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Starship Troopers [DVD] 
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Languages in Dolby Digital: English/French/Italian
Subtitles: English/French/Dutch/English Close Captioned
A gloriously over-the-top treat, Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers takes the militaristic moralising of Robert Heinlein's pulp classic and sets about undermining it mercilessly. Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien) desperately wants to join the Mobile Infantry and kill some Earth-threatening alien bugs. He also desperately wants Carmen (Denise Richards), but only gets to fulfil one ambition in the second of Verhoeven's futuristic satires (also cowritten with his RoboCop scriptwriter Ed Neumeier).
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
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The films plot is fairly thin on the surface focusing on Johnny Rico, an athletic star who upon finishing school joins the Troopers to follow the girl of his dreams just before earth is attacked and plunged into war with an alien race known as the Arachnids (or bugs).
The film however is surprisingly more than it seems with earth ruled by an apparent military fascist state where if you want to vote, get university scholarship or even have children you have to do a term of service for the federation. This sub plot, full of political satire is a genuinely interesting theme running through the background of what seems to be a mindless action movie at first glance. Throughout the film it cuts to news reels or advertisements run by the state showing live executions of criminals and trying to persuade people to enlist in the federation to gain citizenship.
If however you are interested in Starship Troopers for the expected action rather than it's more subtle undertones then this film is more than definitely still for you. Every moment from Rico's training in boot camp right upto fleets of ships and marines invading bug planets is fantastic, often bloody and not without the odd bit of dark humour thrown into the mix with it.
The special effects even sixteen years later are still (and I exaggerate not) better than some films that come out today. The ships in space, arachnids running around, particle effects etc are still seriously impressive. I honestly can't believe how good the visuals still are. The soundtrack is equally impressive with it's orchestral military themes during the action down to the school prom music is perfect.
Though I love this film to bits though not all of it is perfect. The acting performances are a little campy in places but it kind of works as the film is rather tongue and cheek anyway. There are some good performances though, most notably from Michael Ironside.
As a blu-Ray though the film has obviously been enhanced to HD the extras haven't, in ether amount or quality. It features a screen test, some trailers etc that last less then maybe twenty minutes and the quality is abysmal, almost like they took it straight from an old VHS.
Essentially though perhaps not the deepest movie, not the best acted or well written but Starship Troopers is a film I have loved for many years and is more than the sum of it's parts.
+ Political satire moments are clever.
+ Action is outstanding.
+ Special effects and soundtrack are hugely impressive still.
- Blu-Ray extras are sorely lacking and of poor quality.
(Edit: I have since read the book as it's now available on kindle and though some names and scenes are the same they are otherwise radically different)
No, it seems.
It looks like the US is getting an Anniversary edition of it shortly, including 4K transfer. I wish I'd waited to see if it'll make it back over here. When they have access to a rich vein of feature material, including two good commentary tracks, it seems lazy to not put them on there.
I'm pondering whether to send it back to Amazon, but it's not their fault I guess. Hngh.
This, though, is the backstory to Carmen, Rico and Dizzy's love triangle that throws them all into the mix in the fight against the bugs. Drag in the never dull Jake Busey and you have a real roller coaster that showed early CGI should not be ignored, but when used properly creates a truly fantastic backdrop.
Two scenes I immediately checked on Blu Ray. Rico's solo fight against one of the big bugs and the scenes in space when the ships are attacked. Quality in sound and vision is fantastic, well worth trading up your DVD.
As well as the gore and violence there is some nudity but it is worth remembering that when Verhoeven got his young cast to film the shower scene, he stripped off as well to show them not to be embarrassed. Sad that most of the main cast never really got a kick start with this, but some people will love it and others hate it.
I hate top ten lists but force my arm and this is on it.
The cast doesn't really have that many big names, some of which this would end up being a career highlight (seriously, what else has Casper Van Dien starred in?) but it works well as an ensemble cast and every character contributes in one way or another. You could be tempted to feeling sorry for some of the characters despite them all seemingly avid patriots of their facist government.
This film is an effective mix of action, sci fi, satire, dark comedy and adventure to keep any film fan entertained, hell, it even has a four way love story at the heart of it!
A great sci-fi film and up there with Paul Verhoeven's best. Can be enjoyed both as a brainless action thriller and also with plenty of sub-plots and undertones to keep movie buffs interested,
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