Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Starship Troopers: Invasion
aka: Starship Troopers

Go To

Starship Troopers: Invasion is a 2012 CGI film directed by Shinji Aramaki that takes elements from the book, the movie, and the TV series and works them into a new story. John Rico sends Carmen Ibáñez and the troopers of K-12 and A-01 squads to track down the John A. Warden, Carmen's old ship, which has gone dark after being commandeered by Carl Jenkins.

A sequel (also a Anime-esque CG movie directed by Shinji Aramaki), Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars was released in 2017.


Starship Troopers: Invasion provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Air-Vent Passageway: Trig, though she has to strip out of her armor to pull it off. She also lampshades that the vent is too small for Bugspray to fit in.
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: Chow is the only Asian character and knows martial arts, which he demonstrates on Ratzass. Though he does pretty well at first, he is ultimately beaten when Ratzass is inspired by Ice Blonde flashing him, thus proving that boobs trump all. This also foreshadows his martial arts being useless against an unskilled but brutish and determined enemy, such as giant bugs.
  • Alien Invasion: What the Fleet and Mobile Infantry are trying to stop.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Tia Durer is tan skinned and has Asian facial features. Her unclear ethnicity is also made more prominent by her Multiethnic Name due to Tia being a Greek name with Durer being a German surname.
  • Advertisement:
  • Animesque: Of note are its Japanese influences, and the fact that Rico now looks like Big Boss IN SPACE!
  • Anyone Can Die: Faceless Mooks and named characters have roughly the same life expectancy.
  • An Arm and a Leg: One of the troopers gets his arm mangled in the first fight, and gets it replaced with an Artificial Limb. And that gets ripped off in the next firefight.
  • Armor Is Useless: Mobile Infantry wear significantly bulkier armor than in the film, but it's still offers no defense against the bugs. That said, it does give them a nice advantage in mobility.
  • Back in the Saddle: Rico brings The Cavalry in the end.
  • Badass Boast: The "I always get the shakes before a drop" speech given at the start of the novel is used here to show the protagonist is a Blood Knight (in the book it was to show he was Not So Stoic).
  • Batman Gambit: The Bugs' entire plan hinges on the humans finding the John A. Warden derelict in space, and restarting the engines.
  • Beam Spam: Utilized during the ship-to-ship combat scenes.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: While many troopers get torn limb from limb, Trig's body is left intact enough that it's not immediately clear that she's dead. Justified Trope in that the Bugs were using her as bait for an ambush. And it works.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: Averted. Despite the tone of the previous movie, Invasion never treats religion negatively. There is only one guy in the squad (Holy Man) who actually believes, almost to excess in fact, but the other characters do little more than poke mild fun at him for it (because he's tattooed up the wazoo). At a base level, his faith is treated fairly, and it even gets a call back as a touching moment later.
  • Beta Couple: Ice Blonde and Ratzass. Unusually, they survive while the main couple perish.
  • BFG: Ratzass gets a minigun and Trig has her non-regulation sniper rifle.
  • Big Damn Heroes: A couple of these are pulled off throughout the film.
  • Black Comedy: The poster shows a marine's mutilated torso impaled on a bug claw. The poster also includes a propaganda ticker that reads "When fighting giant space bugs, please use protection" and that the film will be "penetrating 2012."
  • Black Dude Dies First: Seeing this is basically "Trope Defiance: The Motion Picture," it's the token black guy, the Beta Couple, and the cameos who make it out alive.
  • Body-Count Competition: Trig intends to avenge every single person from her home town who were killed by the Bugs, and keeps a running count through the entire film. After Trig dies, Bugspray picks up the count for her during his You Shall Not Pass!. Before he too is killed.
  • Broken Bird: Trig very much so after losing her hometown. Ice Blonde somewhat less.
  • Bug War: You didn't even have to read this far down the page to guess this one, did you?
  • Call-Back: "So are you gonna do it?"
  • The Captain: Carmen Ibáñez. Other captains call their bridge to attention when she walks in.
  • The Cavalry
    • Rico drops with a squad of Marauders to extract Carmen and The Squad.
