ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Starship Troopers (1997)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Paul Verhoeven

Starring:
Casper Van Dien/Rico
Dina Meyers/Dizzy
Denise Richards/Carmen
Jake Busey/Ace
8 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
In a futuristic, fascist-like society, a bunch of great looking high school kids graduate and join the military service. They go through a strenuous boot camp, fall in and out of love and then wind up going to war with giant alien bugs in a fight for humanity’s survival. Get the six-pack, the broads and the “Raid”! This is the party movie to get down to!
THE LOWDOWN
"Everyone fights, no one quits. If you don't do your job, I'll shoot you myself."-- Lt. Rasczak

Most mainstream critics went potty training on "Starship Troopers" upon its initial release. I guess most of them forgot to bring their sense of humor along with that butt plug that was buried deep inside their anal orifice. I remember some critics actually branding Paul Verhoeven a fascist supporter. They actually took all of this amusing nonsense seriously! You would have thought that lines like “Shoot a nuke down a bug hole, you got a lot of dead bugs.” or the sight of a brain bug with a vagina-esque mouth would’ve been strong enough hints that this flick was made for kicks! Damn mooks…

As for me, this is what I like to call a “what the fuck else do you want” type of genre film. I mean, you got it all here. You want sympathetic leads and an entertaining love story? You got it! The characters are developed enough for us to care and for a movie of this type, that’s all I asked for. The soft stuff between Rico, Dizzy, Carmen and Zander definitely kept me going like a teen girl palming off to 90210. Maybe you’re also craving some humor to go with that sweet syrup? BINGO, it's here too! Let’s face it; this is the “Archie” comic gang going to war. They’re all in the house: Archie aka Rico, Reggie aka Zander, Betty aka Dizz and Veronica aka Carmen. That in itself is freaking funny! We also get a heavy dose of black humor (like the no BS Sergeant played by the great Clancy Brown screaming “Medic” every time he butchers a student) and a thick spread of tongue in cheek satirical humor (like the various Federation Network “Join Now” adds…freaking hilarious)!

How about some gnarly macho military tough guy/chick posturing to get your rocks off? It's here too! The first hour is basically a delicious trip down boot camp lane that had me smiling wholeheartedly (think the first half of "Full Metal Jacket" but tongue in cheek). Gore, did somebody say gore? I KNOW YOU DID! Well, this flick is jam-packed with plasma soaked flying torsos, and dismembered humans/bugs up the freaking wap-bam-boom! Anything else??? Action! Relentless action, you say?? Well, this sucker’s last hour offers enough various killer bugs (like flying bugs, fire spaying bugs…the works) and machine gun parties to please the most hardcore “Soldier of Fortune” reader. You’ll jizz your pants in ecstasy! Let’s face it; you always know you’re ok when there’s a dude in the film that pulls a Hudson (from "Aliens") on our asses. He sprays heavy fire on the bug shouting: "You want some?” ra-ta-tat! "Oh you want some too?" ra-ta-ta! GOOD SHITE!

Tag to all that celluloid candy, the brilliant takes on WW2 in regards to its costumes, ships and mentality. Then toss in rock solid special effects, energetic direction, a bang-on score, Michael Ironside/Clancy Brown chewing the scenery fervently and even a deeper layer where we see innocence slowly lost through the military system and you get A BIG WINNER! On a slightly negative note, the film could’ve been a tad shorter (some snipping here and there would’ve been nice), the dialogue is at times very cheesy (purposely though, so I guess it doesn’t count) and I did think that Rico (Van Dien) was a bit of a quick mourner (you’ll see) but overall "Starship Troopers" might be the most underrated jamboree of fun of all-time and I’m here to set the record straight. Welcome to the Roughnecks! ARROW’S ROUGHNECKS!
GORE
Is it me or is director Paul Verhoeven a genre’s fans red wet dream come true? Much like his other films, Paul goes heavy on the bloody mayonnaise here. We get dudes snapped in half by bugs, gooey bug insides, puke, nasty dismemberment, a bullet in the head, violent bug stabbings, an arm burned off, soldiers burned to crisps, holes in heads, heads lopped off, brain sucking and believe it or not…more! Thank you Chef Paul, I sure enjoy your cooking buddy!
ACTING
I never thought much of Casper Van Dien (Rico) but his cheekbones and “talent” work for the part here. I did have a hard time buying some of his deliveries though, especially when he’d repeat some of Rasczak’s lines. Dina Meyers (Dizzy) is enchanting and mucho charming as the tough chick of the bunch. I always had a thing for dames like her. Denise Richards (Carmen) also does fine, she’s the only actress I know who manages to look like a big sweetie while dumping a guy. Jake Busey (Ace) does ok but I didn’t really care for his character. Forget the “Doogie Howser” stigma and you’ll see that Neil Patrick Harris (Carl) was perfect for this part. Clancy Brown (Zim) is amazing as always. Patrick Muldoon (Zander) broods well and acts with his hair. Michael Ironside (Rasczak) does what he does best: PLAY A BADASS! It’s always a treat to see the man go at it.
T & A
Being the class act that Verhoeven is, he takes everybody in consideration here. We hombres get a couple of tit shots with the highlight being two melon displays from the scrumptious Dina Meyers (Dizzy). The ladies get enough dudes’ asses to last a week and Casper Van Dien goes shirtless...a lot.
DIRECTING
It’s Paul Verhoeven…I could stop there and you’ll know that the visuals kick all kinds of ass with style. Actually, I will stop there! Let me re-integrate. How’s the directing, you may ask? It’s Paul Verhoeven. Yes, it’s that good!
SOUNDTRACK
Basil Poledouris delivers an engaging and powerful score. It pleased my pointy self!
DVD FEATURES
Distributor: Columbia Tri-Star

IMAGE: The Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1 image is crisp and clear. Overall spotless.

