ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Starship Troopers 2 (2004)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Phil Tippet

Starring:
Richard Burgi/Captain Dax
Colleen Porch/Pvt. Sahara
Kelly Carlson/Pvt Soda
Ed Quinn/Cpl Griff
5 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
On the bug planet, a group of troopers hide out in an abandoned outpost to stay clear of their vicious buggy enemies. But what they don’t know is that, this time, the varmints are also attacking them from the inside….and I when I say inside…I mean INSIDE! TUM - TUM - TUM!
THE LOWDOWN
--BEGINNING OF TRANSMISSION --

In my opinion, to relatively enjoy this sequel to the uber-badass "Starship Troopers" (to be released on June 1st 2004), you have to digest it as a stand alone. Directed by effect guru Phil Tippet (he did the effects on "Robocop 2" and "Howard the Duck"), this baby was an obviously low-budget opus whose cost probably couldn’t cover the original’s craft table bill. And what does a genre cheapie do when it doesn’t have much coin to spare? It more often than none, pulls a claustrophobic setting jive on us. Nothing wrong with that if you deliver the goods. Now let’s get this out of the way first: gone are the satirical pokes, the massive-in-scope bug vs. marines skirmishes, the high-octane energy and the Nazi regime flavor found in the first one. Say hello to a “straight forward” and more cookie-cutter type of entry that will feel familiar if you know your horror.

“WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE?”

I actually found the bugs vs. marines showdowns in this follow-up to be flatter than a White Castle burger so I didn’t get much out of them. It's only when the picture stayed indoors to play its new (yet old) game that it got somewhat appealing. And what game was that? Think “The Thing”, “The Hidden” or “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. Once that wheel kicked in, "Starship Troopers 2" went on to spank that ass on both cheeks. Ample graphic gore, groovy bug designs and one hot-ass naked lady (Kelly Carlson) were tossed my way and I gobbled it all up like the glutton that I am! Tag to all that exploitation, an easy pace, a couple of slick characters (Jax is the man!), a common yet amusing chain of events and a dash of sly irony (for its finale) and you get a harmless B-movie watch that didn’t bowl me over, but that kept me interested in its high jinx nonetheless.

“WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE?”

On the blank side of the bullet, there were way too many characters in this zoo and not enough exploration when it came to them. Some players were practically interchangeable while others were annoying “stock” types (the coward, the fat dude…). In consequence, when some “turned”, I felt nothing and when others “died”, I felt less than nothing. Speaking of characters, although I dug most of Brenda Strong’s showing in this flick as the tough Marine (drop the cigar though), the fact that she actually played a different character in the original (Capt. Deladier) and DIED in it...messed with me.

“WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE?”

Additionally, the flick’s low budget brought up a couple of no-nos starting with the fact that only the “warrior” arachnid and the “new” bug were on display. We required the giant fart bugs and the flying giant insects from the original, man! Well…I needed them anyways! And what was up with the fluctuating gun noises? At first they were laser sounds, then they were automatics...and both sounded like “pop guns”. Too bad, the right “reverberation” could’ve helped make the stale shootouts more stimulating. Lastly, lots of this affair was shot in the dark (to cover up the cheapo sets) and once in a while, I needed my infra-red goggles to see what was going on. COME ON, MAN!

“WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE?”

I’m half-half on this one. As a straight sequel to "Starship Troopers", it failed and as a stand-alone it was halfway decent, but too reminiscent of better films and too much of a slave to its low budget for it to get that "oh so" coveted full-on pat on the back from The Arrow (look, I refer to myself as a third person…man, I am such a mook!)

“WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE?”
GORE
POINT 1! The gore flies here with a body cut in half by a bug, some stabbing by bug claw, a claw in the head, a slit throat, blown off head, sliced fingers, bashed in head, and many severed limbs.
ACTING
Richard Burgi (Captain Dax) was the more memorable character and the best actor here. I got into his tough guy, anti-hero shtick. He did it so well! Colleen Porch (Pvt. Sahara) was mostly strong in her performance and a cutie to boot. Kelly Carlson (Pvt Soda) was hot as hell and played a horn dog like a pro...that’s all she was asked to do. All Ed Quinn (Cpl Griff) had to do here was smile creepily. He underplayed it…good move. Ed Lauter (General Shepard) was on and off while Brenda Strong (Sgt Rake) had me until she started chewing on a cigar. I didn’t buy that part, but overall, she came through..
T & A
POINT 2! Kelly Carlson is a doll and her tight body was much cherished by this perv! We get the ta-tas and the bootie! The ladies get a pumped up Richard Burgi shirtless and a couple of other beefcakes sans top.
DIRECTING
Tippet’s direction was adequate. He put out lots of hand-held camera shots and efficient filters. Too bad his action scenes were weak and that tension was infrequent. He’s no Verhoeven!
SOUNDTRACK
The score didn’t work for me. It often clashed with scenes at hand in terms of tone as opposed to supporting them. Should’ve brought back the excellent score from the first film by Basil Poledouris.
BOTTOM LINE
A satisfying sequel to Starship Troopers this is not. But as a typical slice of genre B-cheese that double-dips in gory goods and female flesh...it's okay. I got some diversion out of it. Most of the shortcomings here, be it on a narrative or technical standpoint, were mostly a result of the low budget-- they did what they could with what they had. Then again how about not making a sequel to one of the grooviest sci-fi/horror flicks on the block if you don’t have the loose chain to deliver it top-notch! How about thinking further than brand name and your wallet! How about taking the fans into account! You know, the ones that put down their hard earned green to see a sequel to one of the finest killer bug films ever made? At the end of the day, it’s your call fellow Troopers! I’m still waiting for a REAL sequel.

-- END OF TRANSMISSION --
BULL'S EYE
Clancy Brown was unavailable for the film (too bad), so Dax was born.

The screenplay was written by Edward Neumeier. He had a hand in writing the original "Robocop" (and also worked on the TV series) and also provided his two cents to the upcoming "Anaconda 2".

This film was Phil Tippets directorial debut.
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