    • And of course, there is Carl Jenkins with his mind-controlled bugs.
  • Chainsaw Good: Rico's Mini-Mecha comes equipped with this, he puts it to good use.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Chow's martial arts get him hilariously killed.
  • Cold Sniper: Mild subversion with Trig. While she's quite detached in combat, she's fairly open otherwise.
  • Collapsible Helmet: Allowing the named troopers to emote properly without going completely helmetless. Late in the film, one trooper retracts only the faceplate of his helmet, making it clear that these are still more or less modeled after the helmets worn in the live action movie.
  • Coming in Hot: The dropship's landing is not gentle, though the troopers aren't phased in the least.
  • Creepy Monotone: Carl Jenkins tends to speak in a low raspy monotone. He doesn't seem to be all the way sane.
  • Daylight Horror: Once they get the power started again on the John A. Warden, the Bugs swarm. Their plan the entire time hinged on taking control of the ship, and they needed the power on to do it.
    "Don't be afraid of the dark!"
  • Death by Sex: Trig and Bugspray, though they last a lot longer than many of the more celibate characters. Meanwhile, Ratzass and Ice Blonde clearly have it for one another, but never actually have sex on screen...and they make it out alive.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Lt. Daugherty? Nope. Bugspray and Trig? Still nope. Varro? No, he dies in the very end of the movie. Even the protagonists from the original film feel like they're running towards Back for the Dead territory at times, but they all survive.
  • Demoted to Extra: Carl Jenkins and Johnny Rico, effectively. Though Johnny replaces Henry Varro as the male lead in the final act of the movie.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: After the Action Prologue, the movie slows down to get the viewers acquainted with the troopers, and pulls it off surprisingly well.
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: Whistles and catcalls ensue when Bugspray and Trig turn up conspicuously last for the Mission Briefing.
  • Died Standing Up: Daugherty. Well, Died Crouching but the effect is the same.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Inverted. Ratzass actually wins a fight he was losing badly to Chow, evidently because he was inspired by Ice Blonde flashing him. Ratzass goes from straightforward fisticuffs to fighting with a style that's best described as some sort of libido-fueled variant of Drunken Boxing.
  • Distress Call: Of the Cessation of Communications variant.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Not everybody gets to die in battle. Some folks just get blown up when they least expect it.
  • Dwindling Party: It becomes easier to remember everybody's name once there are fewer of them left to track.
  • Drop Ship: Used in the film's intro to deploy Daughtery's squad, and again in the climax to deploy Rico's Drop Pods.
  • Elite Mooks: Rico's squad of Mini-Mecha troopers. They're clad in the same nondescript black armor as the troopers accompanying Jenkins at the beginning, and from the look of it, only Rico and one other trooper make it to the ship.
  • Escape Pod: Jenkins's shuttle is used to Outrun the Fireball. It barely gets them clear before it is disabled and crash-lands.
  • Everyone Knows Morse: When the Alesia first catches up with the John A. Warden, it is mentioned that the former have tried every possible means of contacting the latter, including light flash signals. Later, one of the troopers starts firing bursts from his gun in front of a window, and Rico is able to figure out what he's signaling.
  • Exotic Weapon Supremacy: Trig uses a non-standard sniper rifle, which her superiors let her keep because she is a fantastic shot and it has the stopping power to kill bugs with relative ease. The weapon has sentimental value, having been made in her hometown before the bugs wiped it out.
  • Expy: Although the plot is heavily inspired by Aliens (see Shout-Out below), Carl gets bonus points for being an Expy of both Newt and Burke.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Good thing Rico doesn't need depth perception to do an orbital drop.
  • Eye Scream: [spoiler:Rico manages to stab the Queen in the eye with a hunting knife.]]
  • Faceless Mooks: Interestingly enough, not any more or less likely to die than named characters.
  • Fanservice: We get to see all three female characters naked. Ice Blonde spends several minutes topless, while Carmen gets a rather gratuitous shower scene with the camera lovingly trailing up from her backside to her, well, frontside. Trig, while shown naked, has her arms in front of her chest, so the viewer doesn't see everything.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Ice Blonde has one or so it seems. She survives the film while Trig and her Doomed Hometown do not.
