Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (2004)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer
Featurette-From Green Screen To Silver Screen
Featurette-Inside The Federation
Trailer-Spiderman 2, Bad Boys 2, Hellboy, Once Upon A Time In Mexico
Trailer-Welcome To The Jungle, Terminator 3:Rise Of The Machines
Trailer-Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles
|Year Of Production||2004|
|Running Time||87:51 (Case: 90)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (55:49)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||Phil Tippett|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
John W. Morgan
William T. Stromberg
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
When Director Paul Verhoeven released Starship Troopers in 1997, the film immediately polarised audiences into two distinct groups. Those that despised it and those like myself who loved it. The film was based on the classic science fiction novel by Robert Heinlein. Heinlein's epic tale is considered one of the greatest genre novels of the 20th century so a film adaptation was immediately going to divide fans of the book. Verhoeven and screenwriter Ed Neumeier chose to give their version of the story a satirical edge, complete with dark humour and over-the-top violence. This approach did not sit well with some fans and resulted in a box office take that was mediocre at best. Now seven years later, fans of the film have been given a sequel, a direct-to-video sequel, but a welcomed one all the same. There is obviously a big market for home video sequels to moderately successful films because lately we have been given an endless supply. There are more Hellraiser, Tremors, Mimic, Wishmaster and Prophecy sequels than you can poke a stick at. The problem arises when you realise that the majority of these cash-ins are basically celluloid rubbish with no artistic merit whatsoever. To say that I was dubious about a cheap sequel to Verhoeven's epic is an understatement. Happily, though, I can report that Starship Troopers 2: Hero Of The Federation is a semi-decent follow-up to my beloved Arachnid opus.
The film begins five years after the events on Tango Urilla. The Federation is losing ground to the bugs, forcing infantry numbers to dwindle. The sequel follows the exploits of a cut-off platoon, who hold up in an abandoned outpost besieged by an army of Arachnid warriors. While waiting for rescue, the handful of troops discover a new insect threat that could destroy the federation. Now, with mankind's survival on the line, these Roughnecks will have to overcome this new threat or all will be lost.
The filmmakers, armed with a small budget of about six million dollars - Verhoeven's had a budget of one hundred million dollars - realised that they would be unable to deliver a sprawling war epic in the same way the original did. Instead, they have basically made a haunted house film. Director Phil Tippett liberally borrows elements from other great sci-fi films, but mostly to good effect. If you combined John Carpenter's The Thing, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, Alien and Howard Hawks' Rio Bravo this is the film you would get. Tippett obviously believes that if you are going to lift elements from other films, why not use the best. What also elevates the film from `direct to video hell' is the talents of screenwriter Ed Neumeier (Robocop, Starship Troopers). Neumeier attempts to infuse the admittedly mediocre story with the same satirical flavour found in the original, but ultimately falls well short. There are minor moments throughout the film where Neumeier successfully brings a satirical edge to the proceedings, but never comes close to approaching the over the top genious that the renowned Dutch `nut job' propelled his version. This, sadly, is the film's Achilles heal. I love the films of Paul Verhoeven (Showgirls notwithstanding), and with the exception of Ridley Scott, John Carpenter and James Cameron he is simply one of the great genre filmmakers. Hero Of The Federation suffers from his absence which is simply unavoidable. First time Director Phil Tippett deserves credit however, as the film feels like it belongs in the same universe as the original, but lacks the narrative drive and visceral wallop you only get when the Dutch master lets loose. Tippett has had a long and illustrious career in the field of special effects and his achievements in this area are unsurpassed. His career began with Star Wars and never looked back. As a director he does a serviceable job with extremely limited resources, and I wouldn't be surprised to see more from him in this area based on his efforts here.
Another aspect that made the original Troopers film so unrelenting were the astonishing visual effects, handled by none other than Phil Tippett. His company once again provides the Arachnid foe and considering the small budget they deliver the goods. I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of effects work on display, especially for a non-theatrical release. Once again we are witness to the brutality of war with the bugs and thankfully the gore quotient is quite high.
Starship Troopers 2: Hero Of The Federation is simply not in the same class as its forerunner, However, it is a solid if uninspired B-grade sci-fi shocker with better than average credentials. What surprises is the mere fact that it never shames itself by association with Verhoeven's classic, which as far as I'm concerned is a real coup for all those involved. If all home video sequels were up to this standard the term might not be so derided.
Hero Of The Federation is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1:78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced for widescreen viewing.
The film has a very sharp image and there are no aliasing or edge enhancement problems. However, there are several issues concerning the film's shadow detail. For the most part the film has a decent image with well rendered blacks and background image. There are points during the film that unfortunately suffer from a strikingly bad grain problem. The most notable of these occurs at the 5:29 minute mark. It only last for about 3 seconds, but nearly all the film's fine detail is lost during this section. The film was shot digitally and I'm wondering if this process is directly responsible for the problem. The filmmakers make no mention of such deficiencies during the commentary so it is hard to say. Thankfully, the problem is very minor and does not distract on the whole. There are no low level noise issues.
Colours are intentionally muted to further the depressive atmosphere of the story. Skin tones are natural and the film's more violent moments make proper use of colours associated with bodily dismemberment.
There are no problems with dirt or film artefacting.
For a direct-to-video film, Columbia have provided a very decent transfer.
The RSDL layer change is at the 55:49 minute mark and is well placed.
The film has been given three audio tracks in Dolby Digital 5.1, and an audio commentary in 2.0 channel surround. The 5.1 tracks are in English, Czech and Hungarian.
Dialogue is always clear, with clarity never lost during the more hardware intensive aspects of the film. There are no audio sync problems.
The musical score is by John Morgan and William Stromberg. The score is very reminiscent of Basil Poledouris' composition for the first film and fits the mood of the story nicely.
Surround channel usage is nicely handled with well placed directional sound effects making strong use of the rear channels. This is most notable during the Arachnid attack sequences.
The audio track's reverberation levels were slightly overpitched with too much bass. However, I would rather have too much than too little so this slight grievance is negligible.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
There is no R1 version of this film currently available.
The R4 and R2 versions are identical.
Starship Troopers 2: Hero Of The Federation is an interesting, but very limited sequel to Paul Verhoeven's intergalactic Arachnid epic. The disc is loaded with well put together extras and the transfer is more than acceptable. Fans of the first film should be pleased with this follow-up effort.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||LG 76cm Widescreen Flatron Television. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Sony HT-K215. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie|