Posts Tagged 'bad'

Starship Troopers 3, the liveblog, part 2

Okay, it’s time to finish this puppy off. I think I need to start with a summary of the characters and the plot, not that it matters.

We have Casper reprising his role as the incredibly ethnically misnamed Johnny Rico the ‘hero of Planet P’

We have Jolene Blalock, who, sorry you poor bastards who actually watched Enterprise, I am referring to as Direct to Video Angelina Jolie, playing a starship captain and former love interest of Casper. I think she suffers from being almost the only woman in the cast with a budget make-up department because she has a kind of creepy part-melted look that is disconcerting rather than attractive.

We have Boris Kodjoe as a desk jockey general who is a current love interest of the starship captain (oh noes, love triangle, will the scriptwriter make that a complication? who can tell?). I’m not blaming him for the script, which is why I’m referring to him as Direct to video Denzel versus Direct to video Mario van Peebles. He actually looks more like Shemar Moore, but he’s tv. Anyway.

Finally, a character I didn’t even mention in the last post because he seems superfluous as a character except as a plot item and has been fleshed out as a ‘wacky’ character instead of something that resembles a person: Stephen Hogan as the ‘Sky Marshal’. For whatever reason *that* is the title of the grand poobah of the quasi-facist dictatorship of the Federation in this movie. And he sings. No, it doesn’t make any sense.

Good grief, I’m already wasting a lot of words recapping this. Okay. So. At this point after evacuating from the planet of the starting battle, D2V Angelina and Sky Marshal plus some red-shirts have crash landed on a totally other planet. Casper and D2V Denzel had their plot convenience theatre spat and since D2V Denzel is a General, the ‘hero of planet P’ is now a scapegoat for the disaster of the bug attack and is going to get hung. However, D2V Denzel has learned that the leadership is ignoring distress calls from Grand Poobah’s landing pod.

This is going to be more painful than cop buddy movie hate-you, love-you cliches, I can just tell.

So, of course he doesn’t get hung, everybody thinks he’s dead and D2V Denzel sends him after the marooned survivors who are trekking cross-country to try and meet up with a marine landing pod. The survivors are being tracked by bugs who don’t attack. Oh the mystery!

More psuedo-propaganda intermission clips. They did a good job producing them, but they somehow just feel like filler, they aren’t particularly funny or entertaining.

Lots of pointless dialog between Casper and D2V Denzel. Their banter and chemistry make no sense, of course, but the plot must be served. The scene ends with them looking at shadows of what taunt us with the prospect of power armor. Meanwhile D2V Angelina and a doctor character are muttering about the state of the Sky Marshall, who seems to be acting all spiritual. Note: making your head of a third reich analog go Deepak Chopra meets Jim Jones makes about as much sense, as, well, anything else in this movie.

Okay, now the ground is cracking open for some unknown reason and the earth is shaking and the doctor falls in and is killed by bugs before any of the redshirts buy it.

Now D2V Denzel is threatening to expose the conspiracy in the most retarded way possible resulting in him getting disappeared and fake footage of the SM and D2V Denzel being caught in a peace terrorist explosion plays on the propaganda feed. I was actually surprised. I wasn’t expecting *that* contrived.

Back to the desert trek, where in a scene that makes less than no sense, some bugs appear over the horizon, get shot at, one chases “Jingo” toward a collecting of rock outcroppings before fleeing. The Sky Marshall declares that Jingo belongs to God now and the rocks break revealing some sort of pincer things. Bye bye Jingo. And D2V asks the praying flight attendant “where’s your God now?”.

I think the screenwriter was using First Draft, not Final Draft.

“Please remove your clothing.” Since this is direct to video, and due to the co-ed shower scene from the first movie, I was wondering when the gratuitous nudity was going to show up. I guess the select mixed-sex crew of six soldiers Casper is taking on the rescue mission have to get naked in the briefing room before getting into the hinted at but still not shown battle suits.

Wow, convenient panels in front of the genitals before the “full spectrum bodyscan”! Not in the way of the sculpted pecs and perk bosoms though! *rubs forehead*

Now we have a scene with overthrow conspiracy woman and D2V Denzel, where she takes him to the facility where the brain bug captured in the first movie is being kept. Somehow, despite working with him every day (the only thing that doesn’t make sense in this scene), D2V Denzel didn’t know the Sky Marshall had ‘gotten religion’ and the conspiracy woman shows footage that he had become ‘psychically linked’ with the brain bug and began to consider some super-Bug with a funky name a God. That bug convienently resides on the planet they crashed on. This is actually approaching an interesting plot development, which is a shame considering how we had to clunk to get here.

Now D2V Denzel has to man up and kill the brain bug who starts making heads explode. And the conspiracy woman is falling in love with the concept of mind control while watching the video footage of the Sky Marshall all but licking the brain bug. Ew.

