Starship Troopers

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STARSHIP TROOPERS, in no uncertain terms, stomps bug ass. The king-sized arachnid plasma-belchers that wiped out Buenos Aires swarm from their hive holes on barren rock world ‘Klendathu’: “It’s an ugly planet. A BUG planet!” There’s only one thing to do: “Join the Mobile Infantry and save the Galaxy. Service guarantees citizenship. Would you like to know more?”

High-school graduate ‘Johnny Rico’ (Casper Van Dien, unfairly chiseled), his star-stopping girlfriend ‘Carmen’ (Denise Richards, OMG!), and classmates ‘Dizzy’ (Dina Meyer, also to die for) and ‘Carl’ (Neil Patrick Harris) sign up for various branches of military service and join the massive invasion force, off to battle the insect hordes on their home turf. Glory = Gory as blood and guts are the cost of teaching bugs who’s boss. Not just juice & viscera—“They sucked his brains out.”

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Robert A. Heinlein’s controversial 1959 novel was worked over in the quote-chocked screenplay by Edward Neumeier (Robocop) for director Paul Verhoeven’s spectacularly designed 1997 sci-fi/action epic. Dazzling, funny, sexy and gleefully icky, it was somehow received by idiot critics as being pro-fascist when it should have been squish-obvious to a centipede that it was instead a wicked subversive satire on mindless militarism, dressed up as a gung-ho WW2 wipeout.

The $105,000,000 invested only pulled down $121,200,000, just $54,800,000 of that in the States, a surprising letdown at 34th place. Time healed its dork-tattered reputation, something the original fan base—how could you not get it?—never doubted to start with.

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You’re some sort of big, fat, smart-bug, aren’t you?”

The effects are smashing, the space critters perfectly hideous, the “commercial” interludes are laugh-out-loud funny, tease-goddess Denise Richards is so unnaturally pretty she’s practically from another galaxy. Add another propulsive score from Basil Poledouris.

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129 minutes, with Jake Busey, Michael Ironside (yes!), Patrick Muldoon, Clancy Brown (‘Sgt. Zim’ ,yes!), Seth Gilliam, Amy Smart, Dean Norris, Rue McLanahan. Ignore the cheesy knockoff sequels.  “They’re doing their part. Are you? Join the Mobile Infantry and save the world.” 

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