REVIEW: STARSHIP TROOPERS: INVASION

CAST (VOICES)

Luci Chrtistian (Parkland)
David Matranga (Law & Order)
Justin Doran (Buffy)
David Wald (Air Gear)

16-starship-troopers500x300On an asteroid, the Terran Federation’s Fort Casey is crawling with bugs. The starship Alesia begins to deploy its Mobile Infantry troopers, by dropship, to seize and control the hangar and rescue any survivors. Lieutenant Daugherty’s ‘Alpha’ team lands and immediately engages bugs, fighting through to rendezvous with the surviving Fort Casey troopers. After setting explosives charges, the troopers head to the starship John A. Warden for evacuation, only to see it leave dock without them – Minister Carl Jenkins has commandeered the Warden from Captain Carmen Ibanez, sending her to Alesia. Before leaving, Jenkins orders that Major Henry “Hero” Varro, the commander of Fort Casey’s K-12 troopers, be escorted to Alesia as a prisoner. Alesia docks with Fort Casey for emergency evacuation of the surviving troopers, and the Fort Casey asteroid is successfully destroyed.2595_4_screenshotWhile en route to Earth, Alesia is contacted by General Johnny Rico from High Command at L-6 Base. When he orders Alesia to search for the Warden, which has broken all contact, the Fort Casey troopers agree to do so on condition that Varro leads them during the mission. When they find the Warden, Daugherty’s team escorts Ibanez to the bridge while Varro’s team secures the Engine Room, both teams finding nothing but dead crewmen and a few dead bugs. Varro finds a deranged Jenkins and is warned – too late – not to power up the Warden as ‘she’ has hacked all the systems. As the engines recharge the Warden, an Arachnid Queen inside takes control of all systems and opens bulkhead doors to release her bugs. As Ibanez and the troopers attempt to return to Alesia, the Queen uses the Warden’s main weapons to destroy the other ship, then flies Warden into a wormhole whose outlet is in near-Earth space. The troopers return to the Warden’s bridge, where Varro reveals he was arrested when Jenkins had ordered his unit to capture the Queen alive on Fort Casey, but Varro had refused to sacrifice his squad.trtertGeneral Rico deploys three starships from the L-6 Base in Earth orbit, but they are unable to stop the Warden. The Queen sets the bug-infested Warden on a trajectory to crash land in Paris, but Alpha Team sniper Trig manages to shoot out the wires linking the Queen to the ship, allowing Ibanez to re-direct the Warden to crash in a mountain range. Meanwhile, General Rico leads a squad of troopers in Marauder suits to stop the bugs from escaping the crash site, while high command gives him 30 minutes before they will drop nukes from the L-6 Station to sanitize the site.Starship-Troopers-2-Hero-of-the-Federation-images-4b4260aa-6a95-4cfb-9b4c-15afad4a192Back on the Warden, the five surviving troopers make their way towards the Queen. Ice Blonde protects Ibanez at a nearby airlock while Mech and Ratzass go to the engine room to blow it up. When Varro and Bugspray find Trig’s corpse, Bugspray uses Trig’s family-made sniper rifle to buy Varro some time to reach the Queen. Jenkins, having recovered from his mental breakdown, provides Varro back-up with bugs under his mind control – revealing an important Terran breakthrough in the war and the reason for capturing a live Queen.starship-troopers-2-hero-of-the-federation-4-1Rico is the only one from his squad to reach the Warden. The extraction shuttle from L-6, and the nuclear strike, are all destroyed by the Queen’s control of the Warden’s weapons. As Jenkins leads the team to his shuttle from Fort Casey, Rico rushes to distract the queen and rescue Varro. Varro, critically injured, blows a grenade when surrounded by bugs. Rico abandons his broken Marauder suit and uses a combat knife on one of the Queen’s eyes, buying Ibanez time to make take-off preparations. Rico barely sprints back into the dropship as it escapes the Warden before the explosives detonate and destroy the Warden.imagesMech, Ice and Ratzass pay their respect to their fallen comrades while Ibanez confronts Jenkins over the recent crises. Jenkins sidesteps the issue, telling Rico and Ibanez that his research will someday save the entire galaxy. In the aftermath, one warrior bug is seen navigating a sewer system, having survived the Warden’s destruction.Image2Overall as a one off watch Invasion was fairly mindless entertainment but it doesn’t really add anything to the Starship Trooper universe and they made some bizarre choices I couldn’t get over. If you can put that aside, deal with the awkward moments and want some fodder for the brain then give it a go. If not rewatch the original Starship Troopers, even after 16 years it’s a brilliant film

