Review – Starship Troopers: Marauder

August 30, 2008

(I apologise for the quality of the screengrabs for this review – Sony doesn’t seem to like the idea of the print screen key.)

Ed Neumeier should get more work.

He was one of the writers of the original Robocop, and damn if that wasn’t a fine bit of filmmaking (not to discount Verhoeven’s input, of course.)  He wrote and directed this DTV sequel, which I am formally considering to be the real part 2, not that crappy Hero of the Federation movie.  I’m going to forego a summary of the plot, to try & keep things brief (if you’re curious, you can google it, or better, rent the movie).

Now, I’m not going to get into whether Neumeier was right to take Heinlein’s scenario and make it a broad satire (that’s a post for a whole other day).  I want to try to judge this as a film first, not as a rape of The Old Man’s artistic corpus.

Neumeier does a good job of keeping the tone of the original film going.  The neocon war viewpoint, Americal Idol, peace protesters – lots of stuff get a potshot taken at them. 

“Ha Ha” funny? Or “serious” funny?

The funniest (Ha Ha) bit for me – the new Sky Marshall of the Federation (Steven Hogan) perfoming his hit song, “It’s A Good Day To Die” – complete with a “follow the bouncing ball” lyrics. 

I also liked the appearence of religion in the movie; there’s a religious cadet who gets stranded with Blaylock, who prays for deliverance from the bugs.  Jolene Blaylock’s character gets religion too, by the end of the film. Not just vague Christianity either: Catholicism. Neumeier gets in a few shots from “common folk” who don’t much like the Federation at all, too – something the original didn’t have much of, to my recollection. 

Neumeier also got a lot of mileage from shooting in South Africa – that decision alone really opened up the film, making the budget go a lot further.  The CGI seems a little more budget conscious in this film, but maybe that’s due to having some small amount of money on sets and costuming.

However – I’m not sure I care for the political intrigue going on between General Dix Hauser (Boris Kodjoe) and the administration of the Federation, Admiral Enola Phid (Amanda Donohoe).  I wanted plenty of bug shooting, and the Marauders (the powered infantry suits Heinlein had originally written) to appear much earlier in the film.  The intrigue, while going a long way to stretch the budget, takes away from what got me watching the film in the first place – KILLING BUGS!

Good to see Casper Van Dien back in this role, and Jolene Blaylock was OK in her part (she seriously needs to lay off the Botox lip injections, though).  Recommended.

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