  • Fetish-Fuel Future: The co-ed locker rooms are back.
  • Four-Star Badass: General Johnny Rico, of course having a Mini-Mecha helps. And then he sheds his armor on his mad rush at the Bug Queen and kills her with just a combat knife.
  • Godzilla Threshold: When Carmen's bug-infested ship threatens to hit Earth in Invasion, the order is given to nuke it to hell and back once it touches down. France would have no longer been habitable had that plan worked. Of course, the alternative of having a Bug Queen inside a heavily-armed warship was far worse.
  • Gunship Rescue: The powered armor units invoke this trope when they descend from the sky.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: The Powered Armor includes a fully-enclosed helmet, which can retract into the armor whenever a character needs to emote. Likewise when Rico needs to talk while in a Marauder, he retracts the front armor plate.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Carl Jenkins, who got mind-raped by the Bug Queen after he did the same to her.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Two of them in Daugherty's squad. One mainly interested in verbally sparring with Holy Man, and Ice Blonde, who mostly teases him for the wide variety of religious tattoos he wears on his body.
    Ice Blonde: You almost had me believing!
  • Hollywood Tactics: Not glaringly obvious like the first team, but a lot of casualties would have been averted if the fighting were done more properly.
    • The Mobile Infantry squads are still grossly under-armed. Their primary weapon is assault rifles, even with Bottomless Magazines, still need several seconds to down a single bug, while they are constantly swarmed with dozens. Ratzass has a minigun, Trig has a sniper rifle, Ice Blonde has some sort of light machinegun, Varro has an underbarrel grenade launcher, and that's it. Varro doesn't even use his grenade launcher until the very end. Maybe they do have more advanced weapon which were lost or ammunition depleted in previous missions, but the movie never made it clear.
    • As the Warden approached Earth and had to be intercepted, the 3 intercepting ships flew on a straight line right in front of the Warden's main laser guns and predictably got blown up.
    • As Rico and his men are dropped to the crashed Warden, they didn't even bother to spread out while air-borne, and most were wiped out mid-air. Rico only survived thanks to Plot Armor.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Ship lost power, everyone's dead. Doesn't anyone in the rescue team suspect that the bugs might be waiting to ambush them? They happily split up, don't bother to reinforce their position or create defensible choke points, and quite a number get killed by the bug ambush.
    • Chow, who decides that he will have better chances fighting bugs with punches and kicks and no helmet.
  • Inadvertent Entrance Cue: Two of the troopers are discussing the need to watch each other's ass. The two female troopers then enter in their scanty underarmor and get a lot of attention when they're walking past.
  • In a Single Bound: The trooper armor has jet-boots, used for moving in zero-gravity, and for making badass leaps through the air. Except for one trooper who leaps right into a swarm of Bugs.
  • Ironic Echo: To the first movie; Carl says "Friends always, right?" when confiscating Carmen's spaceship.
  • Meatgrinder Surgery: Shock Jock chops off an arm with a circular saw and implants an artificial limb. He claims his patient is the first one who has survived the procedure.
  • Meet Cute: Trig and Bugspray, on their second meeting (there was too much going on during their first meeting for much of a conversation)
  • Mind Control: Jenkins' plan. Bug Warriors that he can control, which will allow the humans to use Zerg Rush tactics against the Bugs.
  • Mind Rape: It is heavily implied that Jenkins and the Bug Queen did this to each other.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Ice Blonde most of the time, but Trig has her moments.
  • My Greatest Failure: Carmen treats the loss of the Roger Young back in the first film as this, which is why she's so pissed that Jenkins stole her ship.
  • Mythology Gag: Quite a few:
    • The first lines of the movie are taken word for word from the first lines of the book—though in this case, it's the narrator that offers the "eager racehorse" explanation rather than a physician.
    • Trig and Bugspray flirt with "Would you like to know more?" and "Everyone's doing their part," lines prominent in the first film's propaganda.
    • Rico shouts, "Come on you apes, you want to live for ever!?", practically the series' catchphrase, as he's dropping with his troopers toward the end.
