Tuesday 26 September 2017

Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars ★★★☆☆

Well, I feel old...

It’s been 20 years since Starship Troopers hit theatres, wowing fans with its unique brand of over-the-top machismo spewing heroics and stomach-turning alien attacks. A series of live-action and animated sequels followed to various success, with this year’s Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars being the fifth installment in the franchise.

Could this animated outing rekindle the magic of the late 90s? Grab your Tamagotchi and rollerblades and let’s find out:

The Good

Fans of the ridiculous violence that helped establish the franchise will not be disappointed by this entry, as it was just as intense and visually stunning as its predecessor, something more impressive given the lack of live action set pieces. The battle scenes were at times generally enthralling, and the gore felt as visceral as anything that could come from the makeup department; expect decapitations, explosions and mutilations aplenty.

This is all accentuated by some of the best CG animation I’ve seen in a movie to date. The fluidity of motion often made it easy to forget that the film was essentially a feature-length cartoon, and the character’s faces expressed more emotion than many actors can do in real life. A special mention must also be made about the character model of Johnny Rico, played by franchise veteran Casper Van Dien, who most definitely had some sway in his rugged, handsome presentation. Honestly, he looked more like Metal Gear Solid’s Solid Snake than himself. I too long for the day where I can design an idyllic version of myself in an animated movie…

The Bad

Much like the original Starship Troopers, this installment is not without its flaws, and boy does it have a few. The voice acting is hammy-er than a cheap Christmas dinner, which in of itself isn’t a huge issue (indeed, it’s what made our favourite 80s action flicks so endearing), but the characters are also guilty of being entirely forgettable. Just like celery is little more than a vessel for mayonnaise, the dialogue was little more than a necessary evil to progress to more action. Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but makes you wonder how brilliant this film could’ve been with a better script.

The Verdict

Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars was much better than it had any right to be, with all the enjoyable, dumb fun you’d hope from the franchise. It’s the perfect film to make a drinking game of, set logic to one side and revel in some explosive, schlocky fun.

If you’re not a fan of the series, this won’t be for you, however if you’re a certified bug hunter, you’ll find it to be superior to the live action sequels.


Sir Thomas Baker

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