Follow TV Tropes


Film / Starship Troopers 3: Marauder

Go To

Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (2008) is the second of two Direct to Video sequels to Paul Verhoeven's 1997 version of Starship Troopers.

The Human-Bug War has been going on for several years now. Johnny Rico is now a Colonel tasked to defend a planet on the frontline. Under Rico's watch an infiltration causes the defenses to collapse and the planet is soon overrun by the Bugs. Rico is sentenced to death for his failure, but his old friend General Dix Hauser gives him a chance to redeem himself on a new mission: Sky Marshall Omar Anoke, a very religious and popular figure, has crashed down on a deserted Bug world after his flag ship is destroyed, and Rico is sent out to retrieve him.


This film provides examples of:

  • Abandon Ship: After the flag ship's bridge crew evacuate, the movie proceeds on to the main plot, a group of survivors making their way across the planet while defending themselves against the bugs until they can regroup with a squad of Marines from their ship. They find the Marines, still in their dropship, dead as soon as they left their home ship due to an air leak.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The bugs manage to overrun Roku San due to its electrified fences being shut down by Sky Marshal Anoke.
  • Anyone Can Die: At the end, Lola and Holly are the only ones who survive from the group that crash-landed on the planet.
  • Art Evolution: Someone's definitely been keeping up with the Internet, given how FedNet now has everything from news tickers to opinion polls to advertising.
  • Advertisement:
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Holly gets Covered in Gunge. All of her except her head, so her face and hair remain clean.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: As subtle as a Morita Assault Rifle to the face. Admiral Enolo Phid begins to use religion as part of the Federation's propaganda after witnessing in the video records traitor Sky Marshall Omar Anoke communicating in near-religious ecstasy with the Brain Bug from the first movie that was being contained for interrogation. Seeing the most powerful man in the galaxy do exactly as told without thought or protest convinces her to adopt a Christian-esque religion to render the people servile. Reflects Emperor Constantine's co-option of the Christianity cult that was growing popular amongst the plebs, claiming the new god was On Our Side and Wants Us To Win. In Anoke's case, he orchestrates a massacre on Roku San on behalf of the "God Bug" Behemecoatl and manipulates fellow religiously devout assistant, Holly, into falling for his eloquent religious words before she learns who his "god" really is during his betrayal, casually suggesting killing him as he's worshiping "the wrong god". Amidst all the bashing, former atheist Action Girl Lola's religious awakening appears to be the only instance where religion is not associated with mind control. Mind you, there's a bit of a subtle satire as the atheist Federation is every bit as evil and controlling without religion as with it. Belief doesn't make people stupid as they're stupid and evil no matter what.
  • Big Bad: The film reveals that the Brain Bugs are actually in thrall to an even higher leadership caste of which there is only one member, the humongous Bug God Behemecoatyl.
  • Big Book of War: General Hauser is attacked by a civilian and cites every regulation he is violating by attacking an officer. Yes, for each punch, uppercut, and kick to the balls, there is a regulation for that.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Dix Hauser and Lola Beck kiss each other with an Earth-Shattering Kaboom in the background.
  • Black Comedy Burst: During the second propaganda reel, there is a shot of some poor mudfoot's severed head impaled on a bug's leg. The propaganda narrator asks "Where's your head at, Trooper?"
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted. The only major black character not only makes it to the end of the movie but gets a massive promotion and the girl.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Just about everything the Federation says on the news seems to be this whenever it involves the main plot. Which makes you doubt the veracity of the news reels' ongoing B Plot about the growing Peace Movement and its leader.
    • "This led to massive peace protests where 127 students and peace protesters died." It’s played like somehow the protestors and regime critics killed so many "innocent citizens" but they play it while showing armored police standing around beating people. Someone tell them to show better footage next time.
  • Boom Head Shot: Although since it’s a Brain Bug, its disproportionately large head makes it difficult to get in any other kind of shot.
  • Brainwashed: Sky Marshal Omar Anoke is brainwashed by the captive Brain Bug after he confers with it multiple times. He shuts down the defenses on Roku San, leading to its takeover by the Bugs. When his ship crash lands on a Bug planet, he leads the survivors to the Bug's supreme leader, the planet-sized Bug God Behemecoatyl. He gets devoured by Behemecoatyl for his efforts.
  • Conscription: Newsreels mention riots taking place over drafts. Despite Heinlein's opposition to conscription. In his original book, the armed forces is all-volunteer (though having the right to vote is contingent on serving, giving people a huge incentive to sign up).
  • Death Faked for You: Rico gets dropped through the execution trapdoor without the rope, much to his initial annoyance, as he assumes the executioner has stuffed up and he's going to go through hanging all over again. Turns out that Hauser and Phid want him for a mission.
  • Death from Above: The penultimate scene has the Marauder team dropping from the night sky (first appearing as a halo of lights around Holly's head) in answer to Holly and Lola's prayers. After they're rescued a Q-Bomb is then used to destroy the entire planet.
