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Western Animation / Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars

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A CGI-animated 2017 followup to Starship Troopers: Invasion. The Bugs have overrun Mars with a surprise attack while the Fleet is away on a major offensive, and it is up to Johnny Rico and his troopers to take it back.

The film was produced and marketed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1997 live-action film.

Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Ace Pilot: Carmen shows she's still this whether piloting a starship or a dropship.
  • Anyone Can Die: Subverted, unlike the last animated film. Aside from the majority of Mars's nameless personnel and inhabitants, only a few notable named characters died in this film, with Ratzass stands out in particular.
  • Back for the Dead: Ratzass is featured for two scenes of dialogue with Rico and nobody else, and then is revealed to have died from an unseen a suit malfunction during the emergency drop before firing even a single shot at the attacking bugs.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Subverted. Snapp's corruption is exposed and she may never be Sky Marshal again, but she's still alive and in a way, she did convince the Martians that fighting the war is just as important for them.
  • Bait-and-Switch: We have the usual MI squad being briefed as they're going into action, but it quickly becomes apparent that this squad is a bunch of incompetent rookies.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Due to terraforming, you can breathe on Mars, though Air Day is still a big deal.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted when Snapp gets headbutted by Carl; she is not happy and joins her mooks in kicking him. Though she's patched up alright, you can still see the stitches in her lip.
  • Better than Sex: The Lost Patrol has this reaction to the excitement of their first real combat drop. Though some debate as to whether it really is better than sex. The excitement lasts until they look down and see their landing zone swarming with bugs.
  • Big Bad: Sky Marshal Amy Snapp.
  • Big Electric Switch: Used to turn on the terraforming machine.
  • Birds of a Feather: Rico admits that the Lost Patrol aren't much different from his not-too-bright self in his younger years.
  • Book Ends: The movie opens and concludes with Rico briefing the Lost Patrol for a mission.
  • Brains and Brawn: Carl has this relationship with Rico, using him as an Unwitting Pawn (though in fairness, not an unwilling one) because he knows Rico obeys orders and can survive anything.
  • Brick Joke: One particular soldier is always ripped in half during the training simulation with him asking why he always gets ripped in half, another soldier commenting "The bugs have your number." Towards the end of the movie, he is ripped in half for real, asking that same question one last time, with the same soldier saying the bugs really did have his number.
  • The Bus Came Back: Dizzy, which doesn't make sense as to how she survived her supposed death, which it turns out she was just a psychic hallucination caused by Carl to help Johnny. Also with Casper Van Dien, as he voices Johnny in this movie after his last role as Johnny being Starship Troopers 3: Marauder.
  • Can't Stop The Signal: It appears even in the United Citizens Federation there are ways of getting the truth out. Rico gives Baba information on the conspiracy, and he releases it on the internet to a 'musical activist'.
  • Chair Reveal: Our heroes go to confront Sky Marshal Snapp, only to find Carl running things while Snapp takes leave of absence.
  • Character Development: All of Rico's new recruits. They went from extremely incompetent and being unable to complete a training simulation without total failure, and even making fun of Johnny's command (including putting spoons in front of one eye to mock the fact Johnny has an eyepatch) to fighting the bugs for real (albeit skittish and a bit clumsy about it) to being willing to fight alongside Johnny against the bugs and respecting him as a commander.
  • The Chessmaster:
    • Rico realises it's not a coincidence that he's been posted away from the front line to a place where an infestation of Bugs has been brewing for years. Turns out Carl Jenkins is still on the ball.
    • The bugs arrived on Mars in a meteor three years before. Snapp had a Q-Bomb planted ready in an old terraforming tower, and sends the fleet away on a mission to the other side of the galaxy when the Mars infestation is about to break out.
  • Continuous Decompression: Rico and Ratzass nearly get blown out into space but grab on to something in time, unlike a couple of Redshirt characters in the same corridor.
  • Culture Clash: Many members of United Citizens Federation on Earth did not have high opinions on Martians due to their secessionist movement and "bumpkin" nature compared to the mainstream law-abiding culture. This is one reason why many would support Amy Snapps' detonation of Mars initially.
  • Continuity Nod: The FedNet from the first film is back, including the "Would you like to know more?" quote. The Klendathu Invasion, Planet P, and Whiskey Outpost are mentioned, as well as a brief mention of the John A. Warden incident in the previous movie. And at the end of the movie, Johnny used the quote: "Come on you apes, you wanna live forever?!" that he used at the end of the first movie.
    • Dizzy is also shown sporting the same tattoo Johnny's team received in the first film.
  • Cowardly Lion: Baba gives a Big "OMG!" as they're dropping towards the surface under Bug fire, but screws up his nerve to be the first to jump out of the dropship.
  • Cut Phone Lines: All contact with Mars has been cut off, to prevent anyone knowing there are still people alive and fighting there.
