaged in when Johnny Rico and his friends graduate from high school in Buenos Aires. Rico is a traditional American jock - Casper Van Dien's powerful jawline and strong physique as well as the natural tendency to think of him as stupid capture very well the uncertainties of a man who must make his way in the world having been a sports darling at school. Rico's love is for the much smarter and aloof Carmen. She is the classmate who best understands the ideals of the Federation and is the one person who signs up to the military on pure conviction.
The high school stuff is a nice way to introduce the importance of the Bug War. It is full Americana including the Arena Football game which it has to be said is really well executed. The physicality of the match Rico plays in for just a couple of minutes is better than most representations of sport in film. Rico's quarterback is Dizzy Flores which is an amusing take on page 1 of Heinlein's book. Played by Dina Meyer it is perhaps a little unbelievable that she could be a QB as she's not the biggest but the love quandrangle between her, Rico, Carmen, and Rico's rival Zander is a fundamental part of the tale.
There is a distinct lack of human affection in Heinlein's original so the teenage love interest is a little bit over the top though the payoff between Rico and Dizzy is highly satisfying. That anyone would have preferred Denise Richards to Dina Mayer is a little hard to believe. Still, it is a part of the film that probably appeals to those who weren't already in because of Heinlein.
Following Rico through boot camp is good fun mainly thanks to the magnificent Drill Sgt Zim played by Clancy Brown. Boot camp Sgts are a bit of a cliche but Zim brings a wit and charisma to the role beyond the usual shouting. It is nice to see Zim's payoff captured in the end. Probably the most interesting character is Michael Ironside's Rasczak as much of the philosophy behind the story is told through his mouth. He is a paragon of the virtues Heinlein espoused and is one character who follows through on his commitment.
The effects on Starship Troopers 1 are excellent. The bugs are a believable swarm of menace and the Fleet are nicely rendered. The battle scenes are generally very believable and the juxtaposition of gore and patriotism is well produced. Some of the meaning behind the patriotism is a little opaque perhaps because of the high school characters but there is a clear sense of understanding in the survival militarism.
Troopers 1 is an excellent film. The extras are very minimal on the boxed set and are disappointing.
Starship Troopers 2 has not been well received generally. The plot is not very good. A few survivors in a losing battle are pitched against a horde of bugs and find themselves stowed away in a spooky tower. Unbeknownest to them they bring an enemy within their midst and that enemy slowly picks them off one by one. The plot is essentially some kind of zombie horror without the horror and from a purely storyline perspective is not very impressive. The B Movieness of it is reinforced by the gratuitous nudity performed by Kelly Carlson. Her acting is not very good but she actually does extremely well in her role a stunningly beautiful woman with a sculptured body to be hugely impressed by.
What is a bit of shame about the poor plot for Troopers 2 is that it wastes an excellent character in Cpt Dax played by Richard Burgi. The stoicism and honour of a man who knows real battle generates terrific pathos for Dax. He is the one man who has the fighting and leadership skills to win wars but he lacks the self-preservation talent needed for military politics. For all that Troopers 2 is roundly slated, Dax is a very well crafted and acted lead character and while he doesn't shine like Johnny Rico, he is a Hero of the Federation.
Troopers 2 also has more of an anti-war feel which is soundly at odds with the underlying philosophy. The script clearly attempts to portray Dax as an exploited man but he does save the Federation and he does do it because for all his talk of grim futility he clearly does believe in humanity.
The atmosphere of Troopers 2 is not bad and the lighting effects are particularly well rendered. There is much less action than in the other Troopers films so there is more of a focus on the psychology of the people involved. It doesn't delve too deeply but the moment when Sgt Rake jabs herself with adrenalin to continue her fight is a great moment.
Unfortunately Troopers 2 is not a great film. It isn't as bad as some suggest and to some extent that might be because it is not a natural sequel to Troopers 1. It is a film set in the same universe. There are other sci fi films that attempt similar stories and do it much worse despite getting much more hype.
Troopers 3 is a return to form and is the most interesting of the trilogy. It does not have the action sequences that the first boasts but it does have plenty of bug-killing action. Bringing Johnny Rico back and with him looking better than ever, the film opens up in a large fortification on the front line of the bug war. The arrival of charismatic Sky Marshal Omar Anoke throws everything into confusion and a bloody battle commences.
Anoke is a masterpiece of a character. The depth of the personification he represents should not be underestimated. He is not only the leader of the Federation but he is well-loved because he is essentially a celebrity. Heinlein's original work did not produce much to explain what it is that binds a people together. In Troopers 3 what does the binding is the cult of the media. It is a brilliant satire and understanding of contemporary mass psychology. Anoke is a good looking guy and sings inspiring patriotic songs beautifully. Stephen Hogan imbues him with a seriousness that works as any hint of comedy would have utterly ruined this film. Anoke's journey through the remainder of the film is magnificent despite a slight touch of plagiarism from Star Trek V.
