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Starship Troopers 3: Marauders - DVD Review

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</script></div>{/googleAds}There is a great mystery to me in the logic and subsequent success of certain direct-to-dvd sequels, especially ones that follow off a high budget hit. In addition to the 400 remakes now being green lit in Tinseltown, the proliferation of ‘brand name' films to the exclusion of quality or originality seems proof concrete that the franchise mentality Hollywood rests so comfortably - and lazily - on is approaching epidemic.

I grew up in the burgeoning decade of sequels, and don't have any problem with following great characters into further adventures with hope for another good ride. But back then the home video market was in its infancy, and those sequels whether liked or not were given proper scope and budgets to believably continue the character(s) journey. Not so anymore. With the home video market on par with (and in some cases exceeding) box office revenue, Hollywood's new cash cow is to pump out as many follow-ups to theatrical hits major or modest as they can with Dime Store budgets onto little shiny discs. And with a ‘guaranteed customer base' ready and willing to line their pockets for it, no less.

Starship TroopersThat would be all fine and dandy, if the product was worth paying for. But nine times out of ten it isn't... and Starship Troopers 3: Marauder is no exception...

This second direct-to-dvd sequel has been given a budget almost three times as large as Phil Tippett's entry into the fore. But, like any sequel, it's going to be measured against the original: a $100+ million dollar sci-fi monster. While considerably better funded than the previous outing, Marauder suffers the same fate of trying to recapture the feeling of a major motion picture with the catering budget of a tv show... and unsurprisingly falls flat on its ass.

Following character Johnny Rico from the original (sometimes), Marauder finds the man ten years on and protecting a bug-infested planet from a well-protected base. Of course the base is overrun in fairly short order, and Rico is forced to abandon his post, but not before being accused of treason by... and old friend? (I know, I know). This friend then decides to save him from a death sentence, and sends him on a mission to save a public relations whore Sky Marshall and a sexy Captain that Rico and.. his friend (?) both have a thing for. Rico is given a fancy new mechanised, armoured suit for the task, and sent in to save the day.

Written and directed by the original's screenwriter Ed Neumeier, Marauder aims for a scale it can't possible achieve believably. Despite a story that relegates its leading man to support player for half the film, the attempts to infuse the Verhoeven-esque biting satire doesn't come off successfully without his inclusion, and only serves to highlight the consistently piecemeal efforts' bad effect on the story as whole. They seem more interested in hitting expected riffs from the original than crafting out a story that tells us who's story it is in the first place.

The effects I'm sure are an achievement for a 20 million dollar budget, but they are impossible to enjoy, considering what's come before them. There are some effects especially the titular Marauder suits that look like they belong back in the mid-eighties when ‘The Last Starfighter' wowed with computer animation. There is no effort... (and probably no money to be fair) to render these effects photorealistic and they end up relegating the cartoonish story into a cartoon-like environment that doesn't blend any more believably than Dick Van Dyke dancing with top-hatted penguins.

The acting is not something to get bogged down in, as even with $100 million a B-Movie aesthetic was always desired.

This film is a perfect example of Hollywood's lack of respect toward the work that goes into a hit initially; lack of effort when they can smell a quick buck off a ‘brand name'; and a sudden realisation that we are to blame! We keep buying enough of this shit to convince them it's the way to go! There are whole distribution arms being set up for this purpose alone (Warner Premiere; Paramount has one on the way!)!

Time to show them you want better for your bucks. Starship Troopers 3" Marauder isn't worth the shiny disc it's printed on.

Component Grades
1 Star
3 Stars
DVD Experience
2 stars


DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 1.85:1

Subtitles: Mandarin, English, French, Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai

Language and Sound: Closed Captioned; English: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1; Thai: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; audio commentary; music video; bonus featurettes.

* Commentary
o Feature-length audio commentary with Neumeier, producer David Lancaster and effects supervisor Robert Skotak
o With the director again with cast members Casper Van Dien and Jolene Blalock
* Documentaries:
o Evolution: The Bugs of Starship Troopers 3
o Enlist!
* Previews - Movie trailers for other Sony releases
* Music video: Sky Marshall Anoke's hit song, "It's a Good Day to Die"

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging


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