Getting things out of the way, Starship Troopers 3 is nowhere near the level of cinematic disaster that was Starship Troopers 2. Someone cared enough about this sci-fi satire to spend more than $1 million on it. Even with the increased budget, Starship Troopers 3 is still a miserable pile with its heavy-handed religious undertones that drag the film on until its utterly stupid ending that’s worse than most of what came before it.
The film gets off to a decent start. Aside from the miserable – although intentionally so – performances, the attack on a small military outpost hosts some decent direct-to-video effects, gore, and a sizable chunk of action. It’s entertaining, and a fine way to open this one up to the audience.
From there, this one spirals downhill quickly. The constant Federation messages are so forced, the satire is tossed right into the viewers’ laps instead of letting them figure it out for themselves. There’s not a subtle line in the movie.
With a limited budget, Starship Troopers 3 substitutes religious satire for action. It doesn’t work, mostly because like much of the political satire, it’s beaten into the head of the viewer instead of being subtle. Director/writer Ed Neumeier knows how this stuff works, having written everything related to Robocop (including the TV series and cartoon) and the entire Starship Troopers film series. Why this one ended up being so overcooked is a mystery.
The finale, with its planet-sized bug king… uh, thing fails both due to its out of place tone with the previous two movies and the visual effects that simply aren’t up to the task. An all-out assault by the Federation’s newest weapon, the Marauder, is even worse. Sometimes you need to step back and realize CG can’t be used for everything, especially when on a budget. This would be one of those times.
Maybe the studio will finally give this series another shot for a theatrical release. With the war-heavy political climate, the series may have a better chance with audiences now than it did back in 1997. It’s just not working in this direct-to-video format… at all.
Obviously shot digitally, the film is both striking and a bit of a mess on Blu-ray (though only in certain scenes). The key problem, as with many movies of this nature, is extensive video noise. Darker scenes are littered with aggravating noise that all but completely obscure the picture. Other scenes impress with a bold palette of color. Detail is simply amazing at times, showing off individual stitches in the clothing and pores on the actors faces. Even the landscapes are a sight to behold.
The low budget continues to affect the audio. Bass is inconsistent, though never truly powerful. Surround use eludes the action scenes, save for some minor atmosphere when it doesn’t really need it. The worst part is dialogue, which sounds unfinished. Random lines come off incredibly scratchy or faded. It’s not your equipment, though it may prompt you to check it’s so bad at times.
Two commentaries begin a wide-ranging set of extras, one with Ed Neumeier and his team. The second again has Neumeier, this time along with cast members. Marauder Mode is a picture-in-picture feature which offers some nice content, but blocks a significant portion of the picture with an unnecessary border throughout the movie.
Two featurettes run about 25 minutes, the best discussing the bug effects and their design. A music video rounds off the on-disc features. A host of content is available through a slow loading BD-Live connection. Here you can upload a photo of yourself and end up “in” the movie. Additional featurettes and loads of trailers are also available.