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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 4 5
Starship Troopers
Reply #9. Posted on May 16, 2000, 03:46:33 AM by
I just didn't understand why the combined might of humanity amounted a platoon of light infantry minus the heavy weapons.  I mean even the little green army men we all played with as children had the guy with the radio on his back to call the air support, or at least to coordinate activity with the maybe one other platoon the bad bug things were attacked with.

Regarding the references to "Aliens", why, if they wanted to kill the bugs on their home world, did they not just bombard it from orbit?  Even from a long range?  I mean, you can hit a bridge with modern laser guided munitions (the famous gulf war pics...), seems simple enough to just sit at the top of the gravity well and dump nukes out of a cargo bay.

On the other hand, the beat up spaceships coming back to port near the beginning was cool, and seeing SS Hauptman Doogie was priceless.
Starship Troopers
Reply #10. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Max Gardner
The film was not intended as a faithful adaptation of Heinlein's book.  It is not realistic from a military standpoint, nor was it meant to be.  It lampooned its source material, twisting Heinlein's work (labeled fascistic at the time of its publication) back on itself to provide a squeaky-clean soap-opera military regime.  In the end, both the novel and the film proved uncannily prescient.  The novel scares the hell out of me.  I prefer the film.  It's essentially the difference between and
Starship Troopers
Reply #11. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Bats
Doogie Himmler - ROFLOL!!


Actually, I hate Starship Bloopers with a passion.  Homer Simpson accurately described the soldiers in this film when he said 'they were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.'  What the hell was going on inside those Sky Marshals' heads when they said, 'yeah we'll just drop 100,000 grunts on an unknown planet without any tanks or artillery or air support or even a MASH.'  Like, duh?  And presumably by the time this story is set the US has conquered Argentina, I suppose?  That's the only reason I can come up with for all those California accents in Buenos Aires.  As for the performances, well...  Did these people just wander in off the set of Baywatch or something?   I mean, Denise Richards = babe.  Casper van Diem = ex-lifeguard (true!)  Neither of them convinced as rough, tough space hombres (hombrettes?).   Of the two, Denise Richards is easily the worst, and by far the most irritating character in the film.  I was really disappointed when the brain bug passed her up in favour of Zander.

Oh, and those escape capsule things in the Rodger Young... they bore a none-too-subtle resemblance to the Hammerhead cockpits from Space: Above And Beyond, or is that just me being picky about this dreadful mishmash of a movie?
Starship Troopers
Reply #12. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Chadzilla
I would watch this a second time simply to see the battle sequences and Michael Ironside again,  other than those to reasons, well there just aren't any.  Robocop was far superior to this.
Starship Troopers
Reply #13. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Ukemist
This movie makes little sense if you've read the novel, and less if you haven't.  I enjoyed the sheer senseless gore, but that's all.  It could have been a great movie, and I doubt it was budget constraints that led to its idiocies (power armor is no harder to animate than bugs).

It strikes me that this movie was made by people who /hated/ the book.  Heinlein must be rolling in his grave.  They cut out everything that made sense, such as the capabilities and uses of the infantry (dropped like bombs from space in flying power armor armed with nukes), and flatly reversed key statements ("these bugs have spaceships, they are obviously smart" to "these are bugs, and can't be smart"; the brain bug was supposed to be a strategic mastermind, a genius among intelligent bugs, not the only intelligent bug).  Our Hero was whipped (but not booted out) for f**king up so royally that someone /died/ (in an insanely and needlessly dangerous live-fire training situation), rather than for not treating a harmless sim-nuke like a real nuke; similarly, the trainers were callous and abusive WRT physical damage, rather than sympathetic, though rough (in the movie scene the trainer cruelly spikes the guy's hand with a knife after he asks why they bother with these weapons; in the same scene in the book, it leads into the question of why they don't just use orbital bombardment for everything, and the trainer has a discussion with him about the role of the infantry and suggests that if he has such doubts, perhaps he should drop out).

Incidentally, simple labels like "fascism" don't do the political system in the book justice.  Veterans vote, soldiers don't, there's no draft and soldiers can quit any time except during combat (or when facing court martial); by all appearances they have at least the free speech and other personal freedoms of modern-day USA.  Most people don't consider it worth the bother to earn a vote, and some openly speak out against the political system (to the annoyance, but not retribution, of the government); there is no evidence of propaganda (outside of public schools, where the "propaganda" presented is not primarily facts, but philosophical arguments).  Minor crimes (such as drunk driving) are punished by public lashing, and major crimes (such as murder) by execution (nothing inherently fascist about this, whether you consider it brutal or not; it depends on what laws are being enforced).  People complain about "it works because it works" logic explaining the success of their society, but it's actually "we know it works because we've seen it work", which I think was a hint from Heinlein not to accept his vision thoughtlessly: "in the real world we /haven't/ seen it work, so /we/ don't know, it's just an idea".

The movie was built like an effigy of Heinlein soaked in kerosene with boxes of matched piled around it.  Burn, straw-man, burn!

Of course, most people don't know Heinlein, either to love him or hate him, so they just got a stupid movie that didn't make any sense.
Starship Troopers
Reply #14. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Joe
This movie is cool, but it isn't as gory as everyone says that it is-- lots of movies are gorier than this! But anyway, the special computerized effects are really cool.  I liked the brain bug.  It's cute... in its own way.  But I liked the part where the beetles shoot meteorites out of their butts and the part(s) that were censored.  The brain bug one was good, but the cow one where it got ripped to pieces was by far better.  I love this film!!!!!!!!!!!
Starship Troopers
Reply #15. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by lostmissy
RAH wrote this book in response to what he viewed as a wave of "pacificism" that swept over the US during the late 50's and early 60's . It was a thought provoking novel about the role and purpose of the military in a modern society and the responsibility of the citizentry to that society. How that book became this movie reflects more on the society that we have become (dumbing down is the phrase that comes to mind)then the "fascist" ideals that RAH was roasted for then (really a military coming of age book). gut the book of any intelligence, then whip up a mishmash of alien/species/star wars/private ryan/titanic ( i dunno ) ripoffs that is cobbled together with as much violence as time and dollars will allow. Then add the sorriest group of actors (except Michael Ironside)that ever embarrassed themselves before an audience..god I was pulling for the bugs!!!
Starship Troopers
Reply #16. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Gaz
Starship Troopers is the most fun i've had watching a film. It's basically an updated WW2 flick with enough twists and emotion to reach any hard hearted SOB.

Check out the animated series as well. it kicks ass!
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