The book opens with a set of soldiers in mecha suits being launched from a spaceship inside giant pods (which then shed layers of ablative metallic heat shields, partly to confuse ground-based radar), before then merrily leaping over buildings, lobbing mini-nukes and talking grenades at things and generally having a good time until the retrieval signal comes.
It's not the dullest introduction to a book I've ever read ;) As previously mentioned, Games Workshop thought that the concept was so good that they outright stole it for WH40K. Along with the Navigators from Dune and large chunks of Judge Dredd and Nemesis the Warlock from 2000AD, but I digress...
To be fair, I first read ST as a teenager in the late 80s, long before Japanese anime popularised the concept of robotic armour, and I was young enough for much of the political elements to zoom over my head. However, even as an embittered and jaundiced adult, and with a (hopefully) better understanding of politics, I still think it's a good book.
And as to why people like me slam the film? A film based on an unrelated script, filmed by a director who hadn't read the book and who was more interested in ramming home an anti-military message?
It's crude, clumsy and deliberately ignores most of the key elements of the book. I really can't see any good reasons to like it!
And that's despite the fact that I absolutely love Robocop ;)