Starship Troopers 2 – Hero of the Federation (2004)

starship-troopers-2-hero-ofWhat occurs in “Starship Troopers 2” is an odd thing, something that happens very rarely in franchise land. First off, I’ll be the first to admit that the sub-title “Hero of the Federation” makes no sense to me. What is it supposed to mean? Is it supposed to refer to the character Dax? Regardless, I would have preferred something like “Dark Corruption” or something to that effect, something that refers to the plot. What’s odd is, this is so very different from the first film, and that was perplexing to me. I’d read about this movie and about how dark and murky it would be from the original film, but I didn’t expect anything like this. I thought the original film was decent for what it was; a balls to the wall action film without a brain in its head, but I liked it, and I even liked the obscure dark animated series “Roughnecks”, so it’s safe to say the writer strays away from the original formula that made the Verhoeven directed original so successful and decides to take its own route in storytelling.

What emerges is a creepy, gory, and horror oriented claustrophobic tale that I liked a lot. I won’t dare compare, but much like “Alien” which was more horror, and “Aliens” which was action, the roles are reversed “Starship Troopers 2” ends up becoming more horror themed from the original film which was just all out action packed mayhem. I liked “Starship Troopers 2” so much because I was taken by surprise. If I’d had known what I was getting myself into, maybe I’d had been harder on this, but I dug the horror oriented storytelling. Here the bugs take on a darker presence and a very brooding threatening persona barely shown. Perhaps for budgetary reasons, but who cares? It works. This time around, a group of Federation soldiers are marooned inside an abandoned base and surrounded by bugs, but suddenly are being destroyed from the inside out as new bugs begin taking over their bodies and turn them against one another.

Now, teamed with a convicted killer and ex-soldier, the lone survivor of the group Private Sahara must put an end to the inner invasion of the squad before it spreads to others. What emerges is a really creepy horror film with a science fiction theme. The whole guns blazing, soldiers fighting element is taken away here, and what’s brought in is darkness, murky elements, and just gore galore, more so than what we saw in the original, and then we have the kick ass character Colonel Dax, a man discovered in a cell as a convicted murder, but is set free ala “Assault on Precinct 13” to help the surviving soldiers secure the perimeter. Imagine Nick Fury mixed with Lt. Col. Kilgore in “Apocalypse Now” and you got this bad mutha. Richard Burgi best known for his role in the series “The Sentinel” takes on the reins of the anti-hero Dax who takes it upon himself to lead the squad of marooned soldiers and doesn’t even realize the corruption taking place.

Aside from the acting which is devastatingly sub-par with performances that border between bad and wooden showing the actors never really did get a hang of their characters. Many of the characters are just interchangeable and most of the time simply forgettable, including the main heroine, Sahara. A lot of things just don’t add up as far as story goes on, like was all the nudity and sexual scenes really necessary? If the bugs could inject themselves in through the mouths why not catch someone by surprise rather than seducing them. It was all like a flesh parade for the simple purpose of showing T & A just to fill in what was missing: a brain. It was very unnecessary to the story most of the time, considering even how some of the people who were taken over by the bugs planned to convert the others without sexual ways. There were many other plot holes and inconsistencies that never did make sense, like why was Sahara psychic some of the time, and not so psychic the next?

Why did the bugs instantly take over everyone else, but it took forever for the bug to take over the captain? What was so special about her that it took literally forever for the bug to take over her body? While the plot holes were ridiculous, the direction was also most of the time even more ridiculous with uneven direction from Tippet which often called for very annoying zoom in’s and close-ups that didn’t just make any sense. I liked the sequences where the bugs invaded the bodies of the soldiers because not only was it creepy, but it made them look creepy with some of them resembling zombies, even the stuttering mechanic who takes on a very creepy transformation. I loved the gore and it added very well to the activity taking place before our eyes. This will please any horror fan because this has a lot of severed limbs, gushing blood, and body parts along with some great visuals including the climax and the many dark sequences involving the creatures. In the end, all it really is is a guilty pleasure.