Dutch director Paul Verhoeven mixes big budget bug bashing with twisted satire of old Hollywood movies in this adaptation of Robert Heinlein's classic sci-fi novel. It's the future, Earth is at war, and the kids are all going off to fight giant killer bugs on the remote planet of Klendathu.

4.5
Melrose Place in space? More like a sharp sci-fi social satire.

Paul Verhoeven has a devilish sense of humour; he`s one of the most sneakily subversive filmmakers in the business and, as a Dutchman who lives and works in America, his films carry a sub-text that`s highly critical of his adopted country.

You only have to think of RoboCop and Total Recall, his two great sci-fi thrillers, or his sex films, Basic Instinct and the underrated Showgirls, to see how Verhoeven layers his material with cheerful malice. Starship Troopers is also likely to be underrated - "Melrose Place in Space" it`s been called.

In a future world, which is very Americanised and yet very fascistic, high school students are taught that, in the 20th Century, social scientists brought the world to the brink of chaos. These impossibly clean-cut, cartoon-like heroes - cast from primetime tv soaps - rally to the cause when Earth is attacked by bugs from outer space...

Humans vs bugs - but the good guys and bad guys aren't so clearly delineated (bugs have a culture too).

The first half of Starship Troopers is clever satire which spoofs teen movies and World War 2 movies; the second half contains some of the most spectacular, and grisly, scenes of battle ever filmed. There`s a wonderfully cynical, and very honest, sensibility behind this outrageously entertaining bug movie.