Amazing grace flight attendant and “Bull” the redshirt marine talk marriage ‘if they get out of this’. You know this will end well. Yes, even the line “Honey, everything is going to be okay” is uttered.

Now the group reaches some overlook and the SM starts talking about how they’ve reached the Bug God. Oh the painful awkward dialogue that follows “It’s the wrong God!” Oh, they’ve actually reached the marine landing pod, but of course all the marines are dead and it’s spooooooky night all of a sudden inside and out. Oh, they died of an “air leak” on the way down, boring. But, of course, that prevents them from taking off in the thing. And it prevents any further outdoor location shooting, handy that!

Goddy flight attendant is guarding outside, apparently so she can scream and look shocked when the ground starts shaking and God Bug makes his appearance. And of course Bull goes out to save her and gets hauled off by God Bug. And of course Sky Marshall wants to keep them from trying to take off, and the God Bug starts taking apart the landing ship like a can opener.

Now the survivors are confronting the God Bug outside. Well, the Sky Marshall still wants to lick it. Through some mechanism that makes no sense Brain Bug is talking through impaled bodies of the three folks that it skewered.

Cue wild eyed ranting! Scenery chewing! Bug leg through the heart!

Flight attendant starts doing the Lord’s Prayer as the suits re-enter the atmosphere like….angels and the explosions start. Oh the cheese. The humanity. Wait, the three zombie guys get crisped to cinders and the two surviving women 30 feet away are untouched. Thermodynamics be damned!

And finally, the money shot, battle suits on the ridgeline!

The suits look more CGI than the bugs. Now that’s an accomplishment. The ending battle doesn’t seem very epic, and the intercuts of the two women mouthing prayers doesn’t help. They fly off the planet to space scenery and ships that look more like matte paintings than CGI. Retro-hoy. The bug is apparently a sizeable portion of the planet. Somebody didn’t think that image/concept through carefully enough.

Yay, it’s time to blow up the planet with a phallic Q-Bomb! As DTV Denzel and DTV Angelina awkardly propose. Kinda. And smooch as the planet behind them explodes…like a ripe tomato.

So, competent production, I don’t think anybody who worked on the film has any particular reason to be embarrassed. Except the guy that wrote the script. Oops, he was also the director. Sadly, not a terribly entertainingly bad film, and thus not a very entertaining recap. Banality all around!

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Ah, Direct to Video

Really, if I didn’t add Starship Troopers 3:Maurauder to my Netflix queue as soon as I learned about it, I think I would have been obligated to cancel my subscription right there. Or commit seppuku.

If I’m going to watch it, I might as well liveblog it…

They’ve carried over the Serial News Flash intro. I was expecting quality equal to a FMV sequence from Wing Commander 3. I set the bar too low, it’s at least as good as the unfortunate drunken tryst of Wing Commander *4* and a Scientology promotional video.

First death by….a flying shovel. That shovel was just two days from retirement too. Casper Van Dien looks no worse for wear from his busy schedule starring in apocalyptic Christian thrillers.

Apparently we need to spend our first moments of the film listening to banal dialogue setting up some lack of dramatic tension with a love triangle between the direct to video Denzel Washington the direct to video Angelina Jolie and the direct to video Casper Van Dien. Wait, that last one was redundant.

One of the staples of low budget sci-fi movies seems to be close framed shots of people looking head-on at glowing screens rather than showing what is going on on said screens.

Starship Troopers 3 distills the essential essence of conflict between military and civilian life to this: farmers making fart noises.

Now we get to watch awkward slapstick fighting between direct to video Denzel, who is apparently a desk jockey and the aforementioned flatulent farmer. Which of course results in him wanting to arrest Casper Van Dien. And hang the farmers. No, with the elaboration of the dialog it doesn’t make any more sense.

Thankfully, the predictable failure of the perimeter fence keeping the bugs out happens just as the MPs are about to take Casper away.

Clever budget filmmaking here, it’s much cheaper to show shadows of a bug decapitating a soldier than the actual shot. Now we finally see actual bugs onscreen. Since this is 2008, the CGI and compositing doesn’t actually look half bad. If you muted the pedestrian dialogue, the only clue revolves around the editing and shot selection limiting the amount of human/CGI interaction.

Sadly, I’m only 25 minutes in at this point and still well over an hour to go. I do fear the movie blew a good chunk of its action budget. They certainly haven’t saved any money for the banter.

In fact, the sets and effects being competent just make the D2V quality script and acting all the more jarring.

General Direct to Video Denzel has of course scapegoated former hero Casper for the bugs eating everybody on the farmer planet, setting the stage for much tedious dialogue.

Meanwhile, Grand Poobah guy has been stranded on a remote planet that looks like Malibu beach along with D2V Angelina, the ship captain. In the previous blah blah we learned that they are being left to rot due to internal politics. Gee, who do you think is going to be secretly sent on a rescue mission?

I think it’s time to pause this for the night and pick up tomorrow, I have my limits.