Starship Troopers 3: Marauder

Year: 2008
Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Director: Edward Neumeier
Writer: Edward Neumeier
Cast: Casper Van Dien
One-man B movie parade Casper van Dien - whose only role of note was the original Starship Troopers - returns to this unpromising follow-up to the first dire sequel, directed by Starship Troopers screenwriter Ed Neumeier.

It's eight years after the original bug war and everyone's still trying to forget the tragic box office response to Starship Troopers 2 by simply ignoring it.

Rico (van Dien) has been called back into service to lead a daring rescue. The new Sky Marshall - a devout Christian despite the ban on religion - and a small band of survivors have crash landed on a bug-infested planet, and after taking the fall for a disastrous assault on a remote outpost by the bugs, Rico is rescued from the hangman's noose by a former friend and current high ranking bureaucrat to conduct the rescue mission.

It starts out badly. In the opening battle scenes, the special effects seem to have been done by a small group of eight year olds with crayons and silly putty. Surprisingly things improve, the story moving along at a fairly cracking pace and the effects coming into their own (at least to straight to DVD standards).

The social commentary that made Paul Verhoeven's 1997 original such a subversive classic is also there, but it's less adeptly handled in Neumeier's hands, who does the little asides about the fascist Federation a little too cack-handedly to hit their targets as satire.

But it ends up a fairly rollicking romp that fans of the original should get something out of, if they can forgive the series after the steaming crap that was Starship Troopers 2.

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