I've spent the last few days at a friend's house in Santa Cruz. It's actually pretty close to where I used to live off campus when I went to UCSC. Yesterday night, ensnared by a particular bout of stupidity, we took a trip to a local video store. You see, there've been these commercials on TV recently, advertising the availability of Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation on DVD. Now, a direct-to-video release doesn't exactly inspire confidence, but then again, I wasn't looking for anything more than a sci-fi splatterfest. If that's all the movie had been, if it was just an hour and a half of mindless mayhem, I wouldn't be writing this post.
I actually don't read reviews before watching a movie; after all, I want to come to these things as fairly as I can. However, I often like to read the opinions of others regarding a movie I have seen, especially if it was bad. Now, the funny thing is that most of the reviews I've seen online have been quite positive, which makes me wonder if they're talking about the same movie. The Starship Troopers I saw was really a dismal affiar.
To begin with, the characters are universally bad, and few of the actors are any better. The guy from the Sentinel, that stupid TV show about the cop with the heightened senses, plays Captain Dax, the aforementioned "Hero of the Federation." Only one actor from the original makes an appearence. The woman who played the captain of the ship Denise Richards flew plays a seargent in the Mobile Infantry. So, either her original character actually survived the wreck of the Roger Young, changed services, and suffered a massive demotion, or she has an identical twin in the Mobile Infantry. The other "actors" are all a motley assortment of talentless hacks whose performances would be forgettable if they hadn't been so terrible.
The movie itself is intolerably bad. Though far from the worst thing I've seen (that honor going to ZOMBIE! versus Mardi Gras, a film which will no doubt be the subject of a future entry), Starship Troopers 2 is a miserable way to spend eighty-eight minutes. I've seen porn with better plots, more developed characters, and less nudity. Though there is plenty of fighting, none of it is particularly dramatic. In fact, many of the "action" scenes are so poorly shot that it's hard to tell exactly who is doing what where. Many reviews praise the effects, but with the exception of the bugs, there really isn't anything to crow about. The guns have little light bulbs on the ends of them which they use either to simulate or replace muzzle flashes, I can't tell which. One of the characters carries a long, rectangular tube that I think is supposed to be some kind of heavy weapon. The sound effects are similarly lousy; it's almost like they just went to a corner store and bought a cap gun to simulate rifle rounds.
Now, I'm not above enjoying a few hours of violence and full frontal nudity. I mean, I sneer at the low brow nature that such entertainment appeals to, but there is something to be said about simple pleasures. Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation doesn't really lack either violence or sex, but both are presented with such stunning incompetence that neither are able to hold your attention. In short, if you are thinking about renting or, God forbid, buying Starship Troopers 2, save your money. There's plenty of free porn on the Internet, and better fights are on TV any day of the week.