The film isn't perfect though and it is a film of two halfs with the first half taking up more than three quarters. Normally that wouldn't matter but as the first half is designed to set up the philosophical twist it can be a little frustrating when it appears that no twist is coming. When it does come and the Federation's evolution to a belief system that binds people together much more effectively into a fighting force it is perhaps the greatest social philosophy moment ever produced in film.
Casper Van Dien is again excellent as Johnny Rico. His supporting cast put in a good show which is good as Rico doesn't actually get all that much screen time. Jolene Blalock as Cpt Lola Beck gets the most screen time and as with most of the characters in the film she is transformed - in her case from annoying woman with pouty lips into bad ass sci fi warrior woman and comes out much the better for it. There is one terrible bit of casting which is Cecile Breccia - no comment on her acting ability but it is almost impossible to understand her very strong accent.
The heroism of military people is nicely drawn in particular with the marines who defend the Sky Marshal's ship - they are affected by battle and in some cases killed or injured but they are noble warriors. Others who are not military are typically less noble and those who are not hardened by battle are often shown as cowards or bullys. This might be taking the themes a little too far but as the film makes so much sense at the end it all fits together very nicely.
The newsreel style scenes are brilliant in Troopers 1 & 3 and are perhaps the most innovative part of the trilogy - very well written.
The dvd extras for Troopers 3 are easily the best of the trilogy with a nice technical exposition of monster creation, good talking head and on-set chat, the full length version of the excellent A Good Day To Die song, and a clear sense that Troopers 3 brought some credibility back to a franchise that took a confidence hit after Troopers 2.
Starship Troopers the book was one of the defining works in sci fi history. The films are not the same story but fit very well into the same universe. They are definitely Casper Van Dien's finest hour and they are a great introduction to some of the concepts Heinlein wrote about. Troopers 1 is a big budget mainstream action adventure that anyone can love. Troopers 2 is a zombie shlock that takes a slightly different taste to admire. Troopers 3 is a decent action adventure but is more interestingly a a superb exposition of what it takes to lead and to bind people together in a time of existential crisis.
on 27 September 2009
Ed Neumeier's work is a fascinating back catalogue, as one of the most imaginative screenplay writers he has delivered such remarkable creations as Robocop and of course Starship Troopers. Both have relied on the influence of Paul Verhoeven as director of both franchises highlights and don't underestimate his influence, but for now we will concentrate on the vision created by Ed.
Both of his famous creations create extreme sci-fi visions of the future. In Robocop a half man half machine becomes the saviour of Delta City, a city owned run and controlled by a vicous corporation, OCP. The parallels are obvious when you compare Starship Troopers where a future Earth is at war with super sized and super intelligent bugs. People flock to join the military because it offers a ticket to be classed as a citizen and not simply a civilian and the chance of a brighter future and better life.
Both Robocop and Starship Troopers break from the story to show media reports, propaganda and more from the ruthless and manipulative companies who are in charge. 'So what!' you may say, they are similar films, we get it. Infact I feel their similarlities are what set them appart from so many other sci fi titles.
Despite the extreme visions of the future, complete with super sci fi enermies, the real subject you explore in both films is the exploration of humanity. Despite the highly exagratted back drop these films hold up a mirror to the human race and explore all of the facets, from both ends of the spectrum. Ed's gift is that although you grow attached to lead characters you do sometimes find yourself wondering which side you are really rooting for.
So, 'Starship Troopers' is occasionally cheesy, borrows much of its ideas on technology from James Cameron's Aliens but is an action filled blast of a film with almost a 'coming of age'/'buddy film' feel at times. The big bugs are realistic and all of the space sequences are believable and match most of the high standards of current special effects which makes the blu ray copy well worth a watch. Casper Van Dien and Dina Meyer are good leads but not being Hollywood heavyweights does give the film that B-movie feel, which I think is a good thing. With no superstar lead there are no preconcieved ideas as an audience of who will live and who will die, peril remains throughout and that can only be a good thing. So for the first part of the trilogy we'd be talking 5 stars, but sadly the set takes a real turn for the worst........really.
'Starship Troopers 2- Hero of the Federation' is sadly 2 hours of my life I will never get back. Gone are the slick sci fi effects and glorious backdrops of deep space to be replaced with dark, foggy nothingness and dialogue that seems jerky, unnatural and bland. Put simply, it's a horror show of a sequel that this boxed set would simply be better without. Actors seem to go from B movie cool to amateur dramatics odd and in short this film is a stinker. Some ideas are carried straight over from the first film and there are a few enjoyable sequences, but nothing more is on show. It seems sad really as I can only imagine this script would ever be in existance if the studio had put up a whacking great sum of money for a sequel, so why is this film so clearly low budget? That is not a retorical question, just a comment on my confusion. Richard Burgi stars with Colleen Porch although the term 'stars' has never been so undeserved, in short you could claim the cast had moved onto bigger and better things if they had started working in a drive thru.......and relax.
