Dismissed by many as a cheesy, lame-brained sci-fi actioner with naff acting and absurd plot points back in the ’90s, Starship Troopers is only steadily beginning to get the respect it truly deserves.
Fans already salute its sublime satirical edge and pitch-black humour, but that’s not all there is to celebrate. Jordan Sims picks out five surprising reasons why it’s an all-time classic.
1: It smashed gender stereotypes
Director Paul Verhoeven worked very hard to include features that expressed gender-neutrality in the future, such as the mixed gender shower scene and a prominent female captain.
Also, the Fleet Academy base is named ‘Tereshkova’, which is actually a reference to the first woman to go to space: Valentina Tereshkova. Verhoeven even made a point of switching the gender of one of the main characters to a female – hence the Dizzy we all know and love was born.
2: It kick-started Neil Patrick-Harris’s career
How I Met Your Mother Fans will no doubt be familiar with Barny Stinson, the fun-loving womanizing favourite from the smash CBS sit-com. All the way back in 1997 however, Harris played brain-box sidekick (and psychic) Carl Jenkins. It’s a sensational turn too.
3: The slated sequel isn’t all that bad
While not widely adored, Starship Troopers is generally regarded as a success compared to its much-derided sequel, which only holds a paltry 3.5 on IMDB. However, though it’s not directed by Verhoeven and has been ridiculed by lovers of the first film, it’s far from repulsive. Ok, so it may take a much more serious and darker angle than its predecessor – but what more can you ask for than soldiers holding off waves of man eating bugs in an abandoned outpost? It’s like Zulu with lasers.
4: Speaking of Zulu…
There are many references to the 1964 classic in the unforgettable scene where the troopers defend the fort, including the direct lines: “We’re all going to die!”, “Fire at will!” and “Fall back to the compound!”. A little bit of culture injected by the writers – perhaps at the cost of a few copyright threats.
5: Don’t worry: they weren’t real giant bugs
Most of the monsters that appear in the movie are CGI, and while filming battle scenes the ever entertaining Verhoeven would actually jump and scream at the actors to help them react to the oncoming ‘bug hoard’. One can only imagine the fear on Casper Van Dien’s face as an angry Dutch man shouted obscenities at him. Well, not exactly “only imagine”, it was all caught on film after all…