High school graduates Johnny Rico, Dizzy, Carmen and Carl enlist in the armed forces of the Federation. Training takes its toll, and Johnny is on the point of throwing in the towel when space insects wipe out his home town Buenos Aires. The infantry are despatched to the outer limits of the galaxy to give 'em what for, but...you guessed it. An adaptation of a Robert A Heinlein novel, this replays World War II as sci-fi spectacular - and this time we're rooting for the fascists. Presumably director Verhoeven meant it as a sour, ironic joke. If so, he's kept an admirably straight face. His totalitarian utopia looks like a daytime soap: bright, clean, empty. And his lead players might be caricatures of Aryan perfection. It falls to Ironside's motivational teacher/commander, Rasczak, to whip them into shape ('If you don't do your job, I shoot you!'). It says a lot about the director that the movie only kicks into life when the carnage starts. The bugs make up in numbers what they lack in charm, the scale of the battle scenes takes the breath away, and the violence is unremittingly gruesome. On the surface, this is grotesque, reactionary trash, yet by the end, when Verhoeven turns a giant brain-sucking maggot into an object of pity, it's hard not to be impressed by the sheer perversity of the enterprise.