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3.39- STARSHIP TROOPERS 2 DVD review

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DVD Review: STARSHIP TROOPERS 2- HERO OF THE FEDERATION (SPECIAL EDITION)

by David Blackwell

I had some high expectations for STARSHIP TROOPERS 2, but it does live up to the first one mostly.

The sequel is more like a horror movie as Alien was a horror movie. The first Starship Troopers was an action movie (like Aliens), but it had loads of satire. STARSHIP TROOPERS 2: HERO OF THE FEDERATION is about the dark side of the war that the propaganda hides. There is also the horror from within. Then you have a solider, Dax (*Richard Burgi), who doesn't want to be part of the war and he is tired of the illusion because he knows people keep getting sent out to be killed in the war against the bugs. Dax doesn't want to be a hero, but the Federation might make him a hero to advance their propaganda.

Starship Troopers 2 has some interesting military tactics you didn't see in the first movie. This sequel is about a group of soldiers who end up trapped at a remote outpost on some alien planet where the war isn't going so well. They find Dax locked up because he killed his commanding officer and Dax is the only survivor of the outpost. They must wait out the storm, but everything isn't as it seems as a new kind of bug poses a big threat to the soldiers and the Federation.

The story and direction rule here where some of the acting is just passable. Richard Burgi steals the show as Dax. Brenda Strong is back where she plays a different character from the one she played in the first movie (she was a starship captain in the first one). Phil Tippett made an interesting sequel for $6 million (and you wonder what he could do on a bigger budget). Please bring on another Starship Troopers sequel.

VIDEO/AUDIO: The movie is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The movie does sometime look like film, but many times it does look like High Def video. The video is sharp and clear. The skin tones are right, but the blacks do seem to be a little muddled at times (probably due to the way they lighted the movie when they shot it in High Def).

Audio options are 5.1 English Dolby Digital, English DTS, and French Dolby Surround. There are also English and French subtitle options. The music is at a high level, but the sound effects seem quiet compared to the music and almost on the same level as the dialogue.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

COMMENTARY- Director Phil Tippett, writer Ed Neumeier, and producer John Davison talk about the production of ST2 was shot in 26 days (2 days on location and 24 days in studio). They make out references this movie is like John Ford's Lost Calvary, that they're making the Aliens series in reverse (Starship Troopers was Aliens where the sequel is Alien), and this is like a Korean war movie set in the future (where the first movie was WW II in the future). They tell the story of how the part of Dax was originally written as Zim (but Clancy Brown wasn't able to return as Zim since Carnivale got picked up as a series). They even had to cut some pages out of the script because they fell behind on the shooting schedule.

STARSHIP TROOPERS 2: INSIDE THE FEDERATION- This 30 minute featurette covers the making of Starship Troopers 2 with behind-the-scenes footage including a visit from Ray Harryhausen to the set of ST2, footage from the movie, and interviews with the cast and crew.

FROM GREEN SCREEN TO SILVER SCREEN- This nine minute featurette is narrated by Eric Leven (Visual Effects Supervisor) as he takes one through the various stages of visual effects for 4 scenes in the movie from storyboard to animatic to background plate to animation to rotoscope to lighting to composite to the final shot.

TRAILERS- Yep, there are some forced trailers before you get to the menu (A short Hellboy trailer, Steamboy, and Resident Evil: Apocalypse). Preview trailers included on this DVD are Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation, Steamboy, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Returner, Wild Things 2, and Hellboy.

FINAL VERDICT: STARSHIP TROOPERS 2: HERO OF THE FEDERATION stands above many direct-to-video/DVD sequels. It has a fair amount of extras (where some other direct-to-video DVDs have less). It takes the world of Starship Troopers in a different direction. If you expect satire like the first movie, you will be disappointed (you only see the propaganda ads at the beginning and the end of the movie). This movie is more of a horror movie. If you're looking for a creepy sci-fi movie (or a Starship Troopers diehard or liked it when you saw ST2 on Encore Action), this one is for you. However, you might want to rent the DVD to see if this is one movie you will want to buy (if you're not sure if the sequel will be good).    Yet this is one of the better sequels made for the DVD market.

this review is (c)5-21-2004 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content (and site updates) at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia