Starship Troopers 2

Dir: Phil Tippett
Star: Richard Burgi, Colleen Porch, Ed Lauter, Larry Monoson

While not a discreditable effort, the main impact of this largely-pointless sequel, is to make you appreciate what a great film the original Starship Troopers actually was. Even with the same writer (Ed Neumeier), gone is all the political satire and edge Verhoeven brought first time round, in favour of what is little more than "another bug-hunt". Witness the opening; it doesn't bother with characterization or anything like that, hurling us right into the middle of the war. It's almost 25 minutes before we are properly introduced to anyone - that's what you get when you hire FX-whizz Tippett to direct your movie, though the effects at least are not bad, especially given the hugely-slashed budget ($6m here vs. $95m then - and that was seven years ago).

After the marines get trapped in a facility on a bug planet, and have to wait for evac, they find a locked cell-door behind which is Captain Dax (Burgi), who murdered his CO. Of course, anyone who's seen Pitch Black will know he'll prove their saviour, and once the bugs start taking over human subjects, you'll recognise elements from The Thing, though the element of sexual tension is new...or, at least, stolen from Species. For a hotch-potch of elements, it's okay, with most of the performances decent enough, but where is the social satire? The dark humour? Hell, the neo-fascism? Although the time passes adequately, it's clear why this bypassed the cinema, and video too, being seen first on cable.

December 2004

A bug's life
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