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Starship Troopers 1997 ****

Although the rampant militarism, exploitative nudity and gung-ho attitudes featured in Paul Verhoeven’s 1997 sci-fi epic have turned many off, there’s a number of adherents who have lost their hearts to Starship Troopers. Satire is one of the hardest things for a movie to do, and while the same director’s Robocop slotted in the swipes at culture within a standard revenge story, the larger canvas of Troopers seemed to confuse viewers. With a truly 1997 cast of Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer and Jake Busey, it’s the story of four space-cadets who set off from earth to fight against the giant cockroach aliens which are threatening earth. While the leads are bland, and their joint shower scene suggests that the director sees them as so much cattle, Verhoeven moves the action at a clip, and intersperses it with infomercial ads that make his satirical intent clear. Several sequels have missed the point; Starship Troopers is a comic parable that makes fun of military attitudes at the same time as providing plenty of bang for your buck.

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