Starship Troopers ★★★★

"Naked force has resolved more conflicts throughout history than any other factor."

Starship Troopers satirizes jingoism and military ideology by dressing itself up as a Nazi and making us laugh at it. From the Federal Network "Would you like to know more?" propaganda ("Join the Mobile Infantry and save the Galaxy!") to the pervasive "us vs. them" fascist mentality ("I'm from Buenos Aires, and I say kill 'em all!") to the drill instructor who misses the point of his own lessons ("The enemy can't push a button if you disable his hand!"), the film systematically reappropriates military iconography to make it laughable and expose its violent foundation. But the greatest reappropriation of all is the way Verhoeven's film itself takes Heinlein's source material and turns its fascist militarism on its head. In the director's own words:

"It was already in the script, all this ironic stuff, all this hyperbolic stuff, all this playing with fascism or fascist imagery to point out certain aspects of American society... When we were working on the Heinlein book, we felt like we had something that was pretty militaristic, pretty right-wing, and you could even say had a tendency to be fascist. We felt we should counter that with irony and other means to make it interesting... And of course, the movie is about 'Let's all go to war and let's all die.'"

Essential Sci-Fi Canon | Top 10 90's Sci-Fi
Paul Verhoeven | Spaceship!

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