Hewing closer to Paul Verhoeven's original and much-maligned Starship Troopers
than the all-brawn-no-brains sequel, Hero of the Federation
, Starship Troopers 3: Marauder
blends high-power action with a dose of socio-political commentary in its story of gung-ho Marines versus insidious alien bugs. Ed Neumeier, who penned the Verhoeven film, is back as writer and director, as is Casper Van Dien as lantern-jawed hero Johnny Rico. Now a full-fledged colonel, he is dispatched to a planet where the military faces opposition from both the insect army and dissenting citizens. But after a trumped-up murder charge lands him on death row, Rico discovers that he's being sent on a secret mission to rescue a Sky Marshal (Stephen Anouke) who's gone missing deep in bug territory. Neumeier uses the well-worn military movie tropes to launch a satiric assault on all manner of current real world issues, from ultra-patriotism and military torture to religious fundamentalism and even pop culture as propaganda (Anouke's sky marshal is also a chart-topping singer). He lands a fair share of his jabs, and those that fall flat--Marnette Patterson's grating flight attendant--are tempered by sights like a ring of mechanical warrior 'bots forming an angelic halo. Unfortunately, said special effects are not particularly special, with the robots--the Marauders of the title--arriving far too late in the game. But with so many direct-to-DVD genre titles delivering little more than shoot-em-ups and CGI demonstrations, the tinge of black humor that runs through Starship Troopers 3
is appreciated. The disc includes two commentaries, one featuring Neumeier, Van Dien and Jolene Blalock (Enterprise
), and the other with Neumeier and producer David Lancaster; a featurette on the new bugs on display in Troopers 3
, as well as interviews with the movie's soldiers, round out the extra features. --Paul Gaita
STARSHIP TROOPERS 3: MARAUDER explodes with mind-blowing man-on-bug combat! Col. Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien) is back to lead his team on a secret mission to rescue a small crew of troopers stranded on the remote planet of OM-1. Battling bugs, both new and old, the new "Marauder" advanced weapons technology may be their only hope against a treasonous element operating within the Federation itself. As Captain Lola Beck (Jolene Blalock) and the rest of the starship crew fight to survive in the harsh conditions, it begins to dawn on them that something on OM-1 is very, very wrong. This time the bugs have a secret weapon that could destroy humanity. Join the Mobile Infantry in this intergalactic action-packed adventure.