TGB Breakdown Ep 12: Verhoeven's Starship Troopers (Guest: Liam O'Donnell)

February 26, 2013

TGB Breakdown Ep 12: Verhoeven's Starship Troopers

On this episode of The Golden Briefcase Breakdown, hosts Tim & Jeremy are joined by guest Liam O'Donnell of Hydraulx for a spoiler-filled discussion on Paul Verhoeven's 1997 science fiction action cult classic Starship Troopers, based on the Robert A. Heinlein novel, starring Casper Van Dien. The main purpose of Breakdown episodes is to to ponder, discuss and challenge the films that we feel often need more than just a simple review. We breakdown the film to discuss plots and theories in order to better understand the director's vision and hopefully challenge our listeners at home to re-evaluate the way they watch cinema.

Extra episodes of TGB Breakdown will be arriving about every month, and will appear here in addition to all of our regular weekly Golden Briefcase episodes. Beware - every episode of TGB Breakdown will contain SPOILERS for the film in discussion (this one about 1997's Starship Troopers). You've been WARNED!

Download Breakdown #12 or Listen Now:

Latest Golden Briefcase: The Golden Die Hards (Guest: Liam O'Donnell)

Subscribe via: RSS RSS or RSS iTunes

The Movie:

Starship Troopers (1997) - Directed by Paul Verhoeven

Our Guest:

Liam O'Donnell: @LiamOdin

The Golden Briefcase is:

Tim Buel: @timbuel
Jeremy Kirk: @JeremyKKirk

Thank you for listening to TGB Breakdown. Have a film you want to hear go through the Breakdown? Shoot us an email to or a voicemail (805-416-2131) and we would be glad to include it in a future edition! Any other feedback, compliments, discussion, even hate mail, can be sent to us via email.

Find more posts: Golden Briefcase, Podcasts, Sci-Fi



One of the best films of all this amazing, genius, violent fascist satire to pieces. This versus Titanic best visual effects, which one still stands up today looking's not James Cameron's epic and yet it beat it at the Oscars...

Linkfx on Feb 26, 2013


I think they both stand up amazingly well...better than any CGI fest from say...2005(Revenge of the Sith, King Kong, etc)

Chris Groves on Feb 26, 2013


the ship and the environment around it, including the billowing steam and the people walking on the deck look really cheesy now. the same can not be said for starship troopers, save for the acid fire shooting out of the tanker bug's maw the vfx still look pristine.

Linkfx on Feb 27, 2013


That's all matter of opinion. I watched them both fairly recently. Neither of them look like they were made last year...but BOTH of them hold up exceptionally well.

Chris Groves on Feb 27, 2013


Funny I watched this one with my son just three days ago, always delivering. Too bad we're never going to get a remake with anything close to Verhoeven's special touch. On the other hand, A Neill Blomkamp version could be bad ass

Magnus Månsson on Feb 26, 2013


Great suggestion. When I saw District 9 I thought "This guy would not make anything close to the Halo movie I'd like to see" BUT I thought he would be perfect for any sort of hardcore, violent sci-fi. A new Alien/Aliens film, a Starship Troopers remake, a Gears of War adaptation...that kind of stuff is right up his alley.

Chris Groves on Feb 26, 2013


You realize he made a Halo short before D9 right? was epic

Cody W on Feb 26, 2013


I saw it...and yeah, that's not the style I want for a Halo film, literally EVERY live action Halo short that has come since has been better than the ones Blomkamp did. I don't want shaky cameras with dirt and grime all over the place and the weird 'narrative style' that cuts to head-cam footage and things like that all of the time. Halo is grand and's closer to Star Wars or Lord of the Rings than it is to Saving Private Ryan in terms of style. It's a little cleaner and more vibrant, not monochromatic and filthy. Blomkamp has a unique style, but I don't want Halo done that way.

Chris Groves on Feb 27, 2013


SO glad to get a Starship Troopers episode. Awesome, awesome movie.

