Defining Military science fiction can be tricky- it's a subgenre of sci-fi that features a protagonist -who's normally part of the chain of command, and is directly involved in some kind of war or military situation- where there is a clear difference between a military lifestyle, and one of that from a civilian perspective.
Which leads me towards the opinion, that the best military sci-fi aren't necessarily the ones with the most space battles and armed combat, although those are always fun to watch.So today I thought I would make a video -focusing on Military science fiction in all shapes and forms, and where better place to start than with
Starship Troopers 1997
Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi action adventure -Set in a futuristic military earth, where high school teenagers are encouraged to become citizens by joining the military. Johnny Rico joins the
military for all the wrong reasons his love for a girl- But what Johnny doesn't realise is that he'll soon be right in the middle of a full scale war against a race of large alien insects.
Starship troopers is pretty much a working definition of a military sci-fi, where it has mindless violence vs nameless enemies -with tonnes and tonnes of action, quotable one liners and nonstop entertainment.
While some will criticise this movie for its wooden acting, and questionable military tactics - they would be missing the whole point of the film. It's supposed to be cliché and satirical - where this militaristic world government uses its control of the media to brainwash its people into supporting its war. It's a great movie, and if for some strange reason you still haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for?
Forbidden planet 1956
Fred Wilcox's classic sci-fi adventure Based on Shakespeare's "The Tempest" is set where an Earth starship crew goes to investigate and look for survivors on a planet whose colony has gone silent. Only able to find two survivors and a robot, the crew are informed by a Dr Morbius that some unknown force which roams the planet killed the rest of the colonists some 20 years ago.
With groundbreaking special effects on its release, and a very young but serious Leslie Nielsen as a captain, this movie is still entertaining with a original plot that will keep you intrigued, especially when it comes to the murdering monster.
Yes this movie has men in a flying saucer & Robbie the Robot is a guy in a suit, but he is thoroughly believable as a robot. Forget about dated plots, cheesy acting and old special effects, Forbidden planet is a true classic of its type and definitely worth a viewing.
Paul W.S. Andersons sci-fi Action Drama Set in the future -where soldiers are selected at birth, and trained in such a manner that they become inhuman killing machines. The most successful veterans Todd 3465 finds himself replaced by a new breed of soldier. After being believed to be dead Todd is dumped on a waste disposal planet- where he finds a new purpose in life and takes it upon himself to defend his new home.
While it's not a perfect movie -Kurt Russell does a great job staying in character -not speaking and being virtually an emotionless badass for the entire film. As the protagonist of the movie he only has 104 words of dialog. The film is also meant to be set in the same world as Blade-Runner where you have engineers soldiers fighting on off world colonies.
If your after a movie with near endless explosions, and slow motion fights then you will probably love this movie, but if you want character development and a dialog -then all mean, give this a miss.
Director Christian Duguay's sci-fi Thriller based on Philip K Dicks short story -Second variety, is set on a distant mining planet ravaged by a decade of war between two rival factions. Where scientists have created the perfect weapon: a blade-wielding, self-replicating, killing devices known as Screamers. But unknown to its creators this weapon has continued to evolve, and now has devised a new mission: to kill all life.
Starring Peter Weller known for his role in 'Robocop', this film aptly shows that you don't need a big budget to make a good movie. The story is pretty original and imaginative, and faithfully follows Phillips K Dicks work.
While the supporting cast all play cliché roles- the real stars are the Screamers who start out as these creepy mobile buzz saws that gradually evolve into something quite a bit different. Don't let the low budget visuals put you off, this is an underrated sci-fi classic.
Edge of Tomorrow 2014
Doug Liman's Action adventure Based on the manga "All you need is Kill" follows an inexperienced major in the United Defence Force, who against his will is forced to fight on the frontline against extraterrestrial beings - that have invaded the earth. On the field he violently dies and wakes up back in boot camp -where he soon realises he has acquired the ability to reset time -every time he dies.
Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt play their characters perfectly, it has a fantastic story, which is well told with really fast action which also looks amazing. Believe it or not, this movie was not a commercial success, probably due to its very bleak and depressing trailer.
The comical aspects during the first half of this movie work really well, as well as the tone and pacing, which is incredibly tight, It's not overly gloomy- instead it focus on fun, action, thrills and wit. Even though the movie repeats itself a lot, it never has a dull moment and will keep you gripped to the edge of your seat from start to finish.
Enemy Mine 1985
Wolfgang Petersen's sci-fi action adventure -In the distant future, humanity goes to war against a reptilian race called the Dracs. During a space battle a soldier from Earth crash-lands on an alien world where he eventually encounters another survivor, a Drac. They both put aside their differences and band together to survive on this hostile world.
This is pretty much a sci-fi remake of Hell in the Pacific, where Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett Jr both have great performances in their respective roles as enemies. and the space battles, props and matte paintings are really well done for film of its age.
Here's a sci-fi film that doesn't heavily rely on space battles or special effects. Instead, it focus on a touching and compelling story of conflict, hate and survival between bitter enemies becoming unlikely allies and eventually, close friends.
Roland Emmerich's sci-fi action adventure –When a giant structure is found in the Egyptian desert, it's revealed to be an interstellar teleportation device. The story kicks off when Egyptologist Daniel Jackson is brought in to decode the symbols on this device. Where a team led by Air Force Colonel Jack' O'Neill and Jackson -are sent on a mission to travel across the known universe to a distant planet.
For the time, this was a pretty original and refreshingly different type of sci-fi, where Kurt Russell and James Spader are good as the exact opposites, the scientist and the soldier. With a capable cast, solid script and set design, Stargate itself is a really solid movie and worth seeing.
While isn't going to knock your socks off, its superb atmospheric music, & intriguing story easily compensate for any of its shortcomings. It's premise had so much potential it's no surprise that a few years after its release, it produced a very successful TV franchise.
Babylon 5: In the Beginning 1998
Michael Vejar's sci-fi action drama Earth military encounters an advanced alien race called the Minbari. Through a series of misunderstandings, accidents and sabotage, a very one sided war breaks out that nearly results in the death of every human on Earth.
I've saved this to last, as you're kinda required to have at least seen the 1st Season of the TV series Babylon 5 for it to fully make sense. But it's still a really solid movie as a standalone, and a perfect reason to bother getting into the series itself if you aren't already a fan.
On its own, the narrative and characters are great, where it tells a dramatic story of courage and heroism in the face of overwhelming odds. Those of you interested in good military sci-fi would do well to check this movie and franchise out.