by Ian Roesler
The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinion of Byte or Byte’s editorial board.
I first found out about Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation when I saw a commercial for Starship Troopers 3: Marauder. You could buy all three movies in one case. Naturally I went out, bought it, and then watched it. The first one’s easily the best, but this about isn’t about the first one. Starship Troopers had a budget of $105,000,000 and was an action/adventure satirical movie. The second one came out seven years after the original with a budget of $7,000,000 and is a straight to DVD horror movie. It still continues the story of humanity fighting the Arachnids or “Bugs” as they are referred to throughout the series.
The plot is simple. A group of troopers are stranded at an outpost waiting for rescue. Whilst waiting, a new bug is introduced. This one is smaller and controls people by getting inside them, presumably for budgetary reasons. There are warrior bugs in the beginning and at the end. Psychics play a big role in this movie compared to the first. There’s not really much to say about the plot, however it will be discussed later whilst going through the characters later on.
The character of Captain Dax. He’s a no-nonsense military leader who sacrifices himself at the end. The other character is Private Sahara, she’s one of the psychics in this movie. They’re both the main characters and they’re the best written. That’s about it for the good…
Oh, boy. Where to begin? I guess I’ll start with the characters. For the most part they’re forgettable, so I’ll just focus on the ones that have a decent bearing on the plot. There’s a character named General Shepherd. The bugs get inside him and plan on getting to Earth to take over humanity. This information is important to understand the plot, but he doesn’t do anything in the movie besides deliver some inspirational speeches.
Lieutenant Pavlov Dill is my hated characters in a movie. He is the most annoying and useless character I have ever seen. He spends most of the moving barking orders at people, I mean, he’s a lieutenant so that’s to be expected. What I’m getting at he’s a boss not a leader. He’s in charge of the soldiers until they free Dax from his cell in the outpost (more on that later), then afterwards he spends the rest of the movie arguing with Dax over who’s in charge. In the first attack on the outpost he hides, Dax is released from his cell and leads the soldiers through the attack. Dill is useless and needlessly confrontational. The most useful thing he does is inform Sahara that she is experiencing psychic visions as a result of her pregnancy. What follows next is one of the most idiotic decisions in the movie. He goes to tell General Shepherd about the Bugs. But oh no, he’s already been bug brained. Next, Lieutenant Dill – the psychic – gets ambushed and killed by an infected trooper. The psychic gets ambushed and killed. Sahara, who recently got her psychic is able to detect the bug people, but this man who presumably has had these powers for all or most of his life, is killed.
There’s a character named Private Charlie Soda. She acts as the promiscuous blonde in the horror movie, but rather than get killed by a slasher, she’s under control of the mind control bugs. The way the bugs are transferred is via mouth-to-mouth. They crawl from one host to other and get into their brain eventually replacing it. Soda doesn’t really do much else besides give people bugs.
The next issues are more related to the story or analysis of the film or concepts. The first one is nothing major but, again, it’s about the characters. Not only are they not memorable but their surnames are lazy. Their names are Peck, Sahara, Brick, Dill, Otter, Rake, and worst of all, Soda. Don’t get wrong it’s entirely possible for a group to have those names, except Soda. It sounds like the writers just flipped through the dictionary looking for names.
Next is the character introduction of Dax. When the troopers find him, Dax is locked away in a holding cell with “Murderer” written above it. One of the characters finds his service record nearby and gives exposition. He murdered his commanding officer. A lazy way to introduce a character, but how long was he locked away? He’s not starving nor dehydrated, so it couldn’t have been that long. Also, why was he locked up as opposed to being executed or arrested and taken with his squad to be put on trial? It seems a big risk to bet that he’d die in his cell.
Next is the genre. The first Starship Troopers is an action/adventure satire about fascism and jingoism. The second one is a horror movie and a bad one. It combines some standard tropes but doesn’t utilize them well. The first is the dark and ominous setting. It’s boring and there’s nothing to look at, and at times it’s hard to see what’s going on. The next trope is creepy singing. Early in the movie when they get to outpost they gather around one trooper who’s dying and whilst this going on, another trooper is singing a song to him to comfort him. It’s supposed to be creepy or dramatic. The other instance of singing is the good ol’ creepy nursery rhyme. One of the bug infected troopers is singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” in a dark hallway. Talk about on the nose.
The end credits.
Is it really that bad?
Yes, the worst thing a film can be is boring. This film is so devoid of anything entertaining. It’s not a “so bad it’s good” film. It’s just bad. I don’t care about the characters. I don’t care about the film. It’s just boring. This film is a drain to watch. Nothing is added to the franchise because of this movie. It doesn’t continue the first movie and the third movie ignores it completely. I’ll never get back the time I spent watching this.
Featured Image: Katherine Sinkovics
Ian is a Zoology major also minoring in German. He is fan of horror movies and punk rock. He has also seen an unhealthy number of bad movies.