Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (Review)

Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation

Richard Burgi as Capt. V.J. Dax
Kelly Carlson as Pvt. Charlie Soda
Brenda Strong as Sgt. Dede Rak
Colleen Porch as Pvt. Lei Sahara
Ed Lauter as Gen. J. G. Shepherd
J.P. Manoux as TSgt. Ari Peck

The Bugs are Back, and this time they’ve got a plan! That plan? Crawl around and act stupid! Paul Verhoeven’s ridiculous adaptation of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers gets a low budget sequel put together by the special effects wizards who did the first film. Now, if you remove from your mind that the original is based on a pretty good book, the film suddenly becomes hundreds of times better, but is still an over satirized mess. Paul Verhoeven doesn’t bother with the sequel, I think he was working on another film with CGI Kevin Bacon penis or something. To save money, as this film had none, they spend most of it holed up in a bunker, and then do a lame representation of a different Heinlein book, The Puppet Masters. Unlike the last film, this one will neither be known for cheeseball graphic action nor coed showers.

Would you like to know more?

Just to pound it in your head that this is a sequel to Starship Troopers, we get the opening newsclips again, and this time it shows up footage from the previous film, complete with the message that we’re under “Total War!” and ripping off the marines putting up the flag on Iwo Jima. “Would you like to know more?” I sure would, except we learn nothing new from the newsclip, nor shall it return until the end of the film. So we jump right in with a group of real Mobile Infantry marines and their plight of being trapped on a planet, being attacked, with no hope of pick up. It seems the Federation has continued their Custer-like strategy of dumping hundreds of troops into the middle of thousands of bugs with no air support nor hope of being rescued. They got an actual General with them, who knows his troops are all going to die if he doesn’t get them out of there. He sends them to an abandoned base a mile away while he stays with a few others to cover their escape.

Now, bravado is nice, but we learned from the previous film that the bugs eat brains of people to acquire their knowledge, and leaving a general behind for certain capture is pretty irresponsible. In fact, why is the General on the ground in the first place? If the planet invasion is going as bad as they usually are, he should be sipping coffee in his Federation dropship which is just sitting orbiting the planet taking incoming fire instead of backing up far enough away to not be shot at. This General likes to pretend he’s Patton, but he’s more like Pat Sajak. Let’s move away from him and check in on the guy now in charge of the platoon, Lt. Emo. Well, he’s not named Emo, but he is Emo. He’s also psychic, so that’s like Emo to the power of 1000. The person really in charge, as in the troopers pay attention to her, is the captain of the Roger Young from the first film, who seems to miraculously have survived being crushed into two by a door and then burning up while entering the atmosphere of Planet P. She’s even changed her name to cover up the fact she’s an inhumanoid or a cyborg or something.

They make it to the base, which was abandoned earlier, probably because it looks like ED-209 meets Frankenstein’s Castle. Among the rest of the troops, we have Sahara, who somehow is the main character despite being completely uninteresting. It’s amazing just how uninteresting she is, especially since she is slightly psychic, and became even more psychic now that she’s pregnant with some dead guy’s kid. The writers seemed to give her every opportunity to be interesting, and she blew them all. Total complete failure. We also have Billy Otter, who is a naive hick seemingly named after an Animal House character, though he looks nothing like him. There’s also a token black guy, a token Asian chick (played by Sandrine Holt, showing that she should stick to films where she’s topless the entire film as she contracted the main character’s uninteresting disease), a token Asian male who dies instantly (Asian guys can’t catch a break), and some guy named Horton who heard a Who.

The collection of the Federation’s Finest explore the abandoned station, and discover a guy locked in the furnace with the word “Murderer” spraypainted on the outside. Inside, is Colonel Dax, Hero of the Federation. Colonel Dax was originally going to be the Sergeant Zim character from the first movie, but the actor couldn’t make the shooting schedule. So let’s just pretend this is Sergeant Zim. He’s definitely not supposed to be Kirk Douglass as Colonel Dax in Kubrick’s Paths of Glory. Don’t even think of such things.

They leave Dax in the furnace as bugs attack. Lt. Emo is an ineffective a military leader as he is ineffective at being masculine, resulting in several trooper’s deaths. Sahara gets a bright idea and lets Dax out, who quickly initiates “Perimeter Burn” which is when the freakshow compound drops barrels full of napalm on the invading bug horde. The remaining bugs scatter and the day is won. Dax goes out to activate the electric fences, and while doing so sees the General approaching with some other troopers, while being chased by several more bugs. Soon those bugs are toast, the General is saved, and the electric fence is activated, which Kentucky Fries any bug stupid enough to cross it’s path. Since these are bugs from the movie, and not the novel, the bugs just wander into the fence constantly. The General says Dax is alright, but since Dax shot his commanding officer, he still has to hang later.

