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Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (Blu-ray Review)

17 Aug, 2008 By: John Gaudiosi

Starship Troopers

Sony Pictures
$27.96 DVD, $38.96 Blu-ray, $24.94 UMD
Rated 'R' for violence, language and some nudity.
Stars Casper Van Dien, Jolene Blalock, Amanda Donohoe, Marnette Patterson, Stephen Hogan, Boris Kodjoe.

Sony Pictures has finally released Starship Troopers and its two straight-to-video sequels on Blu-ray Disc. For those die-hard fans who have stuck with the franchise, there's a boxed set ($89.95 Blu-ray, $39.95 DVD).

The latest sequel, Starship Troopers 3: Marauder, basically ignores the second film (which didn't feature any of the actors from the original) and focuses on Casper Van Dien's Johnny Rico character 10 years after the events of the first film.

This low-budget movie's shortcomings are especially evident in the CGI department. The Blu-ray 1080p transfer looks too good. It brings every shoddy South African set and sub-par special-effects flaw front and center. Viewers will be able to see every pore in Van Dien's skin.

On the audio side, the lossless 5.1 Dolby TrueHD has a similar impact, accentuating the flaws of this low-budget movie rather than enhancing the overall viewer experience.

At least this Blu-ray delivers in the extras department. There are two exclusive BD features. "Marauder Mode" is a picture-in-picture feature that places a border around the screen, replicating a monitor from the film. While viewing the movie, interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and trivia facts pop up in small windows. Making cool use of BD Live, the "Put Yourself in the Film" feature allows connected PlayStation 3s and BD players to upload a headshot to scenes from the movie.

The BD version also includes HD versions of featurettes found on the DVD edition, which is refreshing.

When it comes to "Starship Troopers," the original film ($28.95 separately) is the one worthy of any Blu-ray library. This is one of the best-looking HD movies I've seen. The 1080p transfer brings every stitch of clothing from those Federation grays to life. It's a huge upgrade over previous DVD versions.

Fans of the film's violence actually will find new details in HD. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack is also excellent. Blu-Wizard allows viewers to integrate any of the extras into the viewing experience.

This second film, which doesn't have any direct connection to the first or third films, and looks solid in 1080p, but doesn't include any extras that take advantage of the Blu-ray format.

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