So overall I gave this boxed set a very respectable 4 stars so fear not, better is to come. 'Starship Troopers 3 Maruader' is a return to form of a sort, it is presented by Paul Verhoeven (I'm never really sure what that means but) he has attached his name to a real return to form so whatever his influence, it seems to be a good one. Casper Van Dien is back as the lead and this helps the films appeal, he is back delivering one liners, the dialogue is funny, sharp and still cheesy. The high budgets of the earlier films have gone, but this straight to DVD affair doesn't show the scars at all. Some may say the special effects are not great but the action raced past without me noticing to any great extent. This film does not quite top the first, as although the ideas from that film are continued along with the character/plot development (which was lost from the second), nothing feels entirely new. But by keeping the key ingrediants the same we see a far better film than the second. It is fun, frantic and at 30 years of age, (remembering being considerably younger when I sat in the cinema to watch the first) I would consider this film one of my cinematic guilty pleasures.
In all the boxed set offers little incentive to buy these films altogether, little special features is an obvious and sad ommition, some neat postcards, a carded sleeve box don't improve the arguement much. But, for the right price this set offers some great entertainment and I recommend it to anyone into sci fi or action films. Even with an iffy second the other two more than make up for it by making blasting giant ants to bits a moreish viewing. The first and third will be titles you reach for time and time again.
I hope you enjoy these films. See you on the bounce trooper.
Do you have Starship Troopers on DVD? Dont bother with this set.
Do you have Starship Troopers 2 on DVD? Sell it.
Do you have Starship Troopers 3 on DVD? May be worth getting the boxset so you have ST1.
OK, I watched this eventually. The first film is still the best and I finally replaced my old flipper DVD (remember those!?). The second film is just an excuse for a gore fest. Loads of cutting heads off and blood by the bucketload. It's a poor movie though and the end is just nonsense. I mean, lets have a think about what I would do...get in the ship and go home or die? Hmmm, tricky one. Sound and picture are just average, it looks like the time and effort that went into the BluRay was what the film deserved.
Film 3 is much more back on track with 1. It's got that gung ho OTT feel thanks to Rico. The whole religion thing though and the arrival of the Marauders made me think I was watching some Warhammer 40K movie at the end. Again, the picture and sound are'nt special and I even noticed artifacts at one point.
Not a great boxset at all, but it is cheap.
on 18 April 2009
Orwellian like Comic Book type fun with a tongue-in-cheek jolly stab at politicians who treat their public like morons. Too close to current reality in many chilling ways for the UK, for example, has too many 'bugs of mass destruction'(BMDs)in all of its democratic systems. Jingoists everywhere will enjoy the stories and the characterisations of well known spineless national officials from across the globe.
on 4 November 2009
product arrived on time and better than advertised, very happy
however a word to the wise, starship troopers is one of my all time favorite films and something that i beilieve has everything you could want from a film which is why i was very dissapointed with two and three which realy dont do the origional justice at all
on 2 October 2008
The films look and sound really good, but the first film has the same basic extras that were released on the previous Blu-ray, when in the US set they get new extras and a commentary etc. So it's a bit of a letdown on that point, but if you're not bothered about extras, then you should be happy with the picture and sound quality alone.
I would give the first film 5 stars, but the Blu-ray set itself 3 stars due to the poor extras on disc 1, and the fact that the two sequels are pretty bad.
on 15 November 2015
It Arrived Much Earlier Than Anticipated Which I Was Massively Happy With. As Soon As I Received This I Immediately Went On A Starship Troopers Marathon As I Love The Series. It Was Great First Disc Ran Perfectly (My Favourite) , Second Disc I Was Slightly Disappointed As It Jumped A Little Inbetween But That's My Least Liked So Wasn't Too Bad. Third Ran Perfectly Aswell Considered It Was Pre-Owned Outstanding Job... If I Was Going To Be Picky I'd Say The Cardboard Cover Was A Little Worn At The Seams And A Small Crack Inside The Plastic Case.. However You More Than Made Up For That With The Packaging. Quick Delivery And The "Exclusive Art-Cards & Collectors Booklet" Which I Was Not Aware I'd Be Receiving. Was Pleasantly Surprised As I'm A Massive Starship Troopers Fan. Thank Youu , So Happy I Bought This. 👌✊✌
on 29 August 2010
I love this boxset, it's awesome
It's the best out of the 3, it has awesome action and a great cast and awesome bugs and a great battle and great cgi and a guy's brain gets sucked by a brain bug !!
Starship troopers 2 hero of the fedaration
This one isn't as good as 1&3 but it's got some good scenes and good cgi but alright cast.
Starship troopers 3 Marauder
This one has good action and some great scenes and it's the return of Johnny Rico(who was the main in st1 but did not feature in st2 witch i think let st2 down because rico is a strong cast member in the films) it has some awesome battles as well.
Well overall if you like sci-fi and action these are the films for you.
Defeat the bugs !!!!