(On DVD, December 2004) Hmmm. Given how much I hated the first film, and how brutally the straight-to-video low-budget sequel was reviewed in and out the genre critics, you may be expecting a savage put-down. And yet, while I’m ready to concede that this is no high art, there are a few noteworthy things in this pure B-grade film. (And that’s without mentioning the occasional nude scene). First, it’s unabashedly cheap and unpretentious, embracing its own low-grade nature like few other low-budget films ever do. Second, it works really well as a testing ground for what I assume were fairly cheap and dirty special effects. While you may see the “Puppet Masters” plot coming from a mile away, the actual bloody revelation of the creature is hands-down one of the most effective such Special Effects sequence I’ve ever scene. Wow. The rest of the effects also work well, culminating in an apocalyptic finale. Generally speaking, the whole film gets better as it advances: from the cringe-worthy first few scenes, Starship Troopers 2 gets more and more confident as it advances, keeping its best cards for the end. A particularly ugly assault scene works as intended (as exploitative as it is), setting up a fantastic payback a few minutes later. A nicely ironic coda concludes the film with a nice little kick. No, this isn’t a complete waste of time. But you’ll have to be lenient.