Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars is a 2017 CGI-animated film as the fifth instalment in the Starship Troopers film series.
For the failure to stop the Queen from landing on Earth, John Rico is demoted back to Colonel and reassigned to Mars, where he has the unfortunate job of training incompetent Martians to be Mobile Infantry. He named his recruits Lost Patrol due to their constant failure in training simulations, which it doesn't help by the fact that denizens of Mars in general has laid-back attitude and overall has low support for the war, seeing their planet unaffected by the bug conflict and even suggesting pulling out from the war.
Around this time, the Fleet is deployed on a massive campaign to the Arachnid Quarantine Zone and Carmen Ibanez is among the captains leading the assault. During the assault, Carmen received a telepathic distress from Jenkins who urged her to aid Rico who oblivious to what Sky Marshal Amy Snapp stored for Mars and worse, Federation's fate is at the stake if the truth about the planet's situation comes out. To her dismay, Jenkins disconnected their connection due to him immediately arrested under Snapp's orders. Simultaneously, Level 4 Bug Infestation occurs on Mars, overwhelming Martian defenses with its citizens not ready for the attack. Despite the odds, Rico prepared Lost Patrol for combat, all while knowing someone among higher-ups in Federation aware with Bugs' presence on the Mars, the same one who demoted him.
Surviving the initial assault, Rico revealed to his team his suspicion about the mastermind behind the whole thing before having them destroying a Bug horde who intercepted them upon landing. Meanwhile, Carmen managed to elude the arrest from Special Branch and directed her ship back to Mars.
FedNet claimed that the Bugs landed on Mars via a Bug Meteor 3 years prior and had built up their colony since then, with Snapp who first to notice. Rather than reporting it however, she instead exploit it as the plan to gain social and political support to scuttle the whole planet — she conducted the massive campaign to the Arachnid Quarantine Zone as the distraction and capture General Carl Jenkins before fabricating a story in which the Federation was too distracted in the AQZ to save Mars and had to detonate a Q-Bomb (planet destroyer) to cleanse the bug threat. The final stage of her plan will be having Jenkins as the target for the blame for Mars' downfall. As Carmen is on her way for Mars, Snapp gloated over her schemes to Jenkins and reveled in her victory before having her men sedated him. The corrupt Sky Marshall then left her prisoner alone, unaware that her plans already started to crumble.
Back in Rico and his surviving team's position, the group were found by a rescue drop ship piloted by George just as the Bugs continue their assault. However, Rico's thrusters suffer a failure and ended up plumetting to the smokecreen below, much to Lost Patrols' dismay.
During the press, Amy Snapp prepared the next step of her plan where she asked for the public's growing support to gain the authority for Q-Bomb's activation to destroy Mars. However, her progress ended up delayed with Jenkins briefly control her mind, resulting her went off-course in her speech — Jenkins' psychic ability is not entirely compromised despite his current state, as he was proved strong enough to guide Rico with use of a telepathic projection that assumed the form of his deceased girlfriend Dizzy afterwards. With the same projection, Jenkins guided Rico for the terraforming tower where the the Q-Bomb has been positioned ready to blow up the planet. He briefly revealed the projection's true nature due to beaten and berated by Snapp for interfering her speech, yet his own plan to stop the corrupt Sky Marshall already underway with her too arrogant to realize what's going on. Continuing what he left off, Jenkins sent his Dizzy projection back to Rico after he defeated a Warrior Bug with little to no weapons, though Rico already noticed the projection's nature. Although the projection eventually expired before he could gain the answers, Johnny nevertheless press on with his destination already on his reach.
Just then, Baba discovered that their commander Rico is still alive and, humbled by his and his fellow Lost Patrols' first combat experience, rally his friends to rescue him. Unable to help but moved by their resolve, George immediately the the course of their ship for Rico. As the reinvigorated band of misfits were on their way, Rico salvaged fallen troopers' weapons and suit to fend of another horde of bugs. Rico was about to prepare for his last stand on the terraforming tower by the time Lost Patrols arrived, but the real battle is about to begin with Bug horde's plasma bug damaged George's ship, forcing the group to exit the ship as the pilot perform a kamikaze attack on the said bug, briefly crippling the enemy forces. Rico's suspicion was confirmed when Baba revealed that Federation is seemingly severed the communication between Earth and Mars, and thus he ordered them to secure the tower.
As Snapp was about to execute last few stages of the plan by activating Q-Bomb, the corrupt Sky Marshall was shocked to see the bomb cannot be activated. It is then Carmen exposed her treachery along with live recording with Rico and Lost Patrol who just have disabled Q-Bomb and claimed that they had to do so die to the bomb was "activated by mistake". As a result, Snapp is unable to help but shocked to see that her plan has been crumbled with her ratings drastically dropped.
With the bomb disarmed, Rico's troopers overload the tower's systems to improvise a massive explosive device to severely thin out the enemy forces. Whereas public reception for Snapp dropped, the opposite occured on Rico's troopers as soon as the FedNet went online once again. Despite another casualty from Lost Patrol members (one of the members suffered a death he thought humiliating where a Bug scissored him into half just like in simulation), the group managed to evacuate through Carmen's timely arrived dropship. The last minute rescue itself was not without a difficulty as Baba's jetpack fuel ran out of energy while jumping for the ship, prompting Rico and one of his teammates to pick him up. With the team evacuated, the tower’s destruction destroys the bugs within its blast radius.
