The recent video release of last year's Starship Troopers reveals a master at work, comfortably at home in his truest of elements: cheesy action films. Paul Verhoeven is the master in question, the director of such fare as RoboCop and Basic Instinct--his last really successful film, in 1992. With a $95 million budget, Troopers eventually grossed a little over half that domestically, but it has done well enough overseas to ensure that, like Schwarzenegger in Verhoeven's Total Recall, he'll be back.
Watching Troopers is a much different experience than watching, say, Aliens. While both are oriented around the wholesale slaughter of an alien race (giant bugs this time), Aliens treats its plot with complete seriousness. Troopers is a bit more underhanded, feeding you a special effects extravaganza (which include, in all honesty, some of the best I've ever seen) with one hand, and slapping you with the leather glove of history with the other. In fact, what makes Troopers--and the book it's based on, I'm told--so enjoyable is its ode to fascism. Whether it's Neil Patrick Harris in a fully-buttoned, black leather S.S. trench coat or the "I'm doing my part!" propagandist chants, the homage is blatant. And, it's an incredibly entertaining look into what must have been going through the minds of young Nazi recruits.
If this isn't enough to interest you, Verhoeven doesn't pull any stops with the full tilt cheesefest. The casting of the likes of the whiter-than-white Harris, Meyer, Richards, and Van Dien as Argentinians is the first tip-off that you're in for a screamer of a time. But wait, there's more! Troopers has sadistic drill sergeants, co-ed group showers, and some of the richest dialogue in cinema. One of the best lines comes from Muldoon's Zander, directed at the bugs, when he screams "One day someone like me is gonna kill you and your whole FUCKIN' RACE!"
So cut Paul some slack and check out Starship Troopers. Throw in Showgirls for a really tasty double feature. After all, it's going to take some solid video rental revenues to make sure Verhoeven gets funding for another big-budget free-for-all.
And hey... I'm doing my part!
Run time: 129 mins
In Theaters: Friday 7th November 1997
Box Office Worldwide: $121.2M
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Production compaines: Touchstone Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Big Bug Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Fresh: 37 Rotten: 22
IMDB: 7.2 / 10
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Screenwriter: Edward Neumeier
Starring: Casper Van Dien as Johnny Rico, Dina Meyer as Dizzy Flores, Denise Richards as Carmen Ibanez, Jake Busey as Private Ace Levy, Neil Patrick Harris as Colonel Carl Jenkins, Clancy Brown as Career Sergeant Zim, Michael Ironside as Lieutenant Jean Rasczak, Patrick Muldoon as Zander Barcalow, Seth Gilliam as Private Sugar Watkins, Rue McClanahan as Biology Teacher, Blake Lindsley as Katrina McIntire, Steven Ford as Lieutenant Willy, Ungela Brockman as Corporal Birdie, Bruce Gray as Sky Marshal Dienes, Denise Dowse as Sky Marshal Tehat Meru, Amy Smart as Cadet Lumbreiser, Tami-Adrian George as Djana'D