In a future world where fascism and violence solves all of our problems, we follow four teenagers who are about to graduate from High School. In this future world you have to earn your citizenship by fighting for the world governments causes. It just so happens that a planet not to far away from Earth inhabited by Giant Bugs wants to pick a fight with the humans. Of course with man the superior being this is going to be a stroll in the park and the Federated Earth authorities declare war on the Bugs. To earn their citizenship our four teenagers decide they are going to join the Federation ranks and help win the battle. We then follow their exploits as they grow up into responsible citizens and fight the bugs.
Paul Verhoven's movie has been described as a satire on American values and ideals, and in a way I can see where many fans of the movie draw this conclusion. It is supposed to show us that even when the humans have superior firepower and supposedly higher intelligence, never under estimate the Bug. Many stories have this theme at their heart (although admittedly its usually with the underdog - read Bugs winning. But not here) and Verhoven manages to bring a few subtle in-jokes to this production.
The acting and pacing of this movie does however leave me a little cold. I find the first hour represents nothing more than a soap opera type, who's with how, how and why situation. This wouldn't be bad if we actually were given something in the way of character development during this same period in the movie. What we get however are four stereo typed American College kids going out into the real world, with little nerve about them. It is a shame that this first hour drags as the rest of the picture is sheer first class Sci-Fi action.
The special effects are the strongest point of this movie with the Bugs looking realistic and scary and many of the battle scenes are just breathtaking. The design element of the picture can't be faulted with the spacecraft and weapons looking suitably impressive and the use of an internet based news channel interrupting the film at set stages adds the all important humour to proceedings. The film is violent and uses more gore than I care to remember but at the heart of all this is some dark humour that never fails to hit the spot.
The film is a good edition to the sci-fi genre and apart from a slack first hour it delivers some serious action and entertainment.
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