In the aftermath, Carmen and Rico learned that Jenkins has taken over Snapp's position following her failure as a Sky Marshal. While dismayed that Snapp is not punished for Mars' bug infestation due to her position and Federation's systems, it doesn't deter Rico to expose the truth with one way or another: Sometime prior to the campaign for reclaiming Mars, Rico entrusted Baba to leak some classified information pertaining Snapp's treachery is revealed to the public.
- Casper Van Dien as Colonel Johnny Rico
- Dina Meyer as Dizzy Flores
- Justin Doran as General Carl Jenkins
- Luci Christian as Captain Carmen Ibanez
- Scott Gibbs as Lieutenant Toshi Baba
- Chris Gibson as Dutch Cantor
- Greg Ayres as Private 2nd Class Geo Malik
- DeRay Davis as Corporal One-Oh-One
- Juliet Simmons as Tami Camacho
- Emily Neves as Sky Marshall Amy Snapp
- Leraldo Anzaldua as Sergeant Major Guy "Ratzass" Cunningham
- John Swasey as Sergeant George Baba
- Maggie Flecknoe as Sana the Ticket Agent
- The story is set 20 years after the first film. In the reality, it is also 20 years between the first film and Traitor of Mars.
- Battle of Klendathu is mentioned.
- Ambush at Whiskey Outpost is mentioned, to be more specifically, Dizzy's death.
- The John A. Warden Incident is mentioned and it became the reason that Johnny Rico was demoted from General to Colonel.
- Ratzass is a recurring character from the previous film, Starship Troopers: Invasion.
Starship Troopers references
Starship Troopers novel
- In the begining of training simulation, Dutch is killed immediately, just like his counterpart in the novel.
- Gas bomb ("Tanglefoot") in the novel is replaced with gas missile in the film.
- Simulated training is featured in the novel. It was Rico who fire the nuclear missile by mistake during the training. In the film, it was Baba who mistakenly fired the nuke.
- In the film, Mars is described as a place for R&R. In the novel, Emilio Rico offered Johnnie a trip to Mars, trying to prevent his son from joining the military.
- Jump jet is featured on screen.
- "Come on, you apes" is a quote from the novel.
- How Rico and Camacho carried Baba to the retrieval ship is like how Rico and Corporal Ace carried Dizzy to the retrieval ship in the novel.
Starship Troopers anime
- Mars is featured as a battleground.
Starship Troopers film
- The Fed Net is featured in the film.
- The quote "Would you like to know more?" are from the propaganda as seen in the first film.
- The picture of Death From Above is painted on Johnny Rico's helmet.
- Luna Base is featured in the film.
- Zander Barcalow is mentioned.
- Carmen Ibanez pilots a landing vessel to rescue Johnny and his crew, much like she did 20 years ago at Whiskey Outpost after an ambush.
- Carl guides Johnny again, like he did in the first film.
Starship Troopers comics
- In the comic, it is mentioned that thirty years before the First Interstellar War, a tegument dropped in on Mars in an Arachnid attempt to colonise the planet. However, the planet's temperature was too cold, causing the Bug pod to impact the surface far faster than it was capable of.
Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation
- The survivors of the film are extracted from a tall building via a landing ship.
Starship Troopers 3: Marauder
- A political scheme is featured.
- A Sky Marshal is featured as a villain.
- Rico is blamed as a scapegoat again for an incident. Last time was the Fall of Roku San in Marauder and this time was John A. Warden Incident.
- Anti-Federation movement is also featured in this film.
- Q Bomb is first used on screen in Marauder.
- "It's A Good Day To Die" is spoken in the film.
Starship Troopers: Invasion
- Rico discharged all his armor.
- Rico had to run from being chased by bunches of Warrior Bugs.
- Unlike Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation, Starship Troopers 3: Marauder, and Starship Troopers: Invasion, this film features the most survivors in Starship Troopers film franchise so far.
- Rico once again shows the importance of the combat knife, proving Ted Hendrick and Ace Levy is wrong.
The film was produced by Lucent Pictures Entertainment and Sola Digital Arts. Sola produced Starship Troopers: Invasion, the previous film in the series. The two studios previously worked together on the 2014 film Appleseed Alpha.
Traitor of Mars generally received middling reviews, mostly from online media outlets.
Film Grouch gave the film a 4/5, with reviewer Rick Swift claiming "overall it was just a fun film," and that "the addition of the much missed power suits alone makes it a must watch for fans of Heinlein’s work."
IGN gave the film a 6/10, with reviewer Blair Marnell liking elements of the film, but ultimately criticizing the script. Marnell concludes the film is "largely forgettable."
CNET's review, by Roger Cheng, praised the action set-pieces and the armored suits, but claimed the satire lacked the "bite" of the original live-action film. Cheng offers criticism of the CGI, and the film sometimes feeling like a "well-produced video game." He ends on a positive note, however, saying "despite the criticism, Traitor of Mars opens the door to a universe I've sorely missed and wouldn't mind seeing more of in the future."
Starburst Magazine rated the film 5/10, concluding "It’s not overly engaging, and other than in its politics it doesn’t say an awful lot. But that’s beside the point; this is a colourful thrill rush for the fans who enjoyed the colourful thrill rush of the original film, and in those terms it does its job."
Blu-Ray.com's reviewer, Martin Liebman, gave the film a 3/5, calling it "an enjoyable film but one that doesn't add a whole lot to the main story's lore. It delivers serviceable action, a few biting social insights, and an enjoyable villainous politician. Otherwise, it's kind of a classic watch-and-forget, but it's at least better than the live action sequels by quite a bit."