Starship Troopers 2 (1995) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The first Starship Trooper film, directed by the often brilliant but highly unpredictable Paul Verhoeven, had a little bit of everything. It was simultaneously a teen love story, a comedy, a cultural satire, s sci-fi film, a war movie, and an anti-war movie. While it wasn't an unqualified masterpiece, it was a lot of fun in a lot of ways, and it was involving, because it developed the main characters fairly well and treated them with respect, even when it was wandering off into its various crazy directions.


Kelly Carlson showed her breasts in two different (very dark) scenes.

The straight-to-video sequel really isn't any fun at all until the last minute or so.

Unlike the first movie, which ranged freely across earth and the entire universe, this one takes place in what is fundamentally a single set. Instead of looking at the grand scope of the war between man and bug, it is basically just one small chapter in that war, consisting of a single siege which takes place on one remote corner of one remote planet. A bunch of humans are trapped in a deserted fortress, surrounded, with only a protective electrified field separating them from a bazillion bugs. The sun never shines on this particular planet, and the lights don't always work in the fortress, so the most common type of scene in the film consists of humans battling against CGI bugs in near-total darkness. I'm guessing that those battles fill up half of the film's running time, while the other half consists of grungy dark interludes between battles. This movie is so dark that even David Fincher would have been crying for some more light bulbs.

This time the bugs have a new secret strategy. They have found out how to implant themselves into humans in a way that enables them to control the human host body without being detected, except by the human's designated psychics. The insects hope to do far more than overcome the dozen humans in the fortress. Their master plan is to take over the body of the general, and allow him to escape back to HQ, where he will help to develop bug-friendly policies while planting more bugs into more generals and senators and so forth. The writer might have pulled a rabbit out of this hat if he had employed a little misdirection and had hidden the identities of the infected humans. Unfortunately, once the bug plan was revealed, the script almost immediately let the audience in on each masquerade, which squelched the suspense.

In is only in the final minute that the film exhibits some of the satirical charm and insight of its predecessor. One of the humans survives thanks to a tough renegade officer named Dax, who kicks bug ass even though he really thinks the military sucks because it blindly uses infantrymen as cannon fodder. Dax, however, despite his distaste for the army, always does what he has to do to defeat bugs, and eventually gives up his own life to beat the bugs' master plan. When the single survivor gets back to HQ and tells her story, the military PR guys decide to turn Dax into a glorious hero.  The P.R. team whitewashes his bad attitude, conveniently expunges some of Dax's more unsavory exploits - like killing his commanding officer - from his record, and uses his story in rah-rah gung-ho recruiting films - exactly the last thing the angry Dax would have wanted.

DVD info from Amazon

  • widescreen anamorphic

  • full-length commentary

  • two featurettes on f/x and other aspects

  • small stills gallery

The film might have been OK if it had developed more irony like that last bit, or had allowed us to get involved with the characters, but it didn't go down like that. The film is short on brains, short on satire, short on characterization, short on light bulbs, and long on CGI swarms of bugs.

Pass on this one, even if you love Sci-Fi and even if you liked the first Starship Troopers. I'm in that group with you, and I still thought this one was a waste of time.

The Critics Vote ...

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The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a D+. Pass on this one, even if you love Sci-Fi and even if you liked the first Starship Troopers. It lacks the grand scope and the pointed satire of the original. This one is all battles and buggy gross-outs.

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