A Review of ‘Starship Troopers’ (1997)

‘Starship Troopers’ is the dumbest fucking movie I’ve ever seen. Everything about it is stupid – so unfathomably stupid, I could barely get to the end credits without collapsing into a heap disbelief. Who the hell signed off on this moronic piece of crap?  Did the creators just detach themselves from reality altogether?

As beginnings go, this film has a pretty terrible start, introducing us to a bunch of high schoolers whose main concerns are just fucking each other and passing grades. Can we really not have some more interesting personalities? They’re all so shallow and air-headed I honestly wonder if this film didn’t actually start off as a school drama that got landed with pointless action to make it more marketable.

starship troopers nazis
Difficult to tell who’s more gormless – the extras, or the entire fucking audience.

The characterisation is awful, but the plot is even worse. As our boring bunch of teenagers go through their training (yes, apparently they ALL decided to join the military, how convenient), after what seems like ages we finally get some story development when a huge asteroid strikes their home town, wiping it out completely.

I may have made that seem like an interesting, dramatic way to advance the plot, except for how ludicrously it’s executed. As the protagonists watch a news report, we see that the asteroid was apparently flung against Earth from ACROSS THE GALAXY by a civilisation of “bugs.” That’s like hitting a bullseye on a spinning dartboard in another room using a gun made out of spaghetti – a hundred million years in the future. Are we really meant to believe that the human government would start a war with the bugs even when there’s no realistic way that they could be behind the attack?

Revealed within this news report is a “death toll” for this particular calamity, with the number rising by a few dozen every second, just to add cheap emotional impact. Even with future technology it would be impossible to identify deaths at such a quick rate. An asteroid hit like that would have obliterated an entire city – you won’t be able to identify individual casualties like that, especially so quickly after the event. This film makes me feel ashamed for having a brain.

Everything in the entire movie is bafflingly dumb. It’s constantly interrupted by weird interludes, where we’re taken on little cut-aways to infomercials and bite-size news tidbits, all terribly acted and fake-looking, and occasionally overlapping so that it’s difficult to tell which bits are the film and which bits are the god-awful pieces of in-world propaganda.

Maybe I should just switch my brain off more when watching this atrocious production. We get one scene where a recruit asks why they’re being forced to train in knife-throwing when most fights can be resolved with nukes by “pushing a button”. Cue the drill sergeant throwing a knife and pinning the recruit’s hand to a bulkhead, thereby “preventing him pushing a button.”

Obviously that’s incredibly realistic, and in no way has the asshat sergeant missed the point that you don’t launch the nukes from the battlefield. I mean, Jesus, the film actually sides with the sergeant on this one – apparently the film-makers themselves believe that you have to be in knife-throwing distance of your target in order to authorise a nuclear missile launch.

starship troopers censored
This is an actual still from the movie. Seriously, it’s rated ’18’ for fuck’s sakes, there’s scenes a hundred times more gory than this – did the BBFC really insist of slapping this on just for this scene?

Really, I mean, every scene in this film falls victim to its inherent incompetence. In a scene in which our main protagonist, Johnny “Big-Chin” Rico, confronts a food-line bully, we see the aforementioned drill sergeant just standing there in the background – he was obviously meant to intervene at some point, but for whatever reason they managed to edit out the parts where he does anything, but not the parts where he’s clearly visible. Christ, what’s he meant to be doing? Watching the confrontation to assess the recruits for how they deal with conflict? Why wouldn’t they just edit him out altogether?

Or maybe they should have edited out the protagonists. At the beginning of the film, they’re all incredibly vacuous idiots, but the writers couldn’t even bother to be consistent. The final few scenes show the main characters talking about huge subjects, like the nature of sacrifice and the need to fight for a bigger cause, and the audience is expected to accept that these stupid teenagers all of a sudden care about the nature of the conflict in which they’re taking part – it’s as though after their experiences in the war and the loss of their friends, they’re entirely different people.

Nothing suggests that any member of the production team was paying any attention to the dreck they were churning out, even the fucking costume department. One of our heroic trio turns up later on as a high-ranking intelligence officer, replete in black leather trench coat and peaked cap – it is so painfully obvious that they simply reused an old stock Gestapo uniform from some other film. Seems nobody realised that this would make the protagonists’ own government look like the fucking Nazi party. Or maybe they just didn’t care. Probably both. Either way, you don’t serve the purpose of building sympathy for your own heroes when they’re all dressed as the Wehrmacht – had any of these people even worked in movie production before?

Seriously, I could go on about how shitty ‘Starship Troopers’ really is, but it’s so painful that I’m not sure I can bring myself to relive much more of it. It’s clear that the director, the writers, the entire production crew and all of the actors had no interest in the film as a whole, and equally clear is how oblivious they were to its many, many faults. Reviewing this turd has left me so emotionally drained that I’m going to have to go and reset my brain and try watching an actually coherent sci-fi action adventure like ‘Star Trek Into Darkness which has a sensible plot, and desperately hope that nobody looks too closely at the first letter of each paragraph in this article.

An Angry Review of ‘Mars et Avril’ (2012)

So,  a while ago I was sharing a house with some friends. One of them, we’ll call him “Matt”, read a review of a foreign-language film on the internet somewhere, which is weird, because he only visits Pornhub and I didn’t think they did movie reviews. But apparently, this film was really good, so we watched it.

Fuck you Matt. I know you’re reading this. Fuck you.

