follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (2004)

"I'd say we've got company!"
- Sgt. Dede Rake (Brenda Strong)

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: June 01, 2004

Stars: Brenda Strong, Richard Burgi
Other Stars: Kelly Carlson, Lawrence Monoson, Colleen Porch, Ed Quinn, Sandrine Holt, Ed Lauter, J.P. Manoux, Cy Carter, Bill Brown, Jason-Shane Scott, Drew Powell
Director: Phil Tippett

MPAA Rating: R for violence, sexual content, brief language
Run Time: 01h:32m:31:s
Release Date: June 01, 2004
UPC: 043396018488
Genre: sci-fi

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ BA-A- B+

DVD Review

In this direct-to-DVD followup of Paul Verhoeven's big-budget man vs bugs sci-fi thriller, the action may be set a few years later, but as we learn immediately, the problems haven't changed at all. Made by veteran visual effects wiz Phil Tippett (Robocop, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Starship Troopers, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), here making his debut as director, the film has the added perk of a screenplay by original Troopers scribe Ed Neumeier.

On paper, that's a fine lineage on which to venture into sequel-land, but what probably came as the biggest surprise to me was how well the final product came together.

As in the first film, the Federation is still knee-deep in hand-to-claw combat with those pesky giant bugs, and of course one of those nagging conceptual questions I still have lingering from the original is that if we have perfected deep-space travel and shuttle-like troop transports, why couldn't we have developed some kind of long-range bombs (or at the very least improved guns) rather than requiring waves of infantry to have to shoot each bug about ten times before it goes down in a sea of green blood. The reason is, of course, it wouldn't be much of an action movie, and we wouldn't have all of those bloody battle sequences. I get it.

The story this time around borrows more liberally from Alien and The Thing, and shifts its focus from simply rehashing endless CG insect battles, with Neumeier's screenplay following a small squad of Mobile Infantry soldiers forced to take cover at a remote outpost after nearly getting wiped out during a bug attack. The squad, made of properly attractive women and buff guys, is led by cigar-chomping Sgt. Rake (Brenda Strong, who ironically appeared in the first film as a soldier killed by bugs), and she is so tough that most of her team refers to her as "sir". Things get dangerous when Neumeier mixes in a rogue soldier (Richard Burgi) imprisoned in the outpost for murdering his commanding officer, a trooper with developing psychic abilities (Colleen Porch) and a trio of suspicious arrivals (including bad girl Kelly Carlson, who often has trouble finding something to wear).

The CG creature effects in Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation are really quite good, something that usually doesn't happen in most low-budget sequels. The quality of the effects are a definite plus to making this what it is - popcorn-munching good time - and had they been noticeably tacky or slipshod it would have made this film instantly laughable. The new breed of bug that is introduced in the story (though logically nonsensical) makes for some fine action sequences, and Tippett lobs in a fair amount of blood and gore to sweeten the pot a little, including a character whose limbs begin dropping off and who eventually has his skull ripped open like a big goo-covered cookie jar.

We have seen the basic premise of a film like this countless times before, and while Tippet doesn't necessarily deliver anything new with this sequel, he does end up with something that is ridiculously fun to watch.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Starship Troopers 2 was shot on HD video, with the resulting transfer on this straight-to-DVD title looking mighty impressive for what is essentially a B-movie sequel. Image detail is extremely sharp, even in the darkest of sequences, and that is something that this film has plenty of; colors are rendered accurately, as are fleshtones. No evident compression issues or artifacting to be found, likewise the print itself is clean, and free of any blemishes or nicks.


Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Columbia has upped the ante on this one by including a pair of rock-solid audio mixes, available in either 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS. The differences between the two tracks are actually negligible, with both supplying equally aggressive mixes that make full use of all available channels (especially the .LFE—it is a literal bone-rattler). Directional pans and imaging across the front do quite a bit to enhance onscreen movement, adding an appropriate sense of spatial depth to the action. Dialogue—as occasionally hokey as it is—remains clear at all times, even during the loudest battle sequences, and the John Morgan/William Stromberg score remains rich and militaristic above the din of the fighting.

A French 2.0 surround track is also included.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Hellboy, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Steamboy, Returner, Wild Things 2
1 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Phil Tippett, Edward Neumeier, Jon Davison
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo Gallery
Extras Review: Director Phil Tippett, writer Edward Neumeier and producer Jon Davison provide a full-length, scene-specific commentary track that you may find actually worth a listen. All three discuss the trials and tribulations of putting together a film that was made on what Tippett refers as just "5% of the original budget", and they touch on the assorted studio pressures (including what type of cameras to use and last minute orders to remove 10 pages of script here or there). They're fairly open and honest about their frustrations, but at the same time they contribute a string of solid production facts, from the origins of the concept to how Richard Burgi's character was originally planned to be played by Clancy Brown, who was to reprise his role from the first Starship Troopers. This is a nicely structured commentary, full of salient, interesting information.

Inside the Federation (30m:01s) is a better than average making-of, featuring a wealth of the usual pre-production and behind-the-scenes footage, augmented by input from all of the production principals, as well as a good chunk of the cast. No mind-boggling revelations are made (much of the same ground is covered on the commentary), but things reach a cool movie-nerd zenith when Tippett invites childhood idol Ray Harryhausen to visit the set. Tippett's appropriate fanboy adoration of Harryhausen is wonderfully genuine, and it was great to see how deep and true the influence of classics like The 7th Voyage of Sinbad has become.

From Green Screen to Silver Screen (09m:05s) is another informative segment, this time hosted by visual effects supervisor Eric Leven. It consists primarily of detailing how four of the CG-heavy scenes were created, going from Tippett's original storyboards on through animatics, to creation of the mattes, plates and CG animation design, ultimately leading to the completed layering of all of the composite elements together.

In addition to a brief photo gallery, some weblinks and trailers, the disc is cut into 28 chapters, and features optional subtitles in English and French.

Extras Grade: B+


Final Comments

I expected this to be abysmal, and I walked away a fan. Extremely fun stuff all the way around, from the macho swagger of every character—including the women—to some solid bug CG to the thumping DTS track to, well, Kelly Carlson.



Back to top

Microsoft Store

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store