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REVIEW: STARSHIP TROOPERS 3: MARAUDER

CAST

Casper Van Dien (Mortal Kombat: Legacy)
Jolene Blalock (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Boris Kodjoe (Surrogates)
Stephen Hogan (The Tudors)
Marnette Patterson (That 70s Show)
Amanda Donahue (Liar Liar)
Corey Burton (Transformers)

In the past eleven years of “The Second Bug War”, the Mobile Infantry has improved their weapons and tactics. However, as they adapt, so do the Bugs, and many new Arachnid variants have developed. The United Citizen Federation now finds itself engaged in trench warfare on the frontier planets. The Federation puts a positive spin on this in the media while using its judicial and military authority to suppress peace protesters and religious fanatics as seditionists.

Colonel John Rico (Casper Van Dien) is stationed on the agrarian planet Roku San when the popular Sky Marshal Omar Anoke (Stephen Hogan) pays a visit. Off-duty, Rico’s old friend General Dix Hauser (Boris Kodjoe) gets into a bar fight with farmers protesting against the war. During the fight, Rico stops Dix from shooting one of the farmers. Dix tries to have Rico arrested, but the base defences suddenly fail due to an alien attack. Rico knocks Dix out and leaves to help fight the Arachnids. When Roku San falls, Rico is blamed by the Federal Media and set for execution for insubordination and striking a superior officer. However Dix has Rico’s execution stopped and covered up so that Rico can lead a rescue mission.

On their way back to Sanctuary, the Fleet’s secret HQ, Captain Lola Beck (Jolene Blalock) is marooned on a classified planet, OM-1, with Sky Marshal Anoke, and Admiral Enolo Phid (Amanda Donohoe) suppresses this information. Dix finds out thanks to an officer who thinks this is wrong and recruits Rico to rescue the Sky Marshal and Lola, the latter being one of the few in possession of the coordinates to Sanctuary, which would cripple the military if the Arachnids learned of its location.  An apparent earthquake causes Dr. Wiggs (Danny Keogh) to fall into a crevasse, while the Sky Marshal views a giant eye staring back at him from below. Cynical cook Jingo Ryan (Jon Falkow) is next to die after he takes shelter within a cluster of supposed rock outcroppings, which are actually Arachnid limbs which pull him below. Engineer Bull Brittles (Stelio Savante) asks the very religious flight attendant, Holly Little (Marnette Patterson), to marry him, but dies shortly after.On Earth, General Hauser confronts Admiral Phid about why she is abandoning the Sky Marshal, only to be arrested. Later, Phid reveals to him that Sky Marshal Anoke is responsible for the downfall of Roku San, having been in communication with the “Brain of Brains,” also known as “Behemecoatyl,” through the original brain bug captured in Starship Troopers as he has psychic powers. The Sky Marshal adopted their religion, hoping he could save humanity from the bugs if he could make peace with them. It is revealed that he turned off the electric barrier surrounding the base on Roku San to show his willingness to make peace between the two species. The Federation now believes the Brain Bug allowed itself to be captured in the first place on Planet P in order to pass on intelligence from inside The Federation. The Federation makes the decision to kill and dissect the captured brain but it overhears them and unleashes a telepathic scream, killing a few soldiers by exploding their skulls before Hauser kills it. It is revealed that Admiral Phid ignored the distress calls of those abandoned on OM-1 so she could become the new Sky Marshal; however, she failed to take into account that Lola, who is one of the few pilots of the Federation that know the location of Sanctuary, was with Anoke.Back on OM-1, the stranded make contact with The Brain of Brains, who communicates with them through the corpses of their fallen comrades and soon kills Anoke for his knowledge; Lola and Holly, the last two left alive, begin to pray that they will be saved.  Rico leads the Marauders, an elite team of troopers composed of his command staff from Roku San, on a rescue mission, using the Federation’s new battle-suits. They defeat the Arachnid warriors on OM-1, suffer no casualties, and rescue the two survivors. OM-1 is revealed to be the home of the Bug Hive, the Arachnids’ ruling body, and Fleet destroys it from orbit with a planet-destroying “Q Bomb.”Rico is apparently cleared of charges and subsequently awarded a promotion to the rank of General, and given permanent command of the Marauder program. Anoke is reported to have died in a terrorist attack (staged by the government earlier to explain his disappearance) and given a hero’s funeral. Dix and Lola are married, Admiral Phid is appointed the new Sky Marshal with Dix as her second-in command, and Holly becomes a Federal chaplain. Dozens of peace protesters are hanged in connection to the purported terrorist attack. The new Sky Marshal Phid, impressed with the way that Sky Marshal Anoke was rendered servile by the Arachnids’ religion, decides the Federation should adopt a religion, and a Christian-esque religion is embraced by the Federation.The satire is a little heavy-handed and the effects aren’t quite up to the standard of the first instalment, but, in common with the first film, this movie revels in its tawdriness and provides plenty of tacky, gruesome fun. Not great art for sure but a guilty pleasure nonetheless.

