It's a weird thing to say, but I'll stand by it: Looking back at the '90s, one of the most memorable films was Paul Verhoeven's fantastically bizarre sci-fi/comedy/action flick from 1997, Starship Troopers—a totally fucking weird movie that was a mash-up of James Cameron's Aliens, Aaron Spelling's Beverly Hills 90210, and Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will. Oh, and it also had Doogie Howser in it! He played a jackbooted psychic who could talk to aliens.
Starship Troopers wasn't "good," per se, but as a skeezy Petri dish of a billion different pop culture ideas, it's still a really great, really pulpy cinematic artifact. And a surprisingly successful one, too: The film spawned an animated TV series, some videogames, and not one but two awful direct-to-DVD sequels, the most recent of which hit stores last week.
Starship Troopers 3: Marauder doesn't feature Doogie (presumably, Neil Patrick Harris is too busy kicking it with Harold and Kumar, or posting on Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog) but it does feature the original Starship Troopers' Casper Van Dien and Star Trek: Enterprise's Jolene Blalock, two terrible actors who've gotten mired in the quicksand of cheap genre film. There are also aliens with mouths that look like vaginas, and missiles that look like penises, and a few clumsy vestiges of Verhoeven's sneaky sarcasm.
But Marauder is cheap and lazy, and unlike Verhoeven's original, one can't tell when it's trying to be bad and when it's just flat-out bad. (Marauder is advertised with the lead-in line "Paul Verhoeven presents," but as far as I can tell, dude isn't actually credited as doing anything on the film.) But still: Marauder's worth being aware of, I guess, if only because this sort of thing is only going to get worse: For better or worse, direct-to-DVD sequels are becoming more and more of a presence on DVD shelves. Marauder fits into the "worse" category. As for the "better," you have your pick between American Pie Presents: Band Camp and The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning. Wait. Shit.