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Rated R
Copyright 1997 TriStar/Touchstone Pictures
Reviewed by Max Gardner on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • Johnny Rico - Casper Van Dien! Genocidal dumbass and soldier plagued with inexplicable promotions.
  • Carl Jenkins - Neil Patrick Harris! Psychic who gets recruited into a higher position than Rico.
  • Dizzy - This woman would get dizzy trying to screw in a light bulb. She wants Rico's ass. Gets a bug talon through the chest.
  • Carmen Ibanez - Denise Richards! Rico's sluttish love interest. Looks a bit... ...synthetic from the neck down.
  • Zander Barcelow - Rico's chief rival. Gets his brain sucked out by the brain bug.
  • Ace - Jake Busey! Recruit with absolutely enormous teeth.
  • Lt. Rasczak - Michael Ironside! Rico's commanding officer, until he gets his legs ripped off by a giant antlion.
  • Sgt Zim - Drill sergeant who demotes himself to private so he can go to the front.
  • The Bugs - Very large arachnids with a low moron tolerance.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Starship Troopers is actually a good movie masquerading as a really bad one; it was also wasted on ninety percent of its target audience, making it the most irritatingly misunderstood film I've ever seen. In a militarized future, humanity is at war with a race of giant arachnids upon whose territory they've encroached. After the bugs nuke Buenos Aires, our government finally decides to take some aggressive action. Johnny Rico and his merry band of idiots are sent to the front, where they get their asses trounced in about five seconds. They regroup, and decide capturing a brain bug would be their best course of action. Can Michael Ironside and Doogie Hauser pull it off? Let's hope not - I haven't seen such a misanthropic movie in all my life. The characters are morons, the relationships are shallow and perfunctory, and they're supposed to be. Come on, people - the propaganda video at the beginning of the movie is called "Why We Fight." That was the title of a WWII Anti-Nazi propaganda short. If you don't give a damn about satire and generally mean-spirited humor, there are still buckets upon buckets of gore, and some nudity thrown in for good measure - no one we'd ever want to see nude, unfortunately.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Humans invented art, mathematics and interstellar travel.
  • Doogie Hauser is a member of the Gestapo.
  • Ferrets are telepathic.
  • Women only mate with the best and dumbest football players.
  • Multiple amputees still endorse the military.
  • Humans will NEVER admit that another species is intelligent. That includes species that can hurl meteorites out of their asses and hit Buenos Aires from across the known galaxy.
  • Affection is displayed by saying, "OOUUGH!" and smashing your head against someone else's head.
  • Jake Busey playing a neon green violin is enough to ruin any romantic mood.
  • A civilian is stupid; a citizen is just more aggressive about it.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 2 mins - Kick ass, a whole platoon of idiots gets cut in half in the first two minutes of the movie!
  • 7 mins - That is painfully obvious, thank you...
  • 16 mins - Hey, that's a David Bowie song, only they changed the lyrics and it sucks.
  • 39 mins - Bitch.
  • 49 mins - Wonder how much AT&T paid for that.
  • 58 mins - Hey, they're in mobile infantry and they're getting tattoos that say "Death From Above."
  • 62 mins - Damn, I wish I could shoot meteors from my ass.
  • 90 mins - Multiple decapitations! Ugh, he left a smear...
  • 95 mins - Don't take the claw out, you imbecile.
  • 99 mins - It's Doogie Himmler!
  • 104 mins - Ouch! (Cut in half by an automatic door.)
  • 114 mins - Yeah, that arm would still work.


  • Angry Guy: "The only good bug is a dead bug."
  • Rico (After a fellow recruit gets his head blasted off): "MEDIC!"
  • Reporter: "Some say the bugs were provoked by the intrusion of humans into their natural habitat, that a live and let live policy is preferable to war with the bugs."
    Rico: "Lemme tell you something, I'm from Buenos Aires and I say KILL 'EM ALL!"
  • Sky Marshal: "We must meet the threat with our blood, our valor, indeed with our very lives, to ensure that human civilization - not insect - dominates this galaxy now and always!"
  • Scientist: "Frankly I find the idea of a bug that thinks offensive!"
  • Rasczak: "They sucked his brains out."
  • Rico: "Know what this is? Sure ya do - you're some kinda big, fat smart bug, aren't ya?"

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note startroopers1.wav Narrator1: "Join the Mobile Infantry and save the world!"
Green Music Note startroopers2.wav Angry Guy: "The only good bug is a dead bug."
Green Music Note startroopers3.wav Sky Marshall: "To fight the bug we must understand the bug, we can ill afford another Klandathu."
Green Music Note startroopers4.wav Lt. Rasczak: "This is for you new people. I only have one rule, everyone fights, no one quits. You don't do your job I'll shoot you."
Green Music Note startroopers5.wav Lt. Rasczak: "They sucked his brains out."
Green Music Note startroopers6.wav Carl Jenkins: "You don't approve? Well too bad, we're in this for the species boys and girls. It's simple numbers, they have more and every day I have to make decisions that send hundreds of people, like you, to their deaths."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipstartroopers1.mpg - 2.4m

