On one level Starship Troopers works as an intense sci-fi/action flick with great battle scenes and spectacular special effects. But going beyond that it provides excellent commentary on fascism, power and war.
Living in a militaristic future, our heroes, high school graduates at the start of the film, feel it is their civic duty to serve. They do this not fully realizing just what a sacrifice this will entail especially since they'll soon be at war with the bugs. They are transformed from wide-eyed innocents to battled-hardened warriors. This is especially seen near the end when Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien) tells Ace (Jake Busey), "We're the old men now". This coming a year after they enlisted.
I thought most of the actors did a decent job except for Denise Richards as Carmen Ibanez who got on my nerves. That woman can only express two emotions - sparkling eyes for happiness, doe eyes for fear.
Starship Troopers is insanely violent - people get cut to pieces before your eyes and some of the action is played for laughs, sometimes uncomfortably so. The special effects are fantastic - the bugs are scary as hell and there are great imagery of the various ships in space.
I'll be honest - I was put off watching Starship Troopers because of all the negative reviews. But after seeing it, I tip my hat of to Paul Verhoeven for creating this amazing movie.