Director: Phil Tippett
Starring: Richard Burgi, Colleen Porch, Kelly Carlson
Trapped on a bug-infested planet, a small contingent of Starship Troopers hole up in a deserted outpost and await rescue. Things are not as they seem, however, and soon they are facing an enemy inside their walls.
It’s simply not a good sign when the first time you hear of a movie is when you stumble across it in the reject pile at Hollywood Video. So when I plopped my $1 down for Starship Troopers 2, I had zero hope that it would be any good. Subsequently, I learned that the movie was made in a hurry on a shoestring budget, and that they made the storm special effects by sticking cotton candy onto toilet paper rolls. Heck, even my congenial VHS deck rebelled against the tape. Yes, the omens were screaming, “Horrible movie! Stay away!” I was secretly thinking this movie might be a candidate for the Kaboom Worst Action Movie of All-Time Award.
I was therefore surprised to find myself awake at the end of the movie, and even more surprised to find that halfway through the movie I was actually caught up in the story. I’m not going to argue that this movie was good, but taken for what it is—a B-grade sequel to the original Starship Troopers—this movie was quite a bit better than I expected.
First, the good points. The bugs flitter around the screen in passable fashion. …There are some decent fight scenes, the plot for the most part stays within itself, and the movie doesn’t dawdle along. … Richard Burgi stands out in his role as an incarcerated hero. He manages to deliver his lines with decent believability. …Kelly Carlson (recently in The Marine), playing the role of Private Charlie Soda, is smoking hot in this movie. You get a couple of nice views of her, so the babe factor was unexpectedly decent. …The movie is actually a mix of action and horror, so if you get bored with the action scenes, you may enjoy the horror element.
But try as it might, the fast time-frame for production and low-cost budget extract a ferocious toll on the movie’s overall quality. Many of the action scenes are shot too close-up and come across dopey. Perhaps they were trying to catch the frenzy of alien combat, but what they actually capture is a bunch of people standing around, yelling at each other, and shooting blue lights in random directions. Many of the scenes are shot with such poor lighting that it’s hard to tell what’s going on. Again, this may be to heighten the chaos, but all it does is confuse the viewer. It just doesn’t work.
And there are other problems. The acting, outside of Burgi, staggers along like a loud drunk. The story is unoriginal. The script must have cost the same as what I paid to buy the movie. Plot contrivances toward the end make the heroes look blissfully stupid. I could go on, but you get the idea.
In all, however, if you lower your expectations for Starship Troopers 2, then lower them again, you may find yourself like me: pleasantly entertained by an hour and a half of low-grade action and horror on an alien planet.
The film was shot in less than four weeks, with a total production cost that was only 5% of the original Starship Troopers.
Consistent Premise: 74
Body Count: 56
Time to First Dead Body: 59 seconds (bug)
Special Effects: 42
Overall: 42 (Disposable)