    • When Carmen is alone after Daugherty is killed, she hears a faint voice that eventually leads her to reunite with the surviving troopers. At the end of the film, it's revealed that Carl was psychically helping her, much like how saved her life in the first movie by directing Johnny psychically to her location. He even uses the same line when when Carmen asks him if he was helping her that he gave Johnny in the first film: "That's classified."
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Carl relieves Carmen of command of her ship when he commandeers it and leaves her behind. This is pretty much the only reason she is still alive in the second act after the John A. Warden goes missing.
  • Nom de Guerre: Many, either reflective of the troopers' personalities, or Punny Names. A few characters get mentioned by name once or twice, but you usually won't hear their real names again once the plot kicks into gear.
  • Nominal Importance: Averted. Named characters die just as easily as unnamed ones, the main difference being that the unnamed ones die before viewers have the chance to know anyone's name.
  • Nose Art: The two squads have different paint jobs on their armor to help tell them apart, and some of the troopers, such as Trig and Shock Jock, have custom artwork on their armor as well.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: After the heroes board the John A. Warden. They would really like to know what happened to the Bugs after they killed everyone.
  • Nuke 'em: Standard strategy once the Bugs have overrun a base or landed on Earth. Sanitize the site with nukes, either planted by troopers or dropped from orbit.
  • Obviously Evil: Carl Jenkins, at first. However, it's eventually subverted when he shows up towards the end with some bugs under his control.
  • Percussive Maintenance: The door to Bugspray's room. When Bugspray tries to do this, he only suceeds in making enough noise to cause Trig to come out of her room and wordlessly show him the right spot to kick the door to make it open.
  • Plot Armor: Only the major characters from the other movies are guaranteed to survive. Almost everyone else loses theirs at some point in the movie.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Thanks, Carl.
  • Point Defenseless: Utterly averted. Rico loses most of his squad just trying to get down to the ground.
    • Played straight with the L-6 base. It fires off exactly one barrage, which the John A. Warden then dodges, and afterwards, they are too close to fire more shots. Justified, however, in that Rico was hesitant to destroy the ship with his friends aboard who sent a message that they were still alive and fighting.
  • Powered Armor: Both of the "suit of armor" variety and of the Mini-Mecha variety.
  • Punch a Wall: Carmen does this due to the frustration of her ship being commandeered by Carl, and her being relieved of command in the process. All for the ship to immediately go missing.
  • Ramming Always Works: One of the Federation ships tries to slam into the John A. Warden as it approaches Earth.
  • Rasputinian Death: Henry "Hero" Varro takes an extraordinary amount of offscreen punishment before going down.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Subverted. Hero dies as soon as his mission is complete, but the only reason he was in trouble to begin with was because he refused to take his squad on a Suicide Mission for Carl Jenkins.
  • Rescue Romance: Trig and Bugspray meet for the first time when Trig nearly doesn't make it onto the Alesia, save for Bugspray grabbing her hand. She is very appreciative.
  • Retirony: The troopers were on their way back to Terra for some long-overdue downtime when they got diverted for a high-priority operation.
  • Scotty Time: When Varro is told the ship's engines will be running in ten minutes, he wants them done in five. Someone asks if that's a hard five minutes or a sort-of five. It's a hard five.
  • Screaming Warrior: The troopers are in the habit of this. In particular, when bugs try to get into the Bridge of the Warden as it's going through the wormhole, all of them start screaming wordlessly at the top of their lungs while firing.
  • Send in the Search Team: Twice, both in the intro and in the primary plot of the movie.
  • Sequel Hook: A Bug Warrior can be seen running through a sewer in The Stinger.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: As established in previous films, Mobile Infantry showers are co-ed, and Ice Blonde walking around shirtless isn't treated as any more unusual than a male trooper doing the same. The Fanservice aspect of this is touched on, though, with troopers of both genders taking the opportunity to go Eating the Eye Candy.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One, possibly two for Aliens, most obviously with the motion-tracker and less obviously when Trig climbs into the air duct. That said, Bishop lives, but Trig doesn't.
    • The sniper gun Trig carries looks very similar to the Cobra Assault Cannon from RoboCop.
