“Starship Troopers” was directed by Paul Verhoeven who previously directed, “Robocop”, “Basic Instinct” and “Total Recall”. Along with Verhoeven is the writer, Edward Neuweimer, who had worked on “Robocop” and its 2014 remake. The film is based on Robert A. Heinlein’s 1959 novel, however is vastly different than the original storyline. It is also the first in a 5 film series but this would be the only one to receive a theatrical release. The film stars Casper Van Dien, Neil Patrick Harris, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer, Jake Busey & Michael Ironside.
In the 23rd century, humans have begun colonizing on other planets but have also gone to war with on foreign alien planet with insectoids known as “Arachnids”. These bugs have become more vicious and deadly with every battle against the Federation. Meanwhile in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Johnny Rico (Van Dien), his girlfriend, Carmen Ibanez (Richards) and psychic friend, Carl Jenkins (Harris) have enlisted in the Federal Service, despite Rico’s parents against it. As Carmen leaves for the Fleet Academy and Carl joins Military Intelligence, Rico is sent boot camp to join the Mobile Infantry. There, he meets Ace Levy (Busey) and his old classmate Dizzy Flores (Meyer). Together, they prepare for war. However after a live fire exercise goes horribly wrong, Rico decides to head back home. While on a video call with his parents, Rico is horrified to see them killed as a meteor hits off the coast of Argentina leaving little to no survivors. It is later revealed that the meteor was launched by the Arachnids and an enraged Rico rescinds his resignation and rejoins the Mobile Infantry for some good old fashioned revenge.
This film was perfect for a 90s sci fi action movie. Nothing out of the ordinary just a nice blend of cheesy storytelling and solid action sequences. It has all the cliches of sci fi, war and even some rom com moments. The acting isn’t all that great but it works for the times. The visuals are actually pretty good and kinda sorta still hold up now. While the film is a major departure from the novel, it has its own entertainment values that took awhile to be truly appreciated.
After this film, Paul Verhoeven went on to direct 2000’s “Hollow Man” while the main cast would go in appear in other films. Denise Richards would appear in films such as “Wild Things”, “The World Is Not Enough”, “Valentine” & “Undercover Brother”. Neil Patrick Harris would appear in the hit TV series, “How I Met Your Mother” as well as films like “Gone Girl”, “A Million Ways To Die In The West” “The Smurfs” 1 & 2 and the “Harold & Kunar” trilogy. “Starship Troopers” had a mediocre box office run but enough to garner a sequel. In 2004, “Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation” was released on TV and was also written by Edward Neuweimer. 2008 saw the release of “Starship Troopers 3: Marauder” with Neuweimer returning yet again as writer as well as Casper Van Dien reprising the role of John Rico. 2 animated films were also released and served as sequels to the live action trilogy. 2012’s “Starship Troopers: Invasion” and 2017’s “Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars”. Van Dien would return to voice John Rico and Dina Meyer would also return as Dizzy in “Traitor of Mars”.