Thursday, March 15, 2007

dreamrot's favorite movies week: day 4: Starship Troopers

If ever there was a movie that could be called "my kind of movie" Starship Troopers would fall into that category.

Think about it. It's in outer space. There a giant fuck off monster bugs. It has Johnny Mnemonic's Dina Meyer. Shit gets blown up. And Neil Patrick Harris controls ferrets...with his mind!

Come on you apes. You want to live forever?

It's the story of Johnnie, or Rico as we'll call him. Rico is that good looking athlete from high school who had the All-American smile but was quite possibly dumb as a brick. A retarded brick. Sorry. That wasn't very PC of me. An autistic brick. Whatever.

Rico decides to join the Army along with his lady friend Carmen and chess club champion Carl. Carl gets assigned to Military Intelligence. Carmen is off to become a pilot. Rico is off, however, to catch the short bus to Mobile Infantry.

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Rico starts basic with the typical tough as nails drill sergeant. Along for the ride is Flores, who had a huge crush on Rico in high school. There's also your cocky recruit named Ace. Ace is that guy who's not so much sure of himself as he is full of himself.

Meanwhile Carmen is serving under Captain Janeway while learning how to pilot a spaceship. Word on the street is that she's a little "wild on the stick" but that's a much different movie.

Back in basic, Rico is showing everyone what he's got, even making squad command, right up until he gets a guy killed. In return he gets "administrative punishment". In other words the go all sorts of Kunta Kinte on him (though in a reversal of that famous scene, the guy whipping Rico is black). Rico decides that maybe this Army shit ain't for him. When his home is destroyed by an asteroid though, he changes his mind.

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Earth and Klendathu are at war now. Rico's platoon is about to be deployed, and he's now on the same ship as Carmen. They're kind of broken up at this point. And, she's kinda with another guy. And Rico and the new guy don't exactly like each other. But does the old guy EVER like the new guy? No.

The troops begin to be deployed at Klendathu while the bugs launch their blue doodies into space to destroy the invading forces. It's an all out assault on the planet. It takes a lot of bullets to kill these things. Apparently, in the future, there is now Raid. There's no bug bombs. None of those little glue traps. You kill bugs with your foot, or advanced military grade weaponry. Those are your options so you better be damn agile if there's a spider on your ceiling.

The first wave of fighting goes pretty poorly for our infantry pals. Lots of casualties, and I'm not just talking about their pride. People get fucked up and killed. Even Rico gets punctured in the attack. Luckily, back on the ship, they're able to put him into a jar of jelly to heal.

Did you see the size of that chicken?

It's off to a new platoon and a new battle. Rico makes corporal until he dies, or the Lieutenant finds someone better. When the Sargent dies, Rico gets promoted again. The next battle results in the death of Diz and the Lieutenant. And another promotion for Rico. They're Rico's Roughnecks now.

The whole movie plays like a propaganda film. It's sort of like Saving Private Ryan meets Saved By The Bell meets Star Wars. If the army made a movie this good about Iraq, even my pacifist ass would consider it. I remember seeing this in the theater and being all excited when I left. It was so much fun. And really, there's two ways to go on it. There's director Paul Verhoeven's stated theme of "War makes fascists of us all," which there may be some truth to. I mean, people get so anti-"enemy" in war time that it can be rather scary. One could also watch this and see something very pro-military. Something that is very gung-ho and just an average action movie.

My take is that it's satire. It's a send up of war movies. It's so blatantly propaganda. That's what makes it fun. That and the bugs are a lot like zombies. I mean they're almost unstoppable. And there's so many of them. They swarm.

What's great, too, is think back to 97, think of the movies that were coming out. CGI was good, but not exactly great. The effects in Starship Troopers still look good. It's one of those flicks like Jurassic Park or Star Wars where the effects will always look great.

Starship Troopers gets 9 citizens with the courage to make the safety of the human race their personal responsibility out of 10.


Dunakin House said...

It really was an amazing movie. Unfortunately they had to do a straight to DVD sequel, which though not Bockbuster material, was still enjoyable in a B-movie sort of way.

Hopefully Star Ship Troopers 3 will get back to what made the first one what it is. Casper Van Dien is starring as Ricco again, so I'll pray that it won't disapoint.

Unknown said...

I haven't heard too much about 3 yet, though I know Van Dien is involved, and it'd supposed to be the same writer as the first one, so I guess we'll see what happens.