While much criticism has been levied against this film for its (alleged by some, deliberate) deviation from the eponymous novel by Robert Heinlein, this film will be treated on its own merits.
Starship Troopers is the classic tale of a boy looking for his place in the world, and pursuing the girl he loves, and confronting obstacles along the way. In this case, our hero Johnny Rico must say farewell to his days as a successful future-jock in the shockingly-Caucasian-future-Argentina as he graduates from high school and enlists in the Mobile Infantry. He believes the saddest goodbyes will be to his girlfriend Carmen, as she joins the fleet, and his best friend Doogie Howser, the psychic overlord. But then some aliens, or “bugs”, destroy Johnny’s parents with an asteroid or something, also.
We follow Johnny’s adventures through boot camp and his rise through the ranks to commander of his own unit, and perhaps an eventual reunion with Carmen following the tragic demise of his friend-with-benefits Diz.
What is troubling about the movie is why the soldiers, despite being strapped with grenades, never use them against their enemies whose only hope to is completely swarm their opponents. You’d think if you could take them out en masse one would do so, but hey – I don’t have any military training!
Speaking of which, Gary Busey’s son raises an excellent point during boot camp when they’re being instructed in knife throwing, questioning its utility, and referring to modern (i.e. future) combat as a “nuke fight.” Their drill instructor’s response is to throw a knife through his hand, coupled with the wisdom that, “Your enemy can’t press a button, if you disable his hand.”
Somehow, this advice seems less-than-helpful. First, the only enemies we’ve seen of yours don’t have hands. They have pincer-spear-leg things. If a dozen assault rifle bullets won’t put them down, why would you bother hucking knives at them? Secondly, I don’t think any enemy of yours would try to nuke you if you were standing near enough to throw a knife through their hand. Further, if you could throw a knife accurately enough to hit their hand, maybe you should just cut to the chase and throw it into their brain.
I must not have a head for all of this military stuff. And yet, somehow all of this wanton stupidity commingles with the gratuitous nudity and violence to form something more endearing and entertaining than insulting. Sadly, Denise Richards supplies much of the first, none of the second, and essentially none of the third.
This film brings great pleasure and entertainment to the House of Batiatus! Though it will never be champion, it shall train in the net and trident in order to excite the crowd in the earlier events leading up to the Primus.