Viewed – 16 January 2009 Blu-ray
Its been so long since I saw this last, and remember it as one of the most gutsy, unashamedly gory and testosterone filled action films of all time. Director Paul Verhoeven’s brand of gruesome sci-fi mixed with tongue-in-cheek social commentary has always appealed to me, and his skills have elevated otherwise b-movie hokum like Robocop and Total Recall to something all together more interesting.
Pretty-boy actor Casper Van Dien plays rookie marine Johnny Rico who signs up to battle an invasion of insect-like aliens threatening humanity as we know it. The story is basic sci-fi nonsense but this also plays out like a teen movie rights of passage with a group of friends pushed to their limits by their experiences. The cast is all Hollywood beauty (including the undeniably stunning Denise Richards and the more thinking mans crumpet Dina Meyer) and don’t really add any acting or emotional depth to the movie, but are still enjoyable to watch. What makes this movie stand out above similar fair is the aforementioned sly winks to government, fascism & political correctness etc that the director is obviously making fun of, and the wealth of stunning special effects on display – oh and the bucket-loads of dismembered body parts and lashing of the red stuff. Imagine Star Wars or Star Trek with an R-rating (or 18 certificate) and I think you get the picture.
Twelve years on this film still stands up visually. Presented on Blu-Ray the picture is very clean and eye-catching if a little inconsistent in the fine details. Sound-wise we are treated to a beefy uncompressed Dolby Digital soundtrack as well as the standard compressed version, and some nice menus and behind the scenes features make for a good package. The absence though of Paul Verhoeven’s always enjoyable commentary is a glaring over site, considering it exists on the DVD version.
Verdict: 4 /5