  • Desk Jockey: General Hauser, who's actually not at all pleased that he only gets to fly a desk at headquarters.
  • Digital Head Swap: Done in-universe to create the illusion that Sky Marshal Omar Anoke is still around.
  • Distress Call: Captain Beck sends one off when her ship is attacked, but most of the time is spent focusing on the survivors, while General Hauser deals with Admiral Phid's conspiracy to suppress evidence of the signal and leave Sky Marshall Anoke to die. Ostensibly, she did this because she knew Anoke had become enthralled to the God Bug. When Hauser goes behind her back to rescue Beck and Holly, destroying the Brain Bug on the way, Phid runs with it and promotes him anyways.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The face of the peace movement becomes Elmo Gonif, a wounded veteran who's in a wheelchair, wearing the metals he earned at protests, bearing a strong resemblance to the anti-war Vietnam veterans like Ron Kovic who'd done the same thing. He even has a similar beard and style to his clothing like many.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: A squad of Marines are introduced, their leader gets a few badass moments by way of an introduction, and then the entire squad dies off-screen as soon as their dropship launches because it wasn't properly sealed to keep the atmosphere in. We don't even learn of their fates until the final act.
  • Dwindling Party: Specifically, all the interesting characters get killed off as they make their way to the Marines' dropship.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: They finally develop them. Which they then cover up with Jolene Blalock kissing Boris Kodjoe.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Behemecoatyl, the so-called "Bug God".
  • Elite Mooks: The scorpion bugs, who essentially have a 'laser' weapon in their tails that can shoot over walls.
  • Escape Pod: Used to Abandon Ship. Unfortunately the one with all the Space Marines loses pressure.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Hauser is informed of what really happened to Sky Marshall Anoke when he's given footage of the Marshall talking to the brain bug they captured from the first film and swearing his allegiance to the bugs.
  • False Flag Operation: The government stages a bombing to cover up Anoke's death and also get rid of the peace protesters who are framed for committing it.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Subverted. Turns out that using the zombified remains of the dwindled members of the Dwindling Party as your mouthpiece only really serves to make everybody a lot less comfortable. Even The Mole is visibly thrown a bit by this.
  • Frame-Up: The peace protesters are framed for committing a bombing, allowing the government to hang them for this later.
  • Get It Over With: As Johnny is facing the gallows, his supposed last words are "Get on with it!".
  • God-Emperor: The Bugs' supreme leader, Behemecoatyl, is explicitly referred to as the "Bug God".
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Captain Beck evokes this reaction among her own crew — though as she's their superior officer, their reaction is merely silent appreciation.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: After a propaganda segment extolling the virtues of the humble shovel in the war against the bugs, a bug bomb goes off in the trench they're digging and one poor mook gets impaled by a flying shovel.
  • Humongous Mecha: FINALLY! And while they used Hollywood Tactics when using them, they did much, much better than how the grunts did normally in the films.
  • Illegal Religion: Religion, although not prohibited entirely, is much discouraged by the government (which appears to take an official atheist stance), with anyone outspoken called "religious fanatics" and repressed. At the end they realize religion is useful however, switching course entirely to declare that God does exist and make their own very nationalist interpretation of Christianity the state church for instilling loyalty.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!: After being conspicuously absent from the previous films, this one "introduces" mechs just for the cool of it.
  • Jumping on a Grenade: Happens near the end of the first battle with a Bug designed to act as a grenade.
  • Mini-Mecha: Serves as the Title Drop and Big Damn Heroes moment, where Johnny Rico and his team of troopers bomb the "God Bug" Behemecoatyl and kill hundreds of arachnids to keep love interest Lola and assistant Holly from being devoured and assimilated.
  • The Mole: The director of intelligence is initially seen by one of the protagonists (and the audience) as a traitor who's trying to assassinate the Sky Marshal, covering up the failed attempt and preventing his rescue, and seizing power. Well, she actually is doing all that...because the Sky Marshal has gone nutty (well, nuttier) and is going to sell humanity out to the enemy.
  • My Brain Is Big: The huge brain bug that takes up an entire planet, "Brain of Brains," also known as "Behemecoatyl".
  • Nerf: The Mobile Infantry's rifles seem to have taken a serious hit with a nerf bat, because compared to the Curb Stomp Battles in the later half of the original movie, the MI seem to be unable to even scratch the Bugs without heavy ordinance or Plot Armor. Especially flagrant is the first battle, in which a relatively small group of Bugs forces a retreat of a group of soldiers that they don't even outnumber at first.
  • Old Hero, New Pals: Johnny Rico, the protagonist of the first movie, is in the leading role but the rest of the cast is completely different.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Subverted. A sub-plot about religeous revival eventually culminates in the line: "God's back, and HE wants us to win!"
