**½/**** Image A Sound A- Extras B-
starring Casper Van Dien, Jolene Blalock, Amanda Donohoe, Boris Kodjoe
written and directed by Ed Neumeier
by Bryant Frazer Hollywood has lately been lousy with torpidly sincere, marquee-name-bedecked anti-war movies, but leave it to the auteurs working in the low-budget trenches to devise an impolite satire of current war efforts. Starship Troopers 3: Marauder isn't exactly deep, but it is an Iraq War allegory that takes on not only the political groupthink that comes with a war well-fought, but also the delusional, God-on-our-side religious angle. In this ramshackle action adventure written and directed by Ed Neumeier, co-writer with director Paul Verhoeven of the original Starship Troopers (which was more a rambunctiously contrary riff on Robert Heinlein's same-named novel than an actual adaptation), the Federal Network's space marines are fighting against a race of alien bugs in an interplanetary war that's become so unpopular that the penalty for anti-war protestors is televised hanging. "This is a very simple ruling," declares one federal judge before an execution, adding--in quotation of a notorious comment made by White House press secretary Ari Fleischer in September 2001--"People need to watch what they say."