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Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars (2017) - Blu-ray Review

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Starship Troopers: Traitors of Mars - Blu-ray

3 beers“C’mon you apes, you wanna live forever?!”

Marking the two-decade anniversary of Paul Verhoeven's now-celebrated Starship Troopers, a satire of fascist military propaganda, Sony Pictures gives fans something fresh with the release of a NEW adventure with some familiar faces...er voices, I mean.  The location might have changed thanks to a reassignment on Mars but the bugs are just as pissed off and deadly and Colonel Rico is all about wiping their guts off of his visor.  Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars has arrived to kick all sorts of buggy butts. 

Starship Troopers, some 20 years later, is still going strong.  In case you haven’t kept up with the ongoing series, there have been, up to now, four films in the franchise and a short-lived computer animated television series.  The latest release, Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars, picks up precisely where the fourth film left off: as a Japanese-American computer animated film. 

And, surprisingly, the fifth (and not final) movie absolutely works by giving die-hard bug killers EXACTLY what they want from the military- heavy franchise.  Bugs go boom.  We cheer.  With an updated lens and a new frontier, Traitor of Mars gives fans some new looks at some old faces.  It even has a return-to-form screenplay that returns some of the satire missing from later installments.

Led by actor Casper Van Dien, reprising Johnny Rico from the first, third, and fourth feature films, actress Dina Meyer returns as Dizzy Flores, Johnny’s long-deceased girlfriend from the original flick.  Don’t worry, fans, the reprise of Flores is handled (and explained) in a rather thoughtful manner.  It’s not a dismissal of canon.  It’s a continuation, thanks to the solid writing handled by the ongoing Starship Troopers writer (and director of the third film in the franchise) Edward Neumeier (of RoboCop fame).

The latest installment is directed by Shinji Aramaki and continues the plotline of the first animated film, Starship Troopers: Invasion, with the demotion of Rico and his reassignment to a satellite station on Mars to train a hapless group of soldiers on the planet of Mars, a planet which has thus far not experienced any zany bug action.  We hop around from ship to ship, catching up with Carl Jenkins, Minister of Paranormal Warfare (voiced by Justin Doran) and Carmen Ibanez, now a captain of the John A. Warden  (Luci Christian) as they journey across the stars to come face to face with a well-known enemy.

And the peace on Mars is about to be corrupted.  Sky Marshall Amy Snapp (voiced by Emily Neves) initiates her plans for a power grab by threatening the survival of Mars and its many inhabitants.  It’s a sacrifice she’s willing to surrender as long as her fortunes continue to rise.  The bugs; however, aren’t so easy to manipulate as humans and their emotions are.  Standing beside Van Dien and Meyer in the battle of bugs is stand-up comedian and actor DeRay Davis, who enlisted to serve as a die-hard fan.

Merging politics with some serious science fiction action, Traitor of Mars extends the already shaped mythos into a rock-solid (if slight) 90-minute afternoon jam.  It’ll hit the sweet spot for those jonesing for some more Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles-styled action beat downs.

Starship Troopers celebrates its 20th anniversary by boldly going forward with this release and landing on Mars.  The film is now available on Digital HD, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray and DVD.

Starship Troopers: Traitors of Mars - Blu-ray

MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 110 mins
Director: Shinji Aramaki, Masaru Matsumoto
Writer: Edward Neumeier
Cast: Casper Van Dien, Dina Meyer, DeRay Davis
Genre: Action | Sci-fi
Tagline:
Memorable Movie Quote: "We've got bugs to kill"
Theatrical Distributor: Fathom Events
Official Site: https://www.facebook.com/StarshipTroopersMovie
Release Date: August 21, 2017
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: September 19, 2017
Synopsis: Casper Van Dien and Dina Meyer return as the voices of Johnny Rico and Dizzy Flores alongside Comedian & Starship Troopers Super Fan DeRay Davis in an all-new military adventure from the writer of Starship Troopers and Robocop, Ed Neumeier.

Starship Troopers: Traitors of Mars - Blu-ray

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Sony Pictures
Available on Blu-ray
- September 19, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles
:
Audio: 
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Sony Pictures continues to struggle with the look of their animated features.  There’s a step missing in the 1080p that the other companies are employing.  I’m not sure what it is, though.  There’s a brightness missing; a crisp level that adds dimension to other releases.  The 1080p HD picture is detailed but dull and a bit more muddied than expected.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is impressive; however, making up for what the picture can’t provide with an immersive quality in the rear channels that is simply awesome.  Black levels are strong but shadows are too limp to sustain the edges.  So too are some of the facial complexities we’ve come to expect from animated features.  It’s a solid film but the release is a bit lacking.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Thankfully, the disc is loaded with featurettes that – as the title suggests – definitely expands the universe of Starship Troopers.  We get a deleted scene and a photo gallery, too.  With looks behind the scenes at the bugs, the suits, the story, and the characters involved in this one, this is indeed a party worth joining.

  • Expanding the Universe Featurette
  • Deleted Scene
  • Photo Gallery
  • Traitor of Mars: A Look Inside Bugs and Powered Suits
  • Traitor of Mars: A Look Inside Story and Characters

Starship Troopers: Traitors of Mars - Blu-ray

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