SOUND: The English (Dolby Digital 5.1) backs the many sounds, score and dialogue perfectly. This film never sounded better. We also get a French Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo option.

EXTRAS:

Exclusive new documentary: Death From Above (30 minutes): This feature takes a look back at the film, has the screenwriter come in to discuss how he came about doing the project, has the cast comment on their experience on the shoot and their characters. The WW2 influences of the film are also explored, we get lots of set footage and Paul Verhoeven comments on the negative reaction the critics had upon the film’s release. All in all, a very interesting and complete feature. Good stuff!

Know your foe: Special Effects featurette (1-6 minutes each): This feature has the director, the special effects dudes and the producer comment on the bugs while the feature visually explores what they are and how they were created. We get a look at: The Warrior Bug, The Tanker Bug, The Hopper Bug, The Plasma Bug, The Brain Bug. If you play them individually you get an informative chart about the bug in question that pops up before the reel, if you play them all at the same time, you don’t get the charts. A fun extra.

The Starships of Starship Troopers (3 minutes): Scott E. Anderson (effects dude) and Paul Verhoeven come in to talk about their intentions in regards to the design of the ships and we get to know how some of the effects were done. Short but informative.

Special Effects Comparison (about 1 minute each): This feature simultaneously shows us scenes from the film and the same scene in its more primal stage (blue screen what-not). The scenes are: Fednet Klendathu / Censored / Carmen Pilots Fleet Trainer / Asteroid Grazing / Klendathu. I dug it.

Storyboard Comparisons (between 2-6 minutes each): This feature shows us three scenes with the storyboards for each respective scene unraveling at the same time. The scenes are: Asteroid Grazing / Klendathu Landing / Hopper Canyon. It’s always kool to compare what was planned and what was shot.

Vintage Featurette: The Making of Starship Troopers (8 minutes): This features takes a quick look at the actors talking about their parts, Verhoeven explaining the message of the film, a look at how the effects were created and Phil Tippett at work. Fast and painless, it’s more like a promo capsule than a featurette.

Scene deconstruction with Paul Verhoeven (3 minutes each): Through storyboards, effect less shots, the animatic shots and a Paul Verhoeven commentary, we are told how two effect-heavy scenes from the film were created. Slick stuff.

Deleted Scenes: 5 deleted scenes. They are: High School Lawn, Transporter, Zandre’s Consoles Carmen, Carmen’s Cabin, Last Kiss. I dug Last Kiss in particular. Both Rico and Carmen make out in the end here, I wanted to see those crazy kids back together while watching the movie and now I got to see it. Ahhhhh.

Screen tests (2 minutes): Two separate screen tests with Casper Van Dien and Denise Richards together. Both actors are actually very good in their scenes; dare I say...better than in the movie?

Bug Test Film: Don’t Look Now (1 minute): This short but funny test has Paul Verhoeven introducing the test, followed by some dude chased by two giant bugs and imminently killed. Fun times!

We also get a Paul Verhoeven and Ed Neumeier Commentary, a Cast and Crew Commentary, a Basil Poledouris commentary with isolated score a Conceptual Art Gallery, a Cast and Crew Filmography and Theatrical Trailers (Starship Troopers- Final Fantasy- Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles- Resident Evil)

NOW THAT’S A DVD AND A HALF YA'LL!!!
BOTTOM LINE
I lapped up every “exploitive” minute of Starship Troopers. Staying true to his style, Paul Verhoeven delivers yet another excessive, black-humored festival of flying limbs, non-PC attitude, tit shots, ruthless action and visual effects galore. This one took me on one hell of a groovy ride while delivering its tongue in cheek parade of multitude treats. NOBODY DOES IT LIKE VERHOEVEN...AND I MEAN NOBODY! Do you want to know more?
BULL'S EYE
The flick is loosely based on the book "Starship Troopers" by Robert Heinlein.

Director Paul Verhoeven and cinematographer Jost Vacano shot one take of the co-ed nude shower scene butt naked. Dina Meyer (Dizz) dared them to do it.

"Starship Troopers" is the movie that has used the most ammunition in the history of film.
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1:57PM on 05/18/2010

Not my type

Not my type of film...but i'm a BIG Neil Patrick Harris fan
Not my type of film...but i'm a BIG Neil Patrick Harris fan
Your Reply:



7:14PM on 08/03/2005
One of my favorite movies of all time. Just fun to watch whenever, especially with your friends around.
One of my favorite movies of all time. Just fun to watch whenever, especially with your friends around.
Your Reply:



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