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
Starship Troopers
Reply #1. Posted on December 20, 1999, 02:02:49 PM by
Hey, Sarge, I see Ken d'Jabootu beat me to the punch on "Why We Fight", but I have to take issue with the "Good movie pretending to be a bad movie" thing.  Actually, this is a bad movie pretending to be a good movie pretending to be a bad movie.  yes, to be honest, I rather enjoyed it a minute at a time, but overall, it had some insumountable problems.  I'm dismayed that a marine could review this movie and not once say "Where the hell is the artillery?" when I can't watch the movie without saying it twenty times.  let alone the armor.  Did we forget how to build tanks by this time?  One lousy Panzer IV could've wiped out that whole planet, let alone an ultramodern hover tank of the expected "Hammer's Slammers" variety.  Why were they even down there?  I do, in fact, understand the watered down political satire intended, but the combat scenes are central to the process of the pic, and they are tactically painful to watch.  If the fascists rule the world in this movie, they must be Italian Fascists, and they got voted into office, cause they never had to fight anybody before but Ethiopians with spears.
But don't get me started on that.  Even if the rest of the film was a gem of satire, its medium--that of a war movie--was intrusively bad.  All the clever deep meaning can't change that.
Steve "and what idiot designed hand nukes?" James
Starship Troopers
Reply #2. Posted on December 20, 1999, 06:27:51 PM by
Ken and Steve, I didn't write this review - it came via Max Gardner.  As to the screwed up "Why We Fight" section - I didn't proofread the review really, just checked it for spelling errors before posting it.  (I was in a hurry last night, so that's my fault.)  Ah well, time  to go and fix that.  I'm quite particular about military equipment when it comes to certain films, though I try to tone it down a bit since most civilians don't really care that such plane is Soviet and such plane is American.  Still, in all fairness, a review fitting of the amazing  problems this film had could only come via Jabootu - Max didn't quite fire the same rounds at it I would have, but he's not me.  I believe the book is a wonderful little piece of work and wish they had stayed true to the ideas, but mourning such things is pretty fruitless.  Lastly, please don't call a Marine Corps Sergeant "Sarge."
Starship Troopers
Reply #3. Posted on December 21, 1999, 09:31:52 AM by
Damn me for an ass!

My apologies to both the intrepid Sgt., (no 'sarge' here, by golly), and to Max as well.

Steve raises a good point as to armor, etc.  In fact, the lack of the 'power suits' described in the novel is sort of the basis of that.  Ironically, I imagine that they (Verhoevan, et al) didn't want to look like they were stealing the powers suits from the 'Ripley in the Exoskeleton' thing in Aliens, whereas Cameron probably took that bit from...the novel of Starship Troopers.  Notice the numerous other tips of the hat to the book in Aliens.  Of course, you could also make the argument that Cameron stole the exoskeleton thing from one the of Dean Martin/Matt Helm movies, which contains a comically similar scene.

Really, again though, I apologize for my sloppiness.  I mean, Max's name is there, big as life.  
Starship Troopers
Reply #4. Posted on December 23, 1999, 10:31:45 AM by Bob Sacamento spoke my mind! thats what I've said about this movie since I was 13! This movie is god-awful! The plot flaws are extremely terrible, even for a bad movie. I might would give this one slime due to the fact that some of the action is ok(though it dosen't make sense either), and that theres some nudity(of a bunch of flat and ugly chicks of course). Otherwords, this movie needs a really big skull.
Starship Troopers
Reply #5. Posted on December 24, 1999, 12:25:20 AM by
When I first saw the trailer for this movie, the first thing I said, "Where's the damn power armor!" Of course if everyone was wearing power armor, which might have doubled if not tripled the film's budget, you might lose character recognition, as if that really matters. If they did have the 'armor and deployed as by the procedures in the book, rather then going for these panaramic, psuedo 'Normandy Landing styled shots, atleast the 'tatoo: "Death from Above" would have made some sense.

I think that it would be cool if they did play up the fascist styled government more, and had the humans more overtly appear to be the expansionistic war mongers, for once humans are the bad guys, a nice change.

As for nude scenes, the only woman I wanted to see topless and or nude was Denise Richards, sure she's fake, but it's better then flabby reality. Why else would anyone want to see 'Wild Things', until discovering the plot was nice and intricate, and Bill Murray was good as the lawyer.
Starship Troopers
Reply #6. Posted on August 28, 2001, 11:39:15 PM by Daniel
This movie RULES!!!!!! The best film about giant killing bugs ever made! The same guys who made Robocop and Total Recall made this and whoever those guys are, they = rulz!! Nuff said.
Starship Troopers
Reply #7. Posted on March 27, 2000, 10:20:23 PM by
I fully agree with your evaluation of this film.

By the way, I thought you should know that, the voice you have credited as "Angry Guy" who delivers the line "The only good bug is a dead bug!" is actually the film's Executive Producer, Jon Davison, who also incidentally produced ROBOCOP, also with Verhoeven directing!
Starship Troopers
Reply #8. Posted on March 28, 2000, 11:44:24 AM by
The satire and "deep" message(s) did not escape me, however this movie still sucked. After skillfully transposing some of the message of the book, Verhoevan then went on to wuss out on the military. If you had to get rid of the power suits for budget sake, why not throw in some TANKS? Was ANY military person involved in this flick? Ever heard of air support? The book had the big armor, which was a essentially a tank anyhow, and air power. The movie had a bunch of jocks wandering around a planet firing glorified M-16s... It was fun watching them die, though.
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