Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien) returns to the franchise in this second direct to DVD sequel that sees the fight with the bugs continue. After the second one, I don’t know if things would get better or worse, but with the Sci-Fi Chronicles book as my guide, I dove into the worlds, based loosely on Robert Heinlein’s novel, one last time.
Jolene Blalock joins the cast this time around. The film, itself, while still fairly low budget, feels both stylistically and story-wise, more in keeping with what we saw in the first film.
Rico, now a colonel, is joined by his friend General Dix Hauser (Boris Kodjoe) and the musically inclined new Sky Marshall (Stephen Hogan) accompanied by his pilot Captain Lola Beck (Blalock), who had a prior relationship with Rico and now has one with Hauser. All of this melodrama is a backdrop for some rather shoddy CG work on the bugs, and are pushed to the back ground when the bugs attack the base after the Sky Marshall arrives.
But when Rico goes against Hauser, he’s on trial for treason, friendships are strained to the breaking point, as anti-war riots begin to break out around the system, and the Sky Marshall is missing… And Johnny Rico may be the only one to rescue him, and his party, in the midst of a bug-infested planet.
While this is a stronger film than the second, it still doesn’t have the scope of the cinematic feel of the original, even with the introduction of a couple of new bugs…
The effects, gore, violence and nudity, all of which were as essential to the first film as the sly black comedy at play in the politics, are nowhere near up to par, it does however at least feel as if it is in the same universe as the first one, thought perhaps a little more low rent.
There is some deeper stuff at play here, though it gets lost quickly, the idea of anti-war sentiment, and religion beginning to show itself in the Federation, which is something that those in command don’t want (and they may be right – but who is to say what religion is right?), and there’s also a conspiracy at the very heart of the Federation.
This one, while a stronger film than the previous one, suffers from some terrible acting, and some less than stellar sets and cinematography and the story, again, stronger than the previous installment, isn’t all it could be (Neumeier who directs, also wrote the script as well as penning the original Robocop and first two Starship Troopers – I think, given a proper budget, cast, and a script tweak or two, this could have been a worthy sequel).
But that climax and ending is crap. Sorry all.
There are some cool ideas at play in the film, but it all gets mired down in the horrendous effects which jars the viewer right out of the movie, and just leaves you scratching your hear, wondering how these films got made if the studio wasn’t willing to back the title the way they should have.
Wonder what science fiction classics are coming up next?