General explains to everyone how he survived, all his companions were dead, and suddenly three new people appeared out of nowhere and saved him, they are creepy engineer Peck, sleazy medic Joe Grip (Joe Grip? could they get a more generic name?) and hot blonde girl Soda. If you’ve seen any science fiction movie or TV show ever you know instantly that these three are up to no good. This is shown quickly when Soda tries to use her womanly charms to get it on with Dax. Dax shows that he’s a tough guy by putting on shaving cream, then wiping it off without shaving. Then he makes Soda do some push ups. You’d think that would satisfy her innate primal urges to exchange body fluids with anything with Y-chromosomes, but this lady is on maximum overdrive. She announces shift change to Sahara while in the buff, and then proceeds to make the beast with two backs with Horton, who takes a break from hatching an egg and nailing Sandrine Holt’s character to sex up the blonde Soda. Except sexing is the last thing this guy gets, as he’s attacked from the inside of Soda’s mouth. It seems the Bugs recently rented the movie The Hidden and got an idea. Or they sucked out the brain of someone who watched the film. Good thing for the bugs they didn’t suck the brains of someone who saw the sequel, as it’s bad enough it would kill half their race.

Sandrine Holt is upset her boyfriend is tasting some blonde, or “sipping some Soda” as one trooper puts it, so the ultimate revenge is for her to give the goose some sauce of her own, this time by nailing the sleazebag Joe Grip. Joe Grip, also being an infected Bug guy, gives her an STD of epic proportions. This movie teaches you to wear a condom, a full body condom, for the crabs have gone gigantor. Peck is far too creepy looking to seduce himself a woman, and of the two left, one is pregnant, and the other is the superwoman who cannot die. Peck instead just grabs one of the troopers and vomits a bug right into his mouth.

After the bug-filled sexplosion, they get the radio to work, and the General does his best Patton to try to get a dropship, while the infected conspire to infect the General, as their plan is to return to Earth and infect the high command. Now this is a mix of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Puppet Masters, the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Conspiracy” and probably a bunch of other things I can’t recall at this moment.

Peck has rotted to the point he’s a walking corpse, so Joe Grip drags him to where Token Black Guy and Billy are quartered, where he rips Peck’s skull open and bugs come crawling out and into the victims’ mouths. Meanwhile, Sahara tells Dax she’s getting flashes of dread, and they tell Lt. Emo, who goes to confront Soda, finding her naked and covered with blood, as she just bugged the General. Lt. Emo goes all Supervillain on them and keeps talking and talking when he should be shooting, and ends up getting killed by Billy, who must have been infected by a bug hick to ramp up his hick personality to the Nth degree. They frame Dax for the murder, and lock him back in the furnace. At this point the only uninfected are him, Sahara, and the tough chick. Sahara is targeted next, but she locks herself in a room and watches as they get tough chick. She can survive exploding spaceships, but can’t bite a bug’s head off once it starts entering her mouth. Now Billy goes to infect Sahara, as the bugs decided it’s best to just send one person and forget about it. The bugs are showing their planning is as idiotic as the Federation Central Commands. No wonder this war will never end. Billy gets his sorry behind shot in the bug. Tough Girl wakes up and starts beating up infected people. They should have known better, this chick is too tough for this infection crap! She probably gets rid of yeast infections by giving them a good glare. She let’s Dax out, and kills the bug that was put in the furnace with him, then she shoots herself. So she’s dead. For now. Expect her in the third movie, cleverly hidden under a new identity. She’s the Highlander of the Future.

Dax gets out and grabs Sahara, they make the way to the roof to shoot the General before he can infect Earth. They make their way past the string of infected losers who do nothing but die quickly, and attack one by one. Well, Soda doesn’t die quickly, she gets burned pretty slowly and should have stuck to running around naked. Up on the roof, the General gives a speech about the bugs being about order, and thus must wipe out the unordered humans. Now, this flies in the face of the bugs of the previous film, who did things mostly because they were bugs, and whose organizational skill (or “order”) is inept enough the bugs snap at each other, wander around, don’t bother to help each other, and mindlessly wander into their deaths. Suddenly, the bugs are the Borg. Now, I’d rather listen to the hammy actor who plays the General give his “order” speech instead of looking at the Brain Bug that looks like a diseased Vagina oozing pus, followed by Doogie Houser putting up his hand to it to announce that “It’s afraid!” Now that was just icky. Anyway, Dax shoots everyone, and throws Sahara on the transport, then stays behind shooting bugs until he’s overrun. So Sahara goes home and warns the Federation. So they immediately turn Dax into a propaganda tool, touting him as a big hero. Think Pat Tillman. Sahara is then disgusted that a recruiting Sergeant wants her baby to grow up strong so he can become more meat for the grinder.

So, this sequel was unnecessary, yes. It does have a few good points. It doesn’t rip off The Thing that much. It named a character after a semi-obscure Kubrick film. It kept the plot even after a main character bailed. They got an actor from the previous film (even though she died in that film). Sandrine Holt is still pretty hot. The naked chick also has a nice hinder. Ad for the bad points, that’s pretty much the rest of the film. Instead of mindless action, we have mindless suspense, though it’s not really suspense. It’s more like….mindless boredom. The greatest special effect in this movie was making the cloud of boredom that overcomes you while you watch invisible to the naked eye. I didn’t even notice how bored I was until the film was almost over. It’s hypnotic boredom, it catches you unaware and won’t let go, like an angry crab at the beach.

Rated 4/10 (We got Bugs!, We got Sandrine!, We got Gross!, We got Emo!)

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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!