Saturday, November 10, 2018

Movie Review: "Ghosts of Mars" (2001)

Director: John Carpenter
Year: 2001
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

Mars police officers are sent to a mining colony to transport a dangerous criminal back to the city. When they arrive, they are faced with unexpected dangers far more deadly than the criminal they came to collect.

Ghosts of Mars 2001 horror movie still
"It's gotta be the wind." (Image Source)
So, this is how John Carpenter's illustrious career nearly ended, with ghosts on, and of, Mars. Yes, the John Carpenter, who is known for such horror classics as "Halloween," "Christine," and "The Thing." It's not like he just directed this movie, no no, he actually helped write the film along with Larry Sulkis. The story takes place on Mars in the year 2147. Humans have colonized the planet and are terraforming it to make it more habitable. A group of Mars police officers has been sent to a remote mining outpost to transport a dangerous criminal named Desolation Williams (Ice Cube) back to the main city for trial. When only one officer, Lieutenant Melanie Ballard (Natasha Henstridge), returns, she debriefs her superiors on what happened at the mining settlement and explains to them how they have much more dangerous things to worry about than Desolation Williams.
Ghosts of Mars 2001 horror movie still Natasha Henstridge Clea DuVall Pam Grier
"If I die, I'm gonna die fighting, not running." (Image Source)
"Ghosts of Mars" is the second to last film John Carpenter ever directed. It caused him to take a nine break from directing movies. It isn't hard to see why. This is his worst film, hands down. It's not because it looks like it was filmed on a series of unused sets from "Total Recall" that wouldn't have looked convincing in 1990, and it's not because it has a pink space fog that turns people into what look like extras from "The Road Warrior" with just a sprinkling of S&M-Cenobite thrown in the mix. It's not only the terrible script, the nonsensical narrative, and the horrendous dialogue that is spoken awfully throughout the film. What takes "Ghosts of Mars" to another level of wretched is the film's leading lady, Natasha Henstridge, who gives one of the worst performances we have seen in a Screen Gems picture, and if you are familiar with the other titles Screen Gems has released, you'll know that is a very, very low bar. No one makes acting look more effortful than Natasha Henstridge. We don't like to needlessly crap on people, but good lord, she's a lousy actor. We're shocked she's still working. It turns out that Courtney Love (yes THAT Courtney Love) was the one initially cast to play Lieutenant Ballard. We never thought we would say this, but Courtney Love would have vastly improved this movie.
Ghosts of Mars 2001 horror movie still Ice Cube Jason Statham
"Who you calling scumbag, motherfucker?" (Image Source)
The only positives about "Ghosts of Mars" are that it is gratuitously violent and that it has decent gore effects. Beyond that, we're hard-pressed to think of any other redeemable qualities about it. It's one of those projects that was dated when it came out. Not even the charm of Ice Cube, the action-movie prowess of Jason Statham, or the allure of exploitation legend Pam Grier could do anything to help this flick. This is one of the worst movies we've ever seen.

My Rating: 1.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 2/10
IMDB's Rating: 4.9/10
RT Rating: 21%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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