Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers remains one of the truest stealth triumphs of ’90s cinema, an open-palmed slap to the face of the military-industrial complex in the guise of a rough and tumble sci-fi shoot-’em-up. Ever the cultural subversive, Verhoeven mocked the spirit of jingoistic patriotism that motivates American warfare overseas and tricked 121 million dollars’ worth of us into watching him do it. And after twenty years, in a time that has made satire a high-wire balancing act between exaggerated fiction and our insane reality, the film will return to the cultural conversation with a sequel. Which will be a cartoon.

The Hollywood Reporter ran the notice today that animated follow-up Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars will get a one-night engagement at participating multiplexes through Fathom Events. On August 21, fans can gear up once again and prepare to slaughter some bugs (while considering the colonialist implications of their interference in the bugs’ native culture, of course) with showings at over 500 theaters running at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Original cast members Casper Van Dien and Dina Meyer have both returned to reprise their respective roles of Johnny Rico and Dizzy Flores in a new chapter: this time around, Rico gets relegated to a remote satellite near Mars as a punishment, but heroism calls him when the bugs launch a secret sneak attack on that very satellite as the high-ranking human officials are busy elsewhere. Of course, it falls to him and his team to beat back the extraterrestrial menace.

That’s all well and good, but any Starship Troopers sequel would necessarily live and die on its understanding that the source material is satire. A Starship Troopers without its scalding lampooning of wartime mentality is just ... another movie about people fighting aliens. This sequel’s lack of participation from Verhoeven doesn’t look like a good sign, but we’ll hold off on fuller judgement until August.

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