Saturday, May 15, 2010

Starship Troopers

Today I watched Starship Troopers, not once, but twice. I can think of no better way to spend a Saturday than repatedly watching a thirteen year old B-movie with ridiculous special effects, a man who is regularly out-acted by his chin, and liberal amounts of nudity.

I'm not sure if this was Vorhoeven's crowning glory of big dumb Hollywood films, but that may be because I've only watched Showgirls once. That was a film where you couldn't be sure if Vorhoeven just wanted to display Kyle Mclachlan's bum, or ruin Elisabeth Berkeley's post Saved By The Bell career forever, or just because he bluffed his way into a film stuffed chockful of t&a and couldn't get back out again.

Maybe that was the reason. At every opportunity, poor Paul would have tried to escape the film by proposing more boobs, on the assumption his puritanical paymasters at the studio would have kicked him out, and instead the moguls called his bluff and made him film even more nudity.

Whereas in Starship Troopers, he'd just set out to remake Zulu, but instead of reusing the same clip of five African warriors charging the camera over and over again, he'd got the budget for MILLIONS OF INSECT DINOSAUR HORRORS charging the screen all at once, Michael Ironside chewing the scenery, and hilariously over-the-top Fascist newsreels.

It certainly rewards repeat viewings, for all the little tasteless details Vorhoeven includes. If there's not people having their brains sucked out by ENORMOUS EVIL BUGS, there's newsreels that cut to scenes of massive devestation via explosion shaped wipes. Gorgeous.

On the other hand, some of the plot has holes wide enough to drive a bus through. Why do the plucky fascist humans not realise that insects capable of firing asteroids through space might have some military nous? Why is it some characters can get hacked to death and then regrown in a vat, whereas others just die when they're killed, and that's it? (Well, I suppose that's because one is the protagonist, Casper van Chin, and the other is just the romantic interest. And has silly hair.) And did Vorhoeven spend all his budget before he could get round to Private Zim's acts of heroism leading up to the finale?

But to complain about the lack of plausibility and internal logic would really, truly, absolutely be missing the point of Starship Troopers. The only thing that I think would improve it would be if Jason Statham appeared for five minutes of completely unexplained naked-to-the-waist, oiled-up chop-socky versus a giant centipede, but since he spends all his time in Luc Besson/Guy Ritchie mentalism, maybe he didn't want to defect from the Mockney-French axis to the mad Dutchman. Maybe in a remake. I mean, if Darren Aronofsky can be brought in to remake Robocop and Ang Lee has filmed the Hulk, there must be room for Statham, Vorhoeven and a remix of The Remains of the Day, with GIANT EVIL CRUSTACEANS replacing Anthony Hopkins.

Maybe I've just figured out the plot for Crank 3. I'd better quit while I'm behind.


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