Monday, September 22, 2014

Film Review: Starship Troopers: Invasion (2012)

Starship Troopers: Invasion (Review)
United States/Japan/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"Shoot bugs here, shoot bugs there, and not much variety anywhere."

After rescuing the troopers of Fort Casey, starship Alesia is ordered to search for and investigate the Warden, which has broken all contact...

Starship Troopers: Invasion begins with a great, action-packed introduction. Then, we get some time to cozy up with the generic cast of characters in a mediocre attempt to recreate the cheesy atmosphere of the original Starship Troopers. I usually like character development, but didn't really enjoy it this time around -- these characters just didn't click for me. Fortunately, when these troopers board the Warden, the film becomes an action-packed extravaganza. The film's ending is predictable, but I liked it.

Maybe I spoke a little too soon, though, the film isn't problem-free as soon as they board the Warden. The film's action is completely reliant on shoot em' up, which is good for a moment, but becomes repetitive. Shoot bugs here, shoot bugs there, and not much variety anywhere. There is some cool mech action, but only during the climax; I really wish they had used this more often, we don't get enough mech action, nowadays, at least at this smaller scale. The one-note action makes the simple story more difficult to get through. It's exciting at first, but even explosions get boring after a while.

The voice cast is good. Nothing special and nothing particularly bad. (I couldn't help but think the voice cast would've been better in Japanese.) The visuals are superb when it comes to the settings and environments -- they look realistic, with the colors and lighting adding to the atmosphere. The character designs, much like the character themselves, look bland and uninspired; Johnny Rico looks like Big Boss from the Metal Gear Solid series. The music is your standard action soundtrack, but it does help in creating some epic moments. Director Shinji Aramaki does well in creating a consistent action thrill ride, but it feels like a been-there-done-that experience with a blatant lack of variety.

Overall, Starship Troopers: Invasion is a good action animation film. The story is simple enough for anyone to jump into -- fan of the series or otherwise. The action is exciting and thrilling, but very repetitive. The visuals are also at times luscious, but the character designs are lacking; although Shinji Aramaki directs both, the visuals don't quite match those of Space Pirate Captain Harlock, either.  It's a fun time-killer, but I don't see myself watching this again, at least for a long time.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Violence and some gore, nudity.

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