  • Dark Is Evil: The Special Branch warships sent to detain Carmen, and the Elite Mooks working for Snapp are all in black. Rico starts off in black Power Armor, but later discards it when it runs out of power, and helps himself to ordinary armor.
  • Demoted to Extra: Carmen noticeably has less to do in this film in comparison to the last one. In contrast, Rico and Carl have a much more active role.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: "What did Snapp know, and when did she start knowing it?"
  • Ensign Newbie: Although the "Lost Patrol" are inexperienced recruits, Baba fits more to this as the only junior officer in the unit.
  • Epic Fail: That's the only way to describe the result of the combat simulation at the beginning of the film.
  • Evil Is Petty: How else can you describe a villain who is willing to intentionally protect the growing Bug colony on Mars until they overpower the human colonies, then nuke the whole planet to hell because, a): they wanted to send a message to any other 'colonies' flirting with the idea of secession, and b): they were angry that their approval ratings slightly dipped?
  • Eyepatch of Power: Rico has a patch with the Federation eagle on it.
  • The Faceless: Baba's cousin never takes off his One-Way Visor.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama:
  • Foil: For all that he's a Manipulative Bastard, Carl believes in the Federation's principles of duty and responsibility, whereas Sky Marshall Snap just wants power and popularity.
  • Gatling Good: Rico makes use of a shoulder mounted one.
  • Genghis Gambit: At first it looks like Snapp is doing this, as the Martians don't think the war has anything to do with them. Turns out she wants to Make an Example of Them by wiping out the entire planet.
  • Good News, Bad News: When their Drop Ship gets hit, the Lost Patrol has to jump out in mid-air and rely on their Jet Packs. Surprisingly they make it out of the dropship without a hitch.
    Rico: Good news is we are all-systems-go. Everything is working the way it's supposed to.
    (Bug plasma incinerates a trooper)
    Rico: The bad news is M.I.'s got a 12-percent casualty drop rate that's pretty hard to crack.
  • Helpful Hallucination:
    • After being left for dead by the Lost Patrol, Rico is encouraged to get off his backside and start walking by a vision of his dead Love Interest Dizzy Flores. It soon becomes obvious (though not to Rico) that this is a literal version of this trope; a psychic vision sent by an imprisoned Carl Jenkins.
    • Rico has trouble getting on his feet as he's dehydrated. Later he's shown drinking from a bottle of water as he walks across the desert, but complains that he's till thirsty, implying the bottle is another hallucination.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Carl waking up Rico with a Motivational Kiss in the appearance of a former lover.
  • It's the Only Way: When the dropship gets hit on the way down, Rico tells the Lost Patrol they have a choice between staying on board and dying, or jumping out and dying. Turns out they're wearing Jet Packs so they do have a chance of survival, just not a very good one with plasma bugs shooting at them and the dropzone swarming with Warrior bugs.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Carmen uses this tactic to escape the spaceships sent to arrest her. She cuts her engines, waits till they're about to dock then dives for the planet surface, staying within their blind spot so they can't hit her.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • "What did Snapp know, and when did she know it?" is followed by the Fed Net Catchphrase, "Do you want to know more?"
    • "What's your malfunction?!" Rico says this to Baba, and later Dizzy says it to Rico when he won't get off his ass.
    • "It's a good day to die" gets reused when Rico finds a dead trooper whose Jet Pack he can use. "You picked a good day to die."
  • Irony:
    • On their first combat drop, Rico tells the troopers that if they remember their training they won't die. But they all got killed during training.
    • Dutch, one of the members of the Lost Patrol, always seems to get ripped in half by bugs during the training simulations. Towards the end of the movie, he actually is killed in this manner. (And the only member of Lost Patrol to be killed.)
    • Rico warns the lost patrol to watch their Jet Pack fuel, only to run out himself.
  • It's All About Me: While Amy Snapp is touted as smartest human by the news, it didn't account for her narcissism and apathy towards legitimate issues.
  • Jump Jet Pack: Finally used to their full potential — for combat drops, quick getaways, and mid-air boarding.
  • Kinda Busy Here: Carmen is not amused when Carl makes psychic contact with her while she's trying to launch an invasion.
  • Laugh Track: When Sky Marshall Snapp makes a speech over the Fed Net applause is heard, only for a Reveal Shot to show the auditorium is empty. This shows how her bid for power is based on public approval rather than the machinery of government.
  • Lost Lenore: Rico is still kinda hung up on Dizzy's death, even keeping a photo of her on his work station. Carl uses this to project a very realistic psychic hallucination of her to help motivate him to survive long enough to regroup with his squad and stop the Q-Bomb..
  • Mood Whiplash: The Lost Patrol often jump from pants-wetting terror to gung-ho exhilaration when they escape death, only to Mass "Oh, Crap!" again when more Bugs appear.
  • New Meat: The entirety of the Mars Defense Personnel. They're so hopelessly inexperienced in combat that Rico dubbed the squad he trained the 'Lost Patrol' as he has a very hard time training them. When shit hits the fans, though, they proved to be surprisingly effective. They make up for their lack of experience with their resourcefulness and faith in Rico's command.
