15 December 2013 | gogoschka-1
Unique, subversive masterpiece
This film is about the ignorance of conquerors and the fact that war makes fascists of us all. Now that doesn't sound like a lot of fun, does it. But guess what: it is fun (by the truckload - at least if you have a pitch-black sense of humour and you do realise what this film is and what it wants to achieve).
Paul Verhoeven was a master at making Sci-Fi films which worked both as perfect mainstream popcorn cinema and as very intelligent social commentary on the direction - he felt - society was headed. And despite the fact that the over-the-top satirical elements and highly political undercurrents in his two previous sci-fi extravaganzas Robocop and Total Recall were only appreciated by a few critics at the time, those two films became huge hits at the box office: because they also offered great action, amazing special effects and overall great entertainment.
My guess is that Verhoeven felt encouraged by that success, and so with Starship Troopers, he didn't just sneak in some subversive parts: he went full-blown satire. Sadly, that didn't go down too well with audiences and critics alike; apparently most viewers didn't get the film at all (the - seemingly - good guys wear Nazi uniforms? What the heck?). Verhoeven even got accused of being a fascist, and it took the director's commentary on the DVD to finally make it once and for all clear what Starship Troopers is about and what the writer's and the director's intentions were.
I wonder whether the studio execs realised what Verhoeven was up to with that film; maybe the director just took their 100 million dollars and ran with it. The result, in any case, is a unique oddity that I personally feel is on par with films like District 9 or even Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove. It's a masterpiece. And much like another glitch in the Hollywood machine, David Fincher's Fight Club, films like that rarely get made (and not with such budgets), because more often than not, they end up as flops.
Apart from the underlying themes, on the surface Starship Troopers also has a lot going for it: amazing effects that still hold up very well and insanely intense battle scenes with more blood and guts than even the meanest gore-hound could wish for. So no matter how it came about that a studio ever green-lit this and gave Verhoeven a 100 million dollars - I for one will forever be grateful for this unique subversive masterpiece. My vote: 10 out of 10
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