STARSHIP TROOPERS 3: MARAUDER
Starring Casper Van Dien, Jolene Blalock, Amanda Donohoe
Directed by Ed Neumeier
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Even though I was a huge fan of the original STARSHIP TROOPERS, I never saw the first direct-to-video sequel, mostly because of the lack of Casper Van Dien. Sorry, but if even Van Dien (AKA the greatest straight-to-video actor of our time) passes on a script, chances are its not worth wasting your time on—am I right MEGGIDO: OMEGA CODE 2?
This is gratefully rectified with MARAUDER, the latest in the ST franchise, with Van Dien thankfully returning as square-jawed super-soldier Johnny Rico, continuing his never-ending battle against the giant bugs of the planet Klendathu. And, like the original, the world this flick takes place in is a pro-war future where fascism wonderfully reigns supreme, anti-war dissenters are rightfully hung and the battle never ends. Some would say that these films use a fictional war to criticize, “satirically”, I’m guessing, America’s so-called blinding patriotism against an enemy and how the government uses propaganda to rile the masses up—or some such shit
But c’mon, Mr. Verhoeven: in spite of all that, you know what’s really up—we just want to see giant CGI bugs blown to bits, with buckets of green goo and guts splattered all over a wary mobile infantry soldier’s helmet. Humans vs. bugs will always be entertaining, no matter how you slice it, or them, up. For the most part, MARAUDER does deliver in that respect, give or take a woefully boring middle thirty minutes or so that is more talky than a whole weekend of C-Span’s Book TV.
We now find the war has moved to the farming planet of Roku San and its there where we’re introduced to two new warrior bugs: grapefruit-sized roly-polys that act as grenades and a scorpion-type beast whose tail emits plasma blasts. Good for them! TROOPERS newbie Lola Beck (the plastic monstrosity that is fanboy jizz-jar Jolene Blalock) and a sky marshal/future patriotic singer crash land after being attacked by one of these blasts, so a court-marshaled Rico leads a platoon of new soldiers armed with super mechanized Japanese-wannabe exo-suits called “Marauders”, natch, which is awesome, but only takes place in the last five minutes of the whole movie. Maybe this should have been called STARSHIP TROOPER 3: THE INTRODUCTION OF THE MARAUDERS?
Half-way through, the anti-war message takes a bizarre turn, displaying a strange (for violent sci-fi) extreme pro-Christianity message where a belief in God helps overcome our otherworldly enemies, most notably a super-huge Lovecraftian bug-god that possesses humans with tentacles! It’s why I recite the Lord’s Prayer everyday myself and look at me: no super-huge Lovecraftian bug-gods possessing me anytime soon (although it doesn’t seem to stop these damn mosquitoes). Where did this message come from? With the exception of the very ending when the government embraces the formerly hated idea of religion, it is actually an extremely heartfelt and sincere message, with no “satire” in sight. Where did this come from?
Yes, it’s well-directed and, CGI forgiven, has great production values, but what’s honestly astounding is that it is the ultimate movie for the Bush administration, and I don’t mean that as an insult. You’ve got Jesus. You’ve got planet-decimating Q-bombs. You’ve got a patriotic theme song called “It’s a Good Day to Die”, that I hope is soon covered by Toby Keith. And best of all, you’ve got the hanging of dirty, hippie war dissenters. I can’t wait for this future to get here! Hand me a plasma rifle, ‘cause I am down with the Federation! Four more years of W!
STARSHIP TROOPERS 3: MARAUDER has its fair share of problems, but, on the strength of Van Dien’s muscular, supple shoulders, it manages to provide a mostly entertaining 105 minutes and, I guess, is a worthy successor to the original’s throne. And, now that I think about it, possibly God’s. Could we be seeing more Christian, straight-to-video franchise sci-fi in the future? I’ll polish up my screenplay for CREATIONISTS ON THE PLANET OF THE APES just in case!