Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation Movie Review

Everybody likes a good fight, especially if it's in a galaxy far, far away. And on that score, the original Starship Troopers delivered. In spite of -- nay, in large part because of, its campy, tongue-in-cheek approach to the hard-boiled war genre, the sheer high-impact, bug-crushing carnage of the 1997 release captured the imaginations of America's violence-drenched youth and raised insect extermination to the level of high service to humanity.

Well, forget all that. Starship Troopers 2 is 91 minutes of tediously inane straight-to-DVD boredom. Directed by Phil Tippet, the animation brainiac who designed the Sean Connery-voiced dragon in Dragonheart, this unreasonably lame sequel offers virtually nothing in the way of either animation or direction. Or anything else, really.

A few years after the point where the first film left off (when, if you'll recall, Doogie Howser discovered an enormous "brain bug" in a cave and was preparing to interrogate it), a platoon of troopers finds itself isolated on a distant planet, surrounded by bugs, with no daylight in sight. (Someone must have seen Pitch Black and thought a world of eternal darkness would be a cool idea for this movie, too.) After about 10 minutes of hopelessly uninspired pretend fighting, during which the cast takes turns repeating a few of the first film's best catch phrases, the survivors find their way to a small, abandoned outpost in the middle of a desert plain.

The only remaining survivor in the place is a soldier named Dax, who has been locked up for killing his previous commanding officer for reasons unknown. Before long, a trio of unknown troopers shows up to join the fun. Only these are no ordinary troopers: They've been infected by a new kind of bug that takes over people's bodies, and they're planning to hitch a ride to Earth in hopes of wiping out our species.

The rest of the film consists of a single scene in which a bug enters a person's mouth and turns him or her into a zombie. This scene repeats over and over again, with different actors playing the roles of infector and victim, until only two troopers remain. With only Dax and a hot chick left alive, the bugs take over the compound, the chick gets away, and Dax stays behind for no reason at all, getting needlessly overrun by the invading bug infestation.

The one standout performance of the film belongs to Richard Burgi, who plays Dax. He has a naturally rugged charisma that comes across easily on camera. You almost get the sense that, if this was a different film, Burgi's performance would have been interesting. Unfortunately, most of his lines are so trite and stupid that it's hard to enjoy any of it.

Oh, and there's also about ten minutes of footage of Kelly Carlson (no, not that chick from American Idol) running around naked, putting bugs in people's mouths. And that's okay to watch, too.

If you liked the original, you'll hate the sequel and everyone involved in the making of it. Sure, the first Troopers was ridiculous, but it managed also to be fun, surprising, brutal, and sexy in a way that convinced us to laugh along. More importantly, things actually happened in that film. In this film, nothing happens. Ever.


Comments

Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation Rating

" Unbearable "

Rating: NR, 2004

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