20 March 2011

FWS movie review of Starship Troopers 3: Marauder

This is the FWS review of the 2008 direct-to-DVD true sequel to the 1997 Starship Troopers. Unlike the second film, Marauder as elements of the book, and expands on the concepts of the first film, while Hero of the Federation is completely ignored.
Marauder sees the return of the character of Johnny Rico, 11 years after the first film, and is now a Colonel. He as been stationed on the Federal farming colony of Roku San to lead the defense against a Bug invasion of the planet. The film opens on the trench-like outpost on Roku San holding off the complete Arachnid take over the colony, only a energy barrier-fence holds them off from feasting on the M.I. in the outpost. The very popular Sky-Marshall Omar Anoke is making a PR tour of the front, and the desperate situation on Roku San, This is one of his stops. He brings with him, Captain Lola Beck (the beautiful Jolene Bladlock) and General Dix Hauser. Once again, the Bugs kill, people get naked, and everyone looks good while doing it.
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Marauder is surprisingly good, especially considering the foul odor of Hero of the Federation, and marks a return to the Verhoven-roots of the 1997 original, and Casper Van Dien has Johnny Rico, who saves the film a many turns with his skillful protrale of Rico.
For Marauder being a low-budget film, the actors, SFX department, and script all work very hard at turned in out a good film, that is very watchable, not just because of Jolene Blalock.
The theme of the film is the concepts of loyalty and religion, which are handle in a convicting manner. Through the first watching of Marauder I found myself unsure were the character's loyalties lay, to themselves or the good of the Federation. The new character of Beck, Hauser, Anoke, Admiral Enolo Phid (one of the best new characters in Marauder) all bring different points-of-view on the Federation, it's society, the war, and to each other. One of the best smaller roles was of the citizen peace protester...his role made the Fednet very watchible. In addition Stephen Hogan throws himself into the role of the Anoke and singing the propaganda song: "Good day to die", he leaves the viewer deciding if Anoke was a fool or messiah. The portion of Maraduer that sold me, was the section on Roku San, the WWI style trench base and the resulting firefight is one of the best combat scenes in the Starship Troopers series. And of course, the Marauder powered armor...worth waiting until the end to see.


Marauder does pay more attention to the "Verhovenian-style" than the second, making the semi-mocking style conflict with the dire situations through the film. The limits of the SFX come into play during portions of the film, they spent money on somethings, and others they simply did not. Where the HQ of Fleet at Sanctuary is quite beautiful, some of the Warrior Bug animation is down right ugly. While the M.I tactics have gotten better, and they have the 3rd generation Morita rifle, which is now firing 10mm caseless ammo (where have I heard that before?), the prop is massive, especially when used by Captain Beck. Of course, being a B-movie, some of the actors are good, like Mr. Van Dien, and others are simply bad...like, pick-another-career-bad. This unevenness plagues the portions of the movie were there is talking, which always risky in a Starship Troopers movie.
Another element, is the choices on how the scenes were done. There is a scene late into the movie, where one of the brain-bugs attempts to take control, and the resulting scene is painfully to watch...good idea, bad execution. It seems that the director and producer suffer for a lack of imagination when working around the limits of their budget.  


What sends Marauder off the rails towards the end, is the presentation of the new "God-Bug", or Behemecoatyl (trying saying that three times fast!). If the SFX budget woudn't allow for what the filmmakers wanted why didn't they go with a more "psychological" approach to Behemecoatyl? 
While the concept is interesting and how it interacts with Anoke, but the result on film looks like a rubber-puppet from Mystery Science Theater 3000! It ruins the end of the film when the Marauder APS unit finally shows up and starts kicking bug ass. The actors themselves seem to have trouble getting into the scene with it, making the performances woody. Another bitch I have about the Starship Troopers films is the nudity. Now, I am a male, I like the way a woman looks, and nudity should be there if it is needed, not to spice up a bad film. Marauder does this during the suit integration seen, which could have been a cool concept, expect, that all the actors (male and female) get full naked to stand in a scanner.
Now, my hats off to Mr. Van Dien for not shying away from the camera, but still it was unneeded and comes off as lame.  

Should You Buy It?

I exchanged the utter terrible HALO:Legends (see review) for this DVD, and I think I made the better deal. If you liked or loved the first Starship Troopers film, then I think it is safe bet that Marauder is something worth the money, especially if you pick it up used.
Just be warned, you are buying a firm, well-made B movie, the 1997 film is still superior in direction, action, and SFX.

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