And It's Not Even Really About an Invasion!

Starship.  Troopers.  Invasion.

Just... just look at it...

Oh my god, this movie is hilariously awful!

I know, I know, way to give it all away right from the start. But honestly, I can't help it; Starship Troopers: Invasion is just a terrible movie. It's tonally confused, it has no central character, it's neither serious nor sarcastic about the universe, it is just riddled with bizarre decisions and minor plot holes, and most bafflingly, it involves the original trio from the 1997 live action film and then makes their characters look absolutely nothing like them. Rico you might get away with by pointing to his scars and eyepatch, but Carmen is now a short, slender woman with short black hair, and Carl is...  Well, some sort of ghoul, I think. Neil Patrick Harris this most certainly is not!

Alright, so what's this trainwreck all about? Well, not much. Or at least, not much that actually hangs together. Some MI are sent to a station built into an asteroid to rescue some other MI guys, since the bugs have gotten loose. Carl steals Carmen's ship, leaving her to get a lift with the MI on their ship, along with a guy nicknamed, I'm not kidding, Hero. And let me assure you, this movie is nowhere near self-aware enough to get away with naming what appears, for the first two-thirds or so, to be its protagonist Hero. Anyway, Hero is in the stockade for Reasons, and when Rico calls to tell the MI to go after Carl and Carmen's ship, which has stopped transmitting, Hero's men declare that they want him to lead them on the mission. It's impossible to really have an opinion on this, because you have no idea who Hero is or what he's in trouble for. Nevertheless, the movie seems to think you should find this heartwarming, and that you should consider Hero heroic. There's also a random sex scene and a random shower scene, and a fight between a couple of MI grunts with nothing beyond the barest of stereotypical characteristics, which is won when a female MI grunt flashes some tit at one of them, inspiring him to fight on. I guess. I actually thought she was distracting him, but then he somehow powers through because of that flash of CGI nipple, so what do I know?

Anyway, with the gratuitous nudity out of the way, the MI catch up with Carmen's ship and board it, to find the entire crew slaughtered by bugs save for Carl, who's having a psychotic episode, offering cryptic advice that would have solved all the problems to come if he'd just said what he bloody hell meant. From there it's all scenes of MI gunning down bugs with about as much success as they had in the first movie, the grunts dying in ways that are clearly meant to be tragically heroic but fall flat because the movie has spent maybe a minute developing each of their characters, tops, and a truly absurdly one-sided space battle. The stupidity finally culminates in Rico landing with a squad of expendable grunts in giant robots to try and rescue the survivors, so that they can recreate the ending scene of the three original characters from the '97 movie but with none of the emotional set-up necessary for it to come off as a meaningful moment for them. It's an homage purely for its own sake, rather than one that serves the story.

Not that there's much story to serve.

To be fair, I didn't go into this thing with much hope of a good story. Really, I was hoping for some great visual action sequences; this is, after all, from Shinji Aramaki, the man who did Appleseed: Ex Machina, and that movie had a cyborg in a robot wielding a chainsaw sword to kill swarms of sentinels from the Matrix inside a floating Borg doom-fortress! Unfortunately, Starship Troopers: Invasion is as far from that as, well, the original Starship Troopers would have been. The action is almost all MI grunts hopelessly firing off huge quantities of bullets to try and kill bugs, mostly to no avail. There's nothing interesting in the staging or the fights themselves, and even when Rico and his giant robot show up, there's no real energy to his fights. The only time the movie feels like it's got something to offer, visually, is when the engine room on Carmen's ship starts up again, though that looks more like a giant casino than something you'd recognize as a power generator. It's honestly a tragic waste of potential, and manages to really drag down the action scenes to the point where I was honestly bored by them as often as not. There's nothing even remotely interesting or new here; if you've seen the original, you've seen all this has to offer.  And considering that Starship Troopers is a sixteen year old movie that looks like it was made on a shoestring, that's really sad.

You can maybe make an argument that ST:I is 'so bad its good', but there's no debating that this is a bad movie. The characters don't even rise to the level of archetypes for the most part, the returning trio are nothing like the originals (in look, word or deed), the plot is beyond wafer-thin, and the action is bland and repetitive. Considering all it could have been, to see it sink to these pitiful depths is really kind of depressing.

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