Chris Groves on Feb 26, 2013


I've not heard very good things about "Invasion" to tell the truth. Also, from what I understand, the novel is VERY dissimilar to the film. It's one of those things where people who love the book tend to hate the movie. I think it only has one 'action piece', Dizzy is a guy, etc etc

Chris Groves on Feb 26, 2013


Sounds like you didn't get the movie. "The main purpose of Breakdown episodes is to to ponder, discuss and challenge the films that we feel often need more than just a simple review." "Ponder, discuss and challenge". What? Is there a part two?? I heard 3 guys reminisce cool scenes, you didn't go too deep. You choose this movie to talk about, do it justice with a proper follow up. It's as if you didn't even bother read anything on imdb or wikipedia about the novel and the movie, cuz: "words". There's also a few audio commentaries about the movie you could have listened to. I was looking forward to hearing 3 Americans who got it and their analysis of this Masterpiece, but it was as if it was 1997 again: Americans don't get it. They only see bugs. This was drive-thru film discussion, tsk-tsk, you can do better.

David Banner on Feb 26, 2013


Am I catching an 'Anti-American' vibe from this comment? It's their show, they can discuss it however they want. Just because they chose to be nostalgic for the awesome instead of waxing philosophic on the satire of fascism doesn't mean they appreciated the film any less. ALSO, different people CAN appreciate films for different things.

Chris Groves on Feb 26, 2013


Im an American...and I got it. So sick of national-ist bullshit.

Cody W on Feb 26, 2013


I couldnt agree more with Banner, this episode was only a notch above listening to Beavis and Butthead(+ some other guy) discuss a movie with explosions. And on the americans dont get it part, that is 99% true. When I was a student abroad, around 99', I would often bring this movie up for many reasons, one being on how to convey messages in plain sight. Americans dont get this movie, it neeed a european to direct it, even if it was "americanised", and doesnt follow the book 100%, it is a pretty damn good description on the usa. Or maybe its just a bug move. And the alien races are not allegorys to jews or "gooks".

Sal Heart on Feb 27, 2013


Spot on mate, spot on. They claimed <> but it was just drivel they delivered. It has been a standing joke between my mates and I to ask americans to explain Starship Troopers to us. Fucking fail each time, ignorant swines.

Tommy the Hammer on Feb 27, 2013


That came out strange. How did the chatbox know I am pissed?

Tommy the Hammer on Feb 27, 2013


Wow..."ignorant swines" strike me as a true gentleman.

Chris Groves on Feb 27, 2013


Im sure the majority of your countrymen couldnt explain it to you either. Ugh why do I bother.

Cody W on Feb 27, 2013


I was interesting in exploring what made the film so insanely rewatchable after all these years. But completely agree that we could have gone deeper into the satire and the politics. I'd be more than happy to do a follow up.

Liam O'Donnell on Mar 1, 2013


Maybe I got a bit green, with rage, after hearing to your podcast. If this is the level you "Ponder, discuss and challenge" a movie, you might want to consider renaming this part of the podcast to "Recommendations" or something so you don't lead listeners on to believing they will learn something. I was looking online for some (online) lectures on the subject of Starship Troopers, I think one of them was called: "Hidden in plain slight-How Starship Troopers soared over the radar in the USA". Something long like that. There has been several made over the years, go look for them if you are a fan. Then I was reminded that Roger Ager made 3x15min videos on the subject a year or two ago, and has a new, related video released March 6th of this year, but not too much ST in the first part, maybe in later videos. This video shows how you "Ponder, discuss and challenge" a movie: STARSHIP TROOPERS film analysis 1/3 by Rob Ager wuff!

David Banner on Mar 6, 2013


Great movie. Verhoeven went out (of the US) on a real high.

castingcouch on Feb 27, 2013


The book has little to do with the movie, guys. Heinlein basically did two things: write kickass power-armor space marine action, and discuss different philosophical issues. People that have only read this one book by Heinlein actually accused him of being pro-fascism, in fact. It's a good read - give it a try.

David Menéndez on Mar 4, 2013

New comments are no longer allowed on this post.



Subscribe to our feed -or- daily newsletter:
Follow Alex's main account on twitter:
For the latest posts only - follow this one:

Add our updates to your Feedly - click here

Get the latest posts sent in Telegram Telegram