Why Starship Troopers was a great movie


When I was 11 years old, I saw the previews for what I thought looked to be the coolest movie ever, Starship Troopers, a futuristic war film where the human race was fighting giant bugs! I remember clearly on the day the film came out, I read the LA times review (in a newspaper for those of you too young to know what those are), and was even more exciting reading that it had the most ammo used in any film to date! Oh the joy my heart was filled with when my dad said he wanted to see it too, and after he was off work I was able to sit in an air conditioned movie theater and become introduced to the saga of Johnny Rico.

I honestly thought that it was the coolest movie I had ever seen at the time and went out to the Wherehouse (a store that sold music) to find the soundtrack and pick up any collectibles related to the film, which at the time wasn’t much. I couldn’t believe that people weren’t happy with the movie, that a movie about a war against giant bugs wasn’t making critics excited, but then again I was just a child. I watched the movie more and more over the years on VHS, DVD, and eventually owning two copies of the Blu-ray which I still watch every few months. But as I grew up, I started picking up the not-so-subtle political subtext to the film which now I conclude actually made the film better. If you don’t know what I am talking about, you probably need to look at CNN.com more and less of TMZ.

In Starship Troopers it starts with a propaganda video which seems to run either through a Tivo-like device or computer where users can learn more about the government’s war efforts. It is presented in a medium much similar to what was used during World War II to entice young soldiers into joining the service making the war effort look fun and patriotic. But in the film the only way to be a citizen was to be in the military or you would just be considered a civilian which offered much better advantages. But in the story following trooper Johnny Rico, he went through training where he learned how tough the sergeants were, how people die during training, how every mission wasn’t successful, how to deal with the loss of loved ones and friends during war, and how military branches didn’t get along. This brings the reality of the war effort to the big screen without really saying it to those who aren’t familiar with politics or have friends in the military who can talk about this.

The one thing that I never understood was how Johnny Rico could pick Diz while holding out for Carmen, since love was still an unknown subject to me at the time. But now I see hey, if you are single, get it while you can. It was also my first introduction to Denise Richards which honestly… damn. Doogie Howser was awesome in it who is now one of my favorite actors. God bless Neil Patrick Harris; Dizzy Flores, the bad ass female soldier who wants nothing more than to win the affection of Johnny Rico; and Jake Busey, the son of Gary Busey (but without the crazy), for providing more comedy throughout the entire film. There were characters like Zander who was the main character’s rival, the teacher and bad ass military man Rasczak, and Watkins who died a noble death. It seriously provided every aspect of character one could hope to see in a movie.

But some people still consider Starship Trooper to be one of the worst sci-fi films ever, receiving mixed reviews among critics. I wasn’t aware at the time that fans of Robert Heinlein’s books were extremely upset with the film. I myself still love the film and know many people who agree that it is a great film, but I guess that is mostly people in my age range who watched this as a child. Considering that it is 16 years old now, it still has better special effects than most movies!

This is one of those films that deserve a reboot because with today’s special effects, and young actors. This film could really kick some ass, but I would love to see Casper Van Dien as possibly the Rasczak character, hopefully running the same name and operating “Rico’s Roughnecks”.

Many of my friends also loved the movie and still watch it consistently quote when we are drinking. Memorable quotes from the top of my head include the following:

  • “Come on you apes. You want to live forever?”
  • “The only good bug is a dead bug”
  • “(Rico) These are the rules. Everybody fights, nobody quits. If you don’t do your job I’ll kill you myself. Welcome to the Roughnecks. (Watkins) Rico’s Roughnecks!”
  • “M.I. does the dying. Fleet just does the flying.”
  • “C’mon you apes, you wanna live forever?”
  • “Rico, you’re relieved a squad command”
  • “Figuring things out for yourself is practically the only freedom anyone really has nowadays. Use that freedom.” (still relevant today)
  • “I need a corporal. You’re it, until you’re dead or I find someone better.”
  • “(Watkins) Gimme the nuke (Rico) You trying to be a hero, Watkins? (Watkins) Just trying to kill some bugs, sir… (shooting the bugs) You like that, you like that!”
  • “Everyone should have a friend like me”

I am sure there are many more but my brain is too excited to watch the film Starship Troopers again today.

Starship Troopers IMDB

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