  • Powered Armor: Did not appear until this movie.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Admiral Phid. She's covered up the existence of Sky Marshall Anoke's Distress Call, presumably so she can usurp him and take over, although it's revealed that she knows he's a brainwashed mole for the Bugs. When the heroes go behind her back and end up defeating the bugs and rescuing Lola and Holly, rather than punish them, she puts the whole lot of them up on a pedestal as heroes of the Federation and champions the whole thing as if it were her idea to begin with.
  • Prayer Is a Last Resort: Holly convinces Lola to join her in a prayer when all appears lost. It's answered by Death from Above.
  • Psychic Powers: Sky Marshal Anoke is a psychic. This turns out to be a case of being Blessed with Suck, as it's his telepathic sensitivity that allows the Brain Bug to turn him to their side.
  • Rule of Symbolism: A character prays, in conjunction with obviously non-supernatural stuff happening around them. "Lord, send us an army of angels. And arm them with your fire, and your sword, that they may smite the evil around us." Bonus points for the fact that the suits' retro-rockets as they're air-dropping to the field are seen in the background behind her, distinctly forming a halo around her head as she prays.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: There's an innocent-looking female aide-de-camp actually called Lamb. Guess who gets executed for sedition?
  • The Scapegoat: Sky Marshal Anoke is claimed to have died in a terrorist attack when in reality he actually did a Face–Heel Turn to the bugs, and the Federation hangs the suspected mastermind, an innocent, wheelchair bound veteran whom they could also conveniently get rid of due to his anti-war rhetoric.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The rifles of the infantry looks almost like the Assault Rifles of Halo, and the marauders look just like the Elementals of BattleTech.
    • One of characters says the "Lord, send us an army of angels". And the mauraders arrive ready to kick alien ass. That sounds familiar, doesn't it.
  • Small Reference Pools: The only prayer that Holly knows seems to be The Lord's Prayer, reciting it repeatedly throughout the film, no matter the situation. The Lord's Prayer is more of a general recitation and affirmation that one has faith, not a prayer for protection the way Holly keeps using it. Psalm 23 — the one that talks about God protecting one as they "walk through the valley of the shadow of death" — would be more fitting.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: The brain bug they captured in the first movie is killed by Dix after it breaks free from it's cell and used a psychic scream to cause several people's heads to explode.
  • The Theocracy: The United Citizen's Federation was already a far future People's Republic of Tyranny with incredibly overt militaristic and fascistic tendencies in the first two movies. Then after the alien Hive Mind brainwashes (and later kills) the current Sky Marshal by claiming itself to be a god, the leadership of the Federation, impressed with the blind obedience that religion can instill, establishes its own mandatory state religion with propaganda campaigns declaring God a citizen of the federation!
  • Token Religious Teammate:
    • Holly Little is one of the few humans in her unit who believes in God.
    • Sky Marshal Omar Anoke is also revealed to be religious but he is not worshipping the same god that Little was.
  • Tone Shift: Marauder is a war film like the first and a horror film like the second, and throws in a healthy dose of political intrigue.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Being set eleven years after the events of the first one, MI infantry tactics have interestingly regressed yet improved; 19th Century-style "fire by rank" has made a comeback (think if the British soldiers from Zulu had automatics and you have an idea) and troop discipline is better too, making them look like a Elite Army compared to the laughably incompetent performance of the first film.
  • Vagina Dentata: The ginormous 'god' bug Behemecoatyl is shaped like this—or at least its head. Its body covers half the planet.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Unlike the previous movies, this one ultimately subverts it: of the entire squad crash-landed on OM-1, only the two female members survive to the final scene, and when it looks like the badass Captain Beck is about to be devoured by a giant bug, both she and Holly are rescued by the Big Damn Heroes in the film's eponymous mechs.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Omar Anoke, Sky Marshall of the Federation Forces and propaganda pop star, who secretly defects to the "God Bug" Behemocoatl's side and orchestrated the massacre on Roku San by shutting down the electric fences thereby letting the Bugs massacre the troops. He's even spun as a hero after death, given the alternative would have been admitting to an unbelievably massive breach of security.
  • Visual Innuendo: This happens to cute Holly Little. Sprawled awkwardly after getting a faceload of alien goo, a suddenly-appearing crack in the earth points directly up her skirt, then a penile-like claw bursts from the ground between her legs, whereupon she and Jolene Blalock are seized by a gigantic man-eating vagina with delusions of grandeur.
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: After Sky Marshal Omar Anoke crash lands on a planet en route to Earth to give an uplifting speech after a major defeat, Admiral Enolo Phid uses a device that records her and transmits the image of Anoke in real time, saying and moving exactly as she is. She later said Anoke died in a religious terrorist bombing.
  • When She Smiles: Say what you will about the film in general, and about Holly in general, but the scene when the Drop Ship's lights come back on, and her face in turn lights up with a huge smile? Gorgeous.
  • Your Head Asplode: The result of the Brain Bug's psychic attack. Though it is not clear if the Brain Bug can only attack one or two people at a time in such a way, or if the attack is simply unable to pierce Plot Armor.