REVIEW: STARSHIP TROOPERS 2: HERO OF THE FEDERATION


CAST

Richard Burgi (Chucl)
Colleen Porch (I Know Who Killed Me)
Lawrence Monoson (Friday The 13th – Part 5)
Kelly Carlson (Nip/Tuck)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Ed Lauter (Born on The Fourth of July)
Sandrine Holt (House of Cards)
Jason-Shane Scott (Curse of The Puppet Master)
Brian Tee (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of The Shadows)
J. P. Manoux (The Day After Tomorrow)
Ed Quinn (2 Broke Girls)
Billy Brown (Star Trek)
Drew Powell (Gotham)

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On a planet inhabited by Arachnids, a squad of soldiers find themselves pinned down and surrounded on all sides by Arachnid forces—even with their new laser gun technology and assistance from psychic soldiers, the Arachnid assault overwhelms them. General Jack Shepherd (Ed Lauter) decides to make a last stand with four of his best soldiers to allow the majority of his surviving troops to escape. The plan works and the soldiers escape, including Sergeant Dede Rake (Brenda Strong), psychic Lieutenant Pavlov Dill (Lawrence Monoson), Private Jill Sandee (Sandrine Holt) and her lover Private Duff Horton (Jason-Shane Scott), and Private Lei Sahara (Colleen Porch). Despite reaching relative safety, the team is whittled down by deadly storms and arachnid ambushes—including the only member of the platoon with a radio, Corporal Thom Kobe (Brian Tee). Lieutenant Dill is unable to command his soldiers as he receives traumatic visions of utter annihilation. He takes his anger out on Private Sahara, who is revealed to have been psychic but lost reliable control of her psychic abilities during puberty.
Vlcsnap-98781The remaining refugees find themselves sheltering within Hotel Delta 1-8-5, an old and abandoned structure containing Captain V. J. Dax (Richard Burgi), a disgraced soldier who killed his commanding officer and was sealed in a furnace. As a deadly dust storm kicks up, they find themselves without communications or back-up for a lengthy period of time and protect themselves with an electric pulse fences. Dax takes command, to the annoyance of Dill, and the two develop a grudge. Dax sees Dill as an incompetent commander, while Dill sees Dax as a traitor to The Federation.
2595_4_screenshotSoon after defenses for Hotel Delta are set up, General Shepherd and three soldiers return. While the troops there first think that all but one of their comrades has reached safety, it becomes clear that all their comrades but Shepherd have died, and Shepherd has been rescued by three soldiers including: the comatose private, Charlie Soda (Kelly Carlson); the strangely behaving technical sergeant Ari Peck (J. P. Manoux); and the medic, corporal Joe Griff (Ed Quinn). With the help of the newcomers they solve their technical issues, including lack of communication, and wait for a Fleet dropship to rescue them. At the base, Soda strips naked and uses her nudity to seduce Horton, and Sandee finds a new significant other in Griff causing tempers to flare; however, both Horton and Sandee soon act strangely, as do many other survivors. Sahara seems to have become ill as she has nightmares and wakes up vomiting. 16-starship-troopers500x300Sahara accidentally brushes Griff’s hand and she has a psychic vision. She goes to Rake for advice and tells her what has happened. Rake suggests that Sahara is simply pregnant, which can cause visions, make girls temperamental, and make them think that “they know it all”. Eventually private Sahara and Dax, the male ex-hero of the federation, find themselves facing a new breed of Arachnid—a bug that infests the human body by entering through the mouth and propagating inside the brain. They go to Dill with their news and make amends with him, also learning that he only made bad decisions because of the visions he was having and that he feels incredibly guilty over the loss of men under his command during the escape. Sahara tells Dill that she has been receiving parts of the vision as well, and Dill tells Sahara that an occasional side-effect of pregnancy is the temporary return of the psychic abilities lost at puberty.  Soon after making amends, Dill captures several infected soldiers to be studied, but as he insults them another infected soldier kills him with the knife that Dax had given him. The murder is blamed on Dax, as his name was inscribed on the knife, and he is imprisoned.starship-troopers-2-hero-of-the-federation-4-1

