Starship Troopers 3: Marauder

Title: Starship Troopers 3: Marauder
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Sci-Fi/Action
Starring: Casper Van Dien, Jolene Blalock, Stephen Hogan
Director: Edward Neumeier

And so we come to the last film in my marathon, spurred on by the news of a fourth film in the making, and the one that most will have never seen after the atrocities committed by the first sequel, when in truth this is a budget offering that feels like an actual sequel as opposed to a film with only some vague connection to the original. In fact, you could skip over the second in this trilogy and not suffer for it; no information is gleaned there that is required here. But of course as a straight-to-DVD budget offering, expectations shouldn't be kept too high; the CGI still at times looks fairly atrocious – though certainly nothing on the scale of the last – and the acting is nothing to be impressed by, but it's commendable that despite all the limitations imposed upon the director (also the writer for the trilogy) he still seems to want to do everything in his power to continue in the manner of the original, and not just by welcoming back the return of our hero from the first, now a colonel responsible for a forward base deep in enemy territory.

Going into too much detail would be ridding this film of one of its greater strengths, as like the original the pacing is lightning fast and doesn't always indicate the direction it's to take. It's a film about war after all, and not as simple as a singular mission to be focussed on, instead taking a broader view of the strategies being employed by both sides, as well as the political agenda of those in positions of power – and the corruption at such heights – and how this effects the soldiers fighting, often unjustly punished for their conduct despite impossible situations. There aren't the same scale battles that occur, and the action doesn't occur with the same frequency, but there is constantly the threat of attack providing a sense of tension, and when the war finally does spill out there's no shying of violence; decapitations and budget gore will fill the screen and remind you that war ain't no picnic, especially when the enemy walks on organic knives and has evolved into grenades and flamethrowers.

There is again this socio-political satirical element running underneath all the events that occur, making it far more intelligent than your average B-Movie. This time the message is focussed on the corruption of those in power, often abusing their power for their own agenda and to further their own careers, manipulating the media and only permitting information of their choosing to reach the ears of the general populace, silencing all who oppose the martial law and absolute authority the military holds. There is also a statement about the mixing of religion and authority and the potential dangers of doing so, but the message here seems somewhat vague and not fully realised. On the one hand he uses obvious religious imagery to show how faith can be a source of hope and courage whilst on the other vilifying it as a hazard blinding your otherwise rational judgement, using faith as a justification for actions that puts the lives of those surrounding you in jeopardy, and how it's not through the action of God that humanity perseveres but through the actions of the military, mistaken as divine intervention. The final scene demonstrates this purpose perfectly; a scene of a couple kissing to the destruction of an entire planet; a belief in our own superiority granting us the power of God to condemn and punish at whim. It's not all perfect, but given the constraints given to them I'd be hard pushed to expect much more.


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