Set ten years after the action of Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers, Shinji Aramaki’s (Appleseed) computer animated Starship Troopers: Invasion ignores most of the franchise that lies between the two. The Japanese trailer for Invasion plays like a clip show of action scenes with little in the way of plot.
Carl Jenkins (Neil Patrick Harris in the first film) is now the Minister of Paranormal Warfare. After the bugs attack the remote Federation outpost Fort Casey, he takes a starship on a secret mission only to disappear. He has important intelligence, and a grizzled cadre of troopers, including Johnny Rico with a sweet eye patch and face scar combo, heads out on a rescue mission with dire consequences if they fail.
The plot promises to get Carl, Johnny, and Carmen Ibanez, the three friends from the original story, back together again in unexpected ways. Carmen is the captain of the ship Carl takes over, and Johnny is now a general, not to mention war hero, who, you can infer from his appearance, has been through some grim stuff. And there will of course be a ton of bugs to squash.
Part of what makes Verhoeven’s movie so great is his twisted humor and his satiric vision of fascism. Sure it kicks a lot of sci-fi ass, but there’s more to it than just that. The sequels and animated series are missing those other elements that lurk below the surface. I hope that going back to the three characters from the first film, who still maintain a friendship against all odds, that Invasion retains some of what made Starship Troopers memorable.
Starship Troopers: Invasion will be released July 21st.