Eventually a dropship arrives to find all the troopers infected, including Shepherd who, if returned to Earth, may infect the leaders of the Federation. Rake takes multiple adrenaline shots, managing to wound one infected soldier and kill another before freeing Dax, but then kills herself because she has also been infected. A soldier attempts to infect Sahara, but she manages to kill him and escape. Sahara uses her restored psychic abilities to read the mind of the Arachnid that had attempted to control Rake’s mind, and discovers the bugs plan: use General Shepherd to infest High Command allowing the bugs to wipe out the human race and cause Sahara’s vision to come true. Sahara and Dax kill the rest of the infected troops, and make it to the roof to confront the infected Shepherd just as the pulse fences fail. Shepherd is about to be rescued when Dax kills him. He gets Sahara onto the ship and tells the bewildered crew that she holds information vital to the survival of the Federation. He then refuses to get onto the ship (“Murderers don’t go home!”) and dies in a blaze of glory, fending off bugs.Image2

Planet Earth, one year later. Sahara, now discharged from the military, attends a recruiting seminar with her newborn infant son to speak about her experience, and of Dax’s actions whom she credits with saving her life. Although Dax is labeled as a Hero of the Federation, his death is shrouded in propaganda as the Federation uses his end as a means of recruitment. As Sahara leaves the recruiting station, the recruiting officer approaches her to thank her for attending and also tells her to raise her son well, as “We need fresh meat for the grinder.” Sahara is visibly alarmed and flees the recruiting station, which has no effect on the recruiter.Starship-Troopers-2-Hero-of-the-Federation-images-4b4260aa-6a95-4cfb-9b4c-15afad4a192Providing you take this film to be a story related to the Starship Troopers universe and not as a direct follow on to the first you won’t be disappointed. It was never going to compare to the first in terms of grandeur but it does have all the requirements to make it a enjoyable and entertaining watch.