‘Mars et Avril’ is a Canadian film that somehow manages to be Eurotrash, and normally I’d never even use that word. At least, not as a derogative. But in this case, “Eurotrash” is probably one of the nicest words I could have used; other appropriate words include, but are not limited to:

“crap”, “bollocks”, “boring”, “pretentious”, “wank”, “masturbatory”, “redundant”, “tautological”, “snobbish”, “smug”, “annoying”, “fuck”, “arsewater”, “nonsensical”, “eyebrows” and “idiotic”.

I hate this film. Most other films I’d watch again before reviewing, but no, nothing could make me want to re-watch ‘Mars et Avril’. Not even a set-in-stone guarantee of mind-blowing sex with the entire cast of ‘Reaper’. The only thing this film guarantees is that by the end I’ll be sat in the shower, crying and drawing on myself.

I’m going to use the phrase “or something” a lot in this review. Really, that should have been the film’s title, especially because “Random Events In A Random Order And A Lot Of Meaningless Dialogue” is too long to fit on a DVD case.

The titular Avril, the fate of whose loins is apparently what this film is about. Her character traits include “attractive” and “awake” and occasionally “slightly strange”.

It starts with some pretentious arse-wank concert with some old men playing weird instruments. There’s some buffoonery about how the old main guy plays instruments shaped like women because the shape of the woman’s body changes the sound OR SOMETHING. None of it made sense.

He picks the models for his instruments, then everyone thinks he sleeps with them OR SOMETHING but he doesn’t, but he apparently has some legendary sex-life but we only find out about that when everyone acts surprised that he doesn’t have some amazing sex life and by now I’m already confused and angry.

A lot, and I mean most of, the story of this film occurs without us actually seeing it; instead we just see the character’s reactions to the story that presumably happened, OR SOMETHING. If the story made sense, then this would be a bold and creative way of telling it, but the story doesn’t make sense, so instead it’s just stupid.

I’ll try and summarise the rest of the story in a paragraph:

Some dudes are going to Mars but might not be, as they might be holograms. The girl sleeps with the old dude, who hadn’t fucked anyone before and everyone’s shocked by this. Some guy without eyebrows is upset about this specific fucking as he wanted to fuck the girl because she was attractive OR SOMETHING. Both she and the old dude step in a teleporter which we never see used in the film previously, but she ends up on Mars, where the astronauts are all bored because apparently they thought there was a rollercoaster there, then she almost dies but they get her back to Earth but now the old dude is dying but they use his lungs to replace hers because, and I shit you not, they genuinely think that an eighty-year-old’s lungs will be in top-notch condition because he plays woodwind. Credits roll.

We see far more of this man’s naked body than we deserve. It’s nearly inhumane.

Was this film meant to be funny? Because it plays like a parody. Nothing that anybody does makes any sense. The old dude calls the teleporter people to tell them that someone has literally disappeared and is probably dead OR SOMETHING, and they just tell him it’s not their problem and that he should fuck off. But, this isn’t portrayed as some corporate nightmare dystopia, that’s just how people act, OR SOMETHING.

Then there’s all this nuisance about how the Mars mission is actually an illusion, or hologram OR SOMETHING. The film thinks it’s so clever playing with all these high-end philosophical concepts, but that’s all it’s doing, is playing with them. I used to play with my dad’s power-tools but that didn’t make me a fucking builder. It did make me nervous around cordless drills, however.

love weird, off-the-wall science fiction. ‘Farscape’ is great, ‘Solaris’ is brilliant, but ‘Mars et Avril’ is just meaningless. It fails to entertain because nothing in it is entertaining. It asks questions that nobody wants answered, it answers nothing in terms of its own story, its characters are baffling to the point that they could be figures in a dream-sequence from another film… The whole thing is tripe.

The film fails to establish key plot-points upon which it later relies. The teleporter network is one; the main character’s status as a sex icon is another. The fact that the music he plays slows time down OR SOMETHING is left pointless, because apparently that doesn’t apply if you’re trying to sleep with someone OR SOMETHING.

‘Mars et Avril’ seems to assume that we, the audience, are already completely familiar with the world in which it is set, which could be fine if it wasn’t so random and ridiculous.

The special effects are appalling, something I’d be willing to forgive if it didn’t rely upon them so much. If you want to create a completely zany and imaginative world, you need to be able to do it believably. Alternatively, work within your limitations! Instead, this film aims high and lands so, so low.

The smartest bit of the film by far is the fact that there’s a character who’s a “Pneumatologist”, who is an expert in both spirituality AND breathing disorders. That one bit of wordplay is as close as this film gets to quality. Of course, the character in question is some over-the-top self-indulgent pointless-drivel-peddling fuckbadger, so even the one GOOD bit of the film is ruined. Well done, film, well done.

This crap-weasel right here has a clever job title. Kind of. I don’t know what language those subtitles are even written in, but they make more sense than the English version.

Basically, this film is rubbish. Utter, abject, narcissistic chaff pinched out from the over-creative sphincter of the kind of person who watches dreck like this and then tells his friends about how he understood all of the intricacies of the plot and the deep meaningfulness of its characterisation whilst the people subject to his inane self-indulgence silently contemplate how easily they could hide his fetid carcass.

The only redeeming features of this film are some of the trivia about its production. Feel free to read those, and then never, ever subject yourself to the most pretentious hour-and-a-half of your short, precious life.