  • Nerd Glasses: Baba wore this that further emphasized his geeky personality and (initially) clumsy nature.
  • Nice Girl: Camacho the only female in Lost Patrol, and Carmen.
  • Nice Guy: Most members of Lost Patrol.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Sky Marshal Amy Snapp's appearance is like that of Emma Watson.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Realising Rico is alive, the Lost Patrol insist on a one-way mission to rescue him, despite the fact that they're safe in orbit and their dropship is almost out of fuel. In return Rico refuses to leave Baba behind when Baba's jetpack runs out of fuel.
  • Psychic Powers
    • Carl is able to communicate with Carmen on the other side of the galaxy.
    • Soldiers attempt to arrest Carl, but he uses his powers to mess with their heads and get one to shoot the other. Unfortunately there's an undercover Psi-qualified agent on the scene, who tasers him into unconsciousness.
    • Even beaten, confined and drugged, Carl still shows some impressive tricks when he's able to send a Helpful Hallucination to Rico on Mars, and mess up Sky Marshal Snapp's speech with a Psychic Nosebleed.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Because Johnny allowed a Bug Queen to land on Earth during the events of Starship Troopers: Invasion, Johnny (formerly a General) is demoted to the rank of Colonel and reassigned to Mars, training a squad of incompetent troopers.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Lt. Baba bumps into a soldier just as he's about to fire off his Deadly Gas, causing the Backpack Cannon to discharge into the ground at their feet. Fortunately the gas is only deadly to Bugs, but it prevents the Lost Patrol from seeing anything. Rico advises Baba switch to infra-red, but Baba messes up his Heads-Up Display and launches a missile instead. Thankfully it's a Danger Room Cold Open.
    Rico: That's not your infra-red, Lieutenant.
    Baba: Then what is it? (nuke goes off)
  • The Reveal:
    • Sky Marshal Amy Snapp knew about the bugs on Mars but did nothing, intending to destroy Mars and use Carl Jenkins as her Fall Guy just to boost approval ratings toward her.
    • The return of Dizzy, which led to several theories coming from the fandom. The truth is Dizzy is really a hallucination created by Carl in order to stop Johnny from dying out in the desert.
  • Right Behind Me: Rico walks into the messhall to find the Lost Patrol mocking him. He doesn't make an issue over it.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Carl urges Snapp not to detonate the Q Bomb, but to prove the worth of the Federation by coming to the rescue of the Martians. When Snapp isn't remotely interested, he headbutts her in the face.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Ratzass from Starship Troopers: Invasion returns in this movie and dies halfway through the movie when his helmet malfunctions during a high altitude jump and he freezes to death.
  • Tamer and Chaster: Unlike the previous movies, this movie had no nudity, sex or co-ed shower scenes.
  • Take My Hand!: Unlike in the last movie this doesn't work, with Rico using his Jump Jet Pack to try and board a hovering dropship only to miss the outstretched hand and apparently fall to his death.
  • Taking You with Me: Baba's cousin, George. He crashes his ship into a plasma bug, killing them both.
  • Tank-Top Tomboy: Camacho, the only female in their team, when not in her armor, wears a tank top. So does Hallucination!Dizzy.
  • There Was a Door: The hanger door won't open to let the dropship out, so Rico uses the dropship's missiles to blow open the door.
  • Think of the Children!: In Snapp's Rousing Speech inciting the citizens of the Federation to approve her use of the Q-Bomb.
  • Title Drop: Snapp addresses Carl as the "traitor of Mars". Turns out she's the one that let the infestation grow out of control, and she plans to frame Carl for it.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Rico finds himself being chased by a horde of Bugs, but strips armour and jetpack from some dead soldiers and is able to get away. It's a great scene...except no matter how close the Bugs get to Rico, they always seem to be further back in the next shot, giving him time to strap on another piece of equipment.
  • Universally Beloved Leader: Amy Snapp's ultimate goal, and she's willing to destroy Mars and blame the whole thing on Carl Jenkins to do so. She does not take it well when she sees even the slightest decrease in her popularity.
  • Use Your Head: Carl at one point, since he is tied to a chair, headbutts Amy and breaks her nose.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: Downplayed Trope, while there are independence movement among Martians, it has mostly been protests rather than outright conflict. However, it didn't deter Amy Snapps from almost detonating a Q Bomb as a way to make an example against potential secession from Earth.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Carl and Johnny have this between them, to both their regrets. While Johnny confides to Dizzy that he feels his best friend has gotten too big to be friends with, Dizzy (who is really Carl) admits that Carl could have tried a little harder. This is the reveal that Diz is actually a psychic hallucination when she suddenly asks, "Come on, Johnny! We're still friends, aren't we?"
  • What Does This Button Do?: Baba tries to activate his infra-red and fires off a nuclear weapon.