REVIEW: STARSHIP TROOPERS

 

CAST

Casper Van Dien (Mortal Kombat: Legacy)
Dina Meyer (Birds of Prey)
Denise Richards (Valentine)
Jake Busey (Fast Sofa)
Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Patrick Muldoon (Stigmata)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Seth Gilliam (Oz)
Marshall Bell (A Nightmare On Elm Street 2)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Amy Smart (Road Trip)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Anthony Ruivivar (Scream: The Series)

In the 23rd century, Earth has become a space-faring federation. While colonizing new planets, humans have encountered an insectoid species known as Arachnids or “Bugs”, with their home being the distant world Klendathu. The bugs appear to be little more than killing machines, though there are suggestions that they were provoked by the intrusion of humans into their habitats. In the federation, citizenship is a privilege earned by serving through such activities as military service; citizens are granted opportunities prohibited to others. John “Johnny” Rico, his girlfriend Carmen Ibanez and best friend Carl Jenkins attend high school in Buenos Aires. Fellow student Isabel “Dizzy” Flores is in love with Rico, but he does not reciprocate. They enlist in the Federal Service after graduation. Carmen becomes a spaceship pilot assigned to the Rodger Young, while psychically gifted Carl joins Military Intelligence. Rico enlists in the Mobile Infantry expecting to be with Carmen, but is surprised to find Dizzy, who wanted to be near him. At Mobile Infantry training, brutal Career Sgt. Zim leads the recruits. Rico is promoted to squad leader and befriends Ace Levy. He later receives a Dear John letter from Carmen, as she desires a career with the fleet and serves under Rico’s high school sports rival, Zander Barcalow. After a live-fire training incident that kills one of Rico’s squad, he is demoted and flogged. He resigns and calls his parents, but the call is cut off when an asteroid, launched by the Arachnids, obliterates Buenos Aires, killing his family and millions more. Rico rescinds his resignation and remains with the Infantry as an invasion force is deployed to Klendathu.The first strike on Klendathu is a disaster, with heavy casualties. Rico is wounded and mistakenly classified KIA, causing Carmen to believe he is dead. Rico, Ace and Dizzy are reassigned to the ‘Roughnecks’, commanded by Lt. Jean Rasczak, Rico’s former high school teacher. Rico is promoted to corporal and eventually reciprocates Dizzy’s love for him. The Roughnecks respond to a distress call from Planet “P”, where they discover an outpost that has been devastated by Bugs. The distress call ends up being a trap and the Arachnids swarm the outpost. Rico, now Acting Sergeant, euthanizes a mortally wounded Rasczak after a Tanker Bug bites his legs off, and after a Bug stabs Dizzy in the torso, she dies in Rico’s arms as they are rescued by Carmen and Zander. Rico and Carmen reconnect and encounter Carl, now a high-ranking intelligence officer, at Dizzy’s funeral. Carl reveals that there is a reason to believe an intelligent “brain bug” is directing the other Bugs and can learn about the humans. He field-promotes Rico to lieutenant and gives him command of the Roughnecks, ordering the infantry to return to “P” and capture the brain bug.As Rico’s Roughnecks join the mission, the Fleet encounters fire from the Bugs and Carmen’s ship is destroyed. The escape pod carrying Carmen and Zander crashes into the Bug tunnel system near Rico. Unknowingly guided by a psychic suggestion from Carl, Rico takes soldiers Ace and Sugar Watkins into the tunnels to rescue both. They find Carmen and Zander surrounded by several types of Arachnids including the Brain Bug, which places its proboscis into Zander’s skull and drains its contents. Before it can take Carmen’s brain she cuts off the proboscis with a knife Zander gave her. Rico threatens the Bugs with a small nuclear bomb, so the Brain Bug allows them to leave. Arachnids pursue them and Watkins is mortally wounded, and sacrifices himself by detonating the bomb to kill them while the others escape. After returning to the surface, they find that former Sgt. Zim, who had requested demotion to private so that he could serve at the front, has captured the Brain Bug. Carl congratulates Rico and tells him and Carmen that the humans will soon be victorious, now that Intelligence can study the brain bug, which is found to be afraid. A propaganda clip is shown starring Carmen (now a captain commanding a battleship), Ace and Rico as model servicemen, encouraging the viewer to enlist.If you want to see pretty people shooting up aliens, this film will not disappoint, but there is so much more besides. Its very slightly dated now, but still worth the watch.