Roger M. Wilcox's review of

Starship Troopers

(First posted to Bad Movie Night in 2001 or so.)

Other reviewers here have alredy done a marvellous job of skewering this Melrose-Place-inspired Paul Verhooven borefest, but I feel I need to add one more set of gripes onto the pile.

You see, a decade or so ago, I actually READ the Heinlein novel that Starship Troopers is based on.

The book, first published in 1959, is essentially a showcase for Heinlein's politics. In this version of the future, only those who have completed a term of military service get to have a "Citizenship Franchise", which gives them the right to vote. The author's theory is that military people have leared how to work together as a team, and so will vote for things that benefit the populus as a whole and not just themselves. (Anyone who's seen the back-stabbing that goes on among military officers in line for a promotion ought to know better.) He also believes in corporal punishment, in the form of flogging. I think Heinlein was just expressing his suppressed urge to engage in S&M practices, much as some of his other books expressed his homophobia. In any case, the movie actually does a very good job of capturing Heinlein's politics and the whole attitude he presents in the book (at least before they start fighting the Bugs).

But there's one crucial element the book had which the movie didn't: Powered Armor Suits. Half-million-dollar marvels that give their wearers the toughness of an M-1 Abrams tank, the mobility of a world-class gymnast, the speed of a turbocharged Kawasaki, and the firepower of a Survivalist's basement. The whole basis for half of the anime coming out of Japan. The single most super-neato things in the book ... and Paul "Robocop" Verhooven didn't even MENTION them in the film!

Top this off with the fact that, after a year of shooting at the Bugs (in the movie), NO ONE has thought to invent chitin-piercing ammunition. They STILL have to fire 200+ rounds into a single Bug to kill it. If their guns didn't have those Tardis-like magazines with the infinite cartridge capacity, the Bugs would have wiped out the Mobile Infantry long ago.

This movie was doomed from the start. At least no one's made a sequel. Yet.

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