    • The voice that whispers to Carmen in the hallway says "Over here," almost exactly how Mac says it in Predator.
  • Shower Scene: Carmen takes a shower early in the film.
  • Slave Mooks: Surprisingly, Carl turns the bugs into this. He only had a few prototypes operational and they were slaughtered eventually, but it was impressive, and timely. Varro eventually performs a Heroic Sacrifice so that Carl could survive and continue developing this project, in the hopes of turning the war around.
  • The Stoic: Holy Man
  • Take a Moment to Catch Your Death: Shock Jock is killed as the Alesia is suddenly blown up while he is in the airlock.
  • Taking You with Me: Several characters utilize this trope by setting off grenades just before they're killed by the bugs.
  • Taking the Bullet: Holy Man dies this way, saving Ice Blonde from a bolt of bug-plasma.
  • The Tease: Iced Blonde has no problem walking around bare-chested (though she's annoyed when she discovers that a psychic member of the group has been (mis)using his powers to find out when she's taking a shower).
  • Technopath: The Queen is able to control The John A. Warden via being plugged into the system.
  • There Is Only One Bed: The only room available to Bugspray is being used for storage. He makes a pretext to use the comm unit in Trig's room, and convinces her to share the bed for some Rescue Sex.
  • To Absent Friends: The MI have a ritual where they hold up their hands as if holding glasses (actual glasses are only provided on Earth) and toast to their fallen friends, as well as those who will inevitably fall next.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Carl has definitely crossed over to the dark side. For all his My Country, Right or Wrong attitude in the first film, you at least got the sense that he genuinely cared about Carmen and Johnny. In Invasion, he's downright mean to Carmen, and Rico is obviously tempted to just leave Carl's ass in the proverbial fire during the climax. It's implied that he still cares about them a fair bit, though. He certainly didn't need Carmen alive to escape (or at least didn't know she'd be useful at the time), but he still telepathically guided her to the MI squad.
  • Trojan Horse: The bug plot. The Terrans know that it's a trick, but the John A. Warden is too powerful for them to intercept her before she can get to Earth.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: The tough-as-nails trooper Ice Blonde and the (comparatively) cute and feminine sniper Trig make up the two female squad members. Guess which of the two make it to the end? Did you just say Trig? Buzzzz. Wrong.
  • Villainous Rescue: The bug queen utilizes the John A. Warden's guns to shoot down the nukes that was coming down on them.
  • Warrior Monk: Holy Man invokes this trope, and has tattoos of various faiths on his body.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: When leaving Fort Casey, the Troopers' ship turns around and uses its thrusters to blast the bugs in the landing bay. Carmen later does the same with a shuttle's thrusters.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Rico and Carmen, toward Jenkins. Rico claims not to care about it anymore, but even he is tempted to just leave Jenkins to die. Carmen outright hates him.
  • We Will Wear Armor in the Future: Complete with a Technology Porn gearing up scene, and armor within Mini-Mecha. The standard armor the characters wear most of the time has magnetic boots (complete with a Silent Running Mode that lets them move around whisper silent rather than clomping around like stormtroopers), and jet boosts for leaping, all of which get put to good use several times.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Carl Jenkins is willing to casually sacrifice the lives of Troopers and Fleet crew alike, all to work towards his ultimate goal: defeating the bugs to save humanity.
  • Worthy Opponent: Carl describes the Queen as this after she mind-hacks "me, the ship, EVERYTHING!"
  • The Worf Barrage: When Carmen's bug-infested ship is bearing down on Earth, Rico orders it shot down. Despite outnumbering it three to one and having a heavily armed station as backup, they can barely manage to land a hit. The bugs, in control of the ship, manage direct and crippling hits with almost every attack.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Ice Blonde is in shock that the more obviously 'good' members of their team didn't make it out alive. Instead, it was her, Ratzass, and Mech, not to mention Carmen, Carl, and Rico all making it out alive.
  • Zerg Rush: Standard Bug tactic. Also the necessary tactic when Rico's Marauders do their drop onto the John A. Warden, and of course for Carl Jenkins's Warrior Bugs.

Would you like to know more?

Alternative Title(s): Starship Troopers