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Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (DVD)

Starship Troopers 3: Marauder DVD review (click for larger image)Reviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Amanda Donohoe, Marnette Patterson, Casper Van Dien, Jolene Blalock, Boris Kodjoe

Directed by Ed Neumeier

Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


Bugs are again invading our lives with the intention of tearing us from limb-to-limb in the name of a unified insect-driven revolution that will see mankind bow before anything that has more than just four legs. Do you want to know more? Of course you do. I know I did. The Starship Troopers franchise once again brings the war into our living rooms with a familiar face, lots of explosions, and dark satire.

Colonel Johnny Rico (the returning Van Dien) is back and killing ‘em all with a passion in this third go-around, but unfortunately there’s an even bigger menace waiting for our hero and his battalion. A planet-sized bug has captured the mind and faith of the Citizens’ most heralded figure, Sky Marshall Anoke. After a series of battles, double crosses, rally songs, nude scenes, and flesh ripping, the final battle for mankind’s existence is in full swing. Thankfully Rico is still fighting on our side. Even better he and his squad now have access to Project Marauder — a top secret series of high powered mech-suits that are guaranteed to irritate the bugs more than a flypaper diaper. Mind you, I don’t really know what that means, but that’s the beauty of films like Starship Troopers. Things don’t have to always make sense for them to be entertaining.

Starship Troopers 3: Marauder DVD review (click for larger image)Starship Troopers 3: Marauder is in many ways a return to form for the franchise. Writer of the first two films Ed Neumeier finds himself in the director’s chair, and this dude, more than anyone, knows what makes this series tick … dark brutal satire, of which there is a ton to be found here. Yep, bug ass-kicking hasn’t been this good in a long time, but damnit, there are a couple of missteps along the way that bring things down a notch or two.

The first is a slight lack of hard core gore. Don’t get me wrong; there are moments of madcap violence that will satisfy our inner bloodlust, but there’s just not enough of them. The first film and even the second to some extent were simply vicious. The violence here seems to have been more of an afterthought than a primary focus. I don’t think this was due in part to the movie’s R-rating either. It was probably more of a budgetary problem than anything else. Still, what is here is gooey fun.

Another issue is its strange out-of-nowhere turn to Christianity. Ever hear the Our Father prayer recited over a battle scene? It almost sounds crazy enough to be powerful, doesn’t it? There’s no doubt in my mind that Neumeier was going for the poke-fun-at-religion in politics and war angle, and there are moments when it’s pretty damned funny. But then … then there are moments in which it feels as if the subject of the lord saving us is dealt with a little too heavy-handedly and seriously. It’s like hearing someone tell ten jokes and having them only deliver three punchlines. These moments are just plain awkward and out of place. Couple all that with an anti-climactic ending, and you get a sadly uneven recipe for entertainment. Don’t let all that dissuade you though; despite its weirdness and minor flaws Starship Troopers 3: Marauder delivers almost everything we could have wanted in a sequel.

Starship Troopers 3: Marauder DVD review (click for larger image)And the DVD delivers in the supplemental department too. Well, sort of. Things kick off with two commentaries. The first with Neumeier, producer David Lancaster, and visual effects supervisor Robert Skotak is a bit of a snoozer in terms of a listen. All three participants speak in a sort of monotone that’s bound to not keep your interest. Instead, head right to the second one with Neumeier and stars Casper Van Dien and Jolene Blalock. While not exactly a tour-de-force of anecdotes and hilarity, it’s still tons more fun than the aforementioned one. Once you’re done listening, it’s time for the two featurettes.

First up there’s the eleven-minute Evolution: The Bugs of Starship Troopers 3: Marauder featurette, which is exactly what it says it is. The creatures in this flick are a great combination of puppetry and CGI. Seeing how it all came together is pretty damned interesting. Next up is the fourteen-minute Enlist: Mobile Infantry featurette. Here’s where you will find the bulk of the cast and crew interviews if that’s your bag. Honestly, this is pretty cookie-cutter stuff. “Do you want to know more?” Umm … No thanks. Fanboys only. Now for the true bright spot of the DVD — the extended music video for Sky Marshall Anoke’s “It’s a Good Day to Die”. See it. Sing along with it. Love it. Brilliant stuff!

For everyone out there looking for a good bug hunt, look no further. Starship Troopers 3: Marauder is true to the heart and spirit of the first film. Despite its strange turns fans will have a blast watching it. You can sign this soldier up for part four, but please, just keep your Christ out of the war. Thanks, and see you on the bounce!

Special Features

  • Audio commentary by director Ed Neumeier, producer David Lancaster, visual effects supervisor Robert Skotak
  • Audio commentary by director Ed Neumeier and stars Casper Van Dien and Jolene Blalock
  • Evolution: The Bugs of Starship Troopers 3: Marauder featurette
  • Enlist: Mobile Infantry featurette
  • “It’s a Good Day to Die” — extended music video by Sky Marshall Anoke

    Film:

    3 1/2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    3 1/2 out of 5

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  • Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

    • Gus Bjork

      I would imagine there are some minor spoilers following….

      Your review was spot-on with my thoughts. Flawed but fun. There were dull stretches with the group stuck on the bug planet but they would cut back to other action before it became intolerable. CGI was a mixed bag but what can you really expect? In the end, I would have prefered they used that time to expand on things like the farm planet and Rico’s Marauder team.

      The Christian stuff was supposed to be overdone and irritating, there was no agenda there like espousing a belief. Recall the Federation by the end becomes Christian as just another method of control. Which is a complaint I have with the series as a whole, there’s too many winks at the audience to let you be challenged by concepts. To me this would be an interesting sci-fi series, a sort of evil Star Trek.

      Oh, and this is going to date me quite a bit but did anybody else notice a reference to the old Starship Troopers board game when they zoomed in on the farm planet and they had the hexagon map grid?

    • Tsotha-lanti

      High powered mech suits?

      Apparently they’re finally having this resemble the novel! :)

      • Uncle Creepy

        That’s acknowledged in the commentary track. It’s about time.

    • Sirand

      I was surprised by this one. It nailed the satirical tone of the original. Although I agree that the religious stuff got REALLY old REALLY quick.

      The futuristic “pro-war” songs had me in stitches.