Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Starship Troopers 3: Marauder

directed by Ed Neumeier

Starship Troopers 3: Marauder poster  
The first Starship Troopers movie was corny and retro, and it seems that not much has changed in the 11 years between the making of the first movie and the third. Casper Van Dien is still playing the square-jawed, gung-ho Johnny Rico, and the war against the Bugs is ongoing. Cheesy propaganda bulletins urge people to support the war no matter what, and young people line up to join the war machine and gain their citizenship.

However Terran Command is taking a hard line against what it labels sedition, with televised executions of war protesters. They're also taking a hard line against religion, forbidding any religious worship that gets in the way of war. The new star of the war effort is Sky Marshall Anoke (Stephen Hogan), the psychic singing war hero.

Johnny Rico is now a colonel, but he's doing what he loves, fighting Bugs in the trenches at Roku San. There are some gleefully gory scenes as hapless soldiers attempt to fight off the enemy, although the effects aren't always fantastic. There's plenty of over-the-top slapstick action.

Air Marshall Anoke arrives at Roku San accompanied by Rico's old friends Lola Beck (Jolene Blalock) and General Dix Hauser (Boris Kodjoe). There's a frisson of jealousy between Nix and Rico over Lola. When some farmers speak out about the war desk jockey Nix, acting like he has something to prove, orders them arrested for sedition. Rico disagrees with Nix, and finds himself accused of insubordination. But the Bugs choose that moment to attack the base.

Pretty soon the situation reaches a crisis point as Anoke's ship is attacked, and Rico is in disgrace and facing trial. The Sky Marshall is stranded in hostile territory with only a small team to help him out, and no-one is responding to their calls for help. The planet he's on is infested with Bugs. So why is Anoke behaving calmly?

This movie has a few good comic lines, but for the most part it's repeating the gags from the first film in the series. The tone is also very similar. The plot is full of people doing unnecessarily dumb and dangerous things, but that's part of its appeal. There's also some gratuitous nudity, put in purely so the film would be able to make its full quota of crass.

Jolene Blalock is great as the hard-as-nails Lola Beck, notoriously hard to kill and with no time for religion or wishful thinking. Amanda Donohoe is also gratifyingly sly as the scheming Admiral Enolo Phid.

The movie ends with a couple of the cheesiest scenes. This is brazen silliness mixed with full-on melodrama. It's just a shame that this anti-totalitarian satire offers no new twists on its themes, because its jokes are beginning to wear thin.

June 22nd 2010

Film Details

Year: 2008

Categories: Films

  Science fiction

Classification: 15

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3 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson