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DVD Review: Starship Troopers: Invasion

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Invasion Screenshot

Starship Troopers: Invasion is the fourth entry in the film series, and the first to be done in full CGI. There’s all the blood and boobs here you’d expect from a Starship Troopers movie; however, the gore and poorly-animated female butts will only appeal to sad pubescent boys. Those of you who are all grown up are advised to rent something else.

The first Starship Troopers (1997) is a guilty pleasure of mine. The hyper-violent original is a fun movie, if you can get past the poor direction and terrible acting. Sadly, the two direct-to-video sequels that follow lack the same appeal as the original and, in my opinion, are virtually unwatchable. Invasion is definitely an improvement over the last two films, but it still doesn’t have the same cool factor as the first outing — in part due to the fact that this is an animated movie.

My first impression of the animation was that it looked terrible. Invasion feels more like a video game than a movie; all the characters look stiff and rigid, as if they came straight from a video game cinematic. Eventually I got used to the CGI, but nothing ever looks particularly good. The animation is in desperate need of some creativity, and it lacks any defining value worth mentioning.

Young men are clearly the audience here, since every scene features a torn limb or a naked CGI hottie. None of the gore is particularly shocking, and none of the sex is particularly arousing, largely due to the fact that everything looks so bland. Starship Troopers: Invasion carries an “R” rating, but I’m not really sure why; it isn’t likely to offend anyone.

I wanted to see this movie for the blood, guts, and nudity like everyone else, but what we get instead isn’t appealing. Your standards for action movies will have be very low to enjoy Invasion. Most of the action involves troopers spraying an endless stream of bullets at bugs, occasionally dying as a result. It’s all very repetitive, dull, and far too simple.

You’ll notice that I didn’t give any sort of story recap because, honestly, the story doesn’t matter at all. There’s something about a ship hijacked by bugs that’s heading to Earth — but do you really care? You’re likely watching this movie just to escape and have some fun, assuming there was any fun to be had from watching Invasion — there isn’t.

The only thing worth commenting on is the decent voice cast. The dialogue is the typical heroic banter, but at least the acting isn’t all that bad. These are soldiers fighting giant space bugs, so don’t expect to be hooked by the narrative. Still, the script is adequate considering the subject matter.

One random thing I have to comment on is that some of the film’s sound effects are straight out of video games. I’ve played a lot of Halo in my life, and I know the sound of Spartan weapons when I hear them. All this serves to do is drive home this overwhelming feeling that Invasion isn’t a movie at all — it’s a video game that couldn’t find a way to be interactive.

On that note, I find it difficult to give Starship Troopers: Invasion a star rating. It’s hard to find a standard in which to judge the film. This is a movie that feels like a video game, and it seems to exist only to serve fans of the series. I’m not sure even hardcore Starship Troopers fans will like Invasion, but I admit that I’m not the movie’s target audience.

The extras on this direct-to-video release are the typical fare: a behind the scenes look, deleted scenes, and a strange “bloopers” reel with a few minutes of comical audio. You can also watch the film with commentary by the director Shinji Aramaki, if for some reason you have the desire to see Invasion a second time. I doubt you’ll even glance at the extras, let alone watch them all. The movie isn’t very good, and these generic additions certainly won’t change that fact.

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About Chad Michael Van Alstin

Chad is an award-winning libertarian opinion columnist. He's done with that now. Having earned himself a B.A. in Mass Communication, Chad now spends most of his time as a wage laborer, killing the pain by consuming as many video games and movies as possible. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadVanAlstin