It is not everyday that you get part political satire and part science-fiction film scrunched together as a mindless adventure of two hours. At least not in the days Paul Verhoeven directorial Starship Troopers came out (1997). Yes, it is the same Verhoeven who helmed other science-fiction ‘adventures’ like Robocop and Total Recall. So you already have an inkling of what to expect — sheer bloodied violence and engaging entertainment.
The dialogues are excruciatingly bad. But maybe that was the point, how generic and ridiculously OTT those lines seem when you are trying to represent yourself as the ‘stronger side.’ What makes Starship Troopers stand out in the crowd of increasingly mind-numbing sci-fi war films is its ability to mock the genre. The film, whether knowingly or unknowingly, comes across as a self-introspective piece of work that refuses to take itself seriously. After all, as they say, it is life, and no one is going to come out of it alive. So all that pretence of bravado by its main characters seems laughable when you consider ‘this’ point of view. And because you can laugh at the film, you know you can enjoy it.
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According to the Empire magazine, studios were not too willing to allow a big budget to director Verhoeven after his film Showgirls tanked. But eventually, the filmmaker’s conviction in the script convinced them to lend the dough. Another thing which is striking about Starship Troopers is its magnificent VFX. Even today, the visual effects of the film seem credible, and that is saying a lot. It had bagged a nomination at the Academy Awards in this category too.
What is also interesting is that upon its release, the movie was declared a flop. But today, it has acquired a cult status among modern American sci-fi movies.
You can watch Starship Troopers on Disney Plus Hotstar.