Starship Troopers: Invasion (2012)

Starship Troopers: Invasion (2012)

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Rico or Big Boss? Hmm.
Rico or Big Boss? Hmm.

Twitter Plot Summary: More Starship Troopers fun, this time in animated form. Rico orders the Alesia to find a missing ship.

Genre: Animation/Action/Sci-Fi

Director: Shinii Aramaki

Key Cast: Luci Christian, Justin Doran, David Matranga,

Five Point Summary:

1. Bugs go squish! Boom!
2. Gratuitous animated nudity? Nah, does nothing for me.
3. Rico looks like Big Boss from Metal Gear Solid.
4.  Best way to deal with a giant bug? A knife fight to the death, naturally.
5. Oh noes! Sequel opportunities!

Starship Troopers, a franchise spawned from the books of Robert Heinlein and with this entry marking four films since the original in 1997. Review coming soon, honest. Invasion marks a change of pace and a change of style, as rather than making a live action sequel they’ve gone down the Resident Evil/Dead Space route and made an anime of it instead. On a mission to find an Earth vessel that’s gone dark, a squad of marines (all of whom are essentially ciphers) are tasked with helping return the ship to Earth. There they find a big bug controlling it and it’s – GASP! – set a direct course for Earth! Cue story!

The animation, rather confusingly, looks simultaneously good yet a bit iffy. The shots in space of the various ships and space stations look tasty, but the bugs, the gore and some of the characters look quite, quite bad. It’s like a 90 minute cutscene from an early Playstation 3 video game, like a poor man’s Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Like Jack Dee with a smile on his face. Etc.

The action’s not that bad, but it loses marks because the film lacks all of the satire and B-Movie style fun of the live action films. The series suffered when it tried to go dark and low budget Starship Troopers 2, which thankfully they realised was a huge mistake before making part 3, Marauder. You’re probably here for big dumb action scenes (check), gratuitous nudity (check, if a bit creepy), and biting political satire (klaxon). Yep, almost zero satire. Your enjoyment will therefore depend on whether or not you’re a fan of the original satirical, darkly humorous edge, or if you think those sequences brought the film down. Personally I’d prefer more of that, it feels a little too much a generic, computer generated anime to deserve repeat viewings. I’d even go so far as to say, perhaps with some degree of heresy, that Roughnecks: Starship Trooper Chronicles is a much better example of what to do with the franchise if you’re going down the animated route, albeit in that case it remove 100% of the violence.

A bad day at the office.
A bad day at the office.

Rico is the same character we’ve met previously, yet disappointingly he is not voiced by Casper van Dien. He also now sports an eye patch and bears an uncanny resemblance to Big Boss from the Metal Gear series. He looks like a proper general at this point though rather than… well, rather than Casper Van Dien, so there are some things to be grateful for. Carmen and Doogie Hauser… sorry – psychic chap Carl Jenkins – also return, once again disappointingly not voiced by their original film counterparts. I know Neil Patrick Harris is a busy chap, but surely Casper Van Dien and Denise Richards could spare a day in the recording booth? Apparently not.

Whichever way you look at it, it’s still a darn sight better than Starship Troopers 2, and is only a hair’s breadth away from being on par with the better than expected Starship Troopers 3. If they’d just made an effort to throw in some of the “Would you like to know more?” sequences from the live action films then this would have been indelibly better. I suppose they were trying to branch out with their own interpretation and make it stand out on its own, which it does, but at the same time it doesn’t really feel like a Starship Troopers movie.

Favourite scene: Sniper Trig wiping out bugs left right and centre with her MASSIVE sniper rifle, one bullet at a time.

Quote: “A flash of inspiration.”

Silly Moment: The shower scene. Sorry, but what was the point in that?

Score: 2.5/5

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