Writer: John Carpenter, Larry Sulkis (Screenplay)
Starring: Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Jason Statham, Clea DuVall, Pam Grier, Joanna Cassidy, Richard Cetrone
Plot: In 2176, a Martian police unit is sent to pick up a highly dangerous criminal at a remote mining post. Upon arrival, the cops find that the post has become a charnel house.
Tagline – Terror is the same on any planet
Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Silly Fun Action Horror
Story: Ghosts of Mars starts when the lone survive of a prison transfer Melanie Ballard (Henstridge) is recount the events of her mission. The mission was for Melanie, Jericho (Statham), Bashira (DuVall), Commander Helena (Grier) going to an outpost on Mars in the year 2176 to transfer Desolation Williams (Cube).
When the team arrives, they find the outpost abandoned, bodies hanging from the ceiling and the only breath people seemed to have become infected by something. This forces the team to work with Desolation to battle the infected people coming after them.
Thoughts on Ghosts of Mars
Characters – Melanie Ballard is one of the police officers sent to the outpost to transfer the prisoner, she does use drugs to relax her, she is the one telling the story of the events, where she must take control of the situation trying to get the people out alive. Desolation Williams is the prisoner they are meant to be transferring, he has been accused and cleared of murder numerous times, he will have to work with Melanie to get out of this situation, where he skills will help the people fight to survive. Jericho Butler is one of the more experienced soldiers that is the go-to guy for weapons and fixing problems. Bashira is the rookie on the squad, who must learn quickly as the situation becomes deadlier. We do have too many characters, which will lead to many blink and you miss it deaths.
Performances – Natasha Henstridge does a strong job as the reluctant hero, she handles the combat well, while trying to be the tough figure. Ice Cube brings the type of character that we know he will bring to most of his roles. With the large cast, most of the rest of the cast struggle to make any real impact on the story.
Story – The story follows a group of military police on Mars looking to transfer a prisoner for a trial, only for them to find themselves coming face to face with a mysterious evil that has taken over the locals turning them into crazed killing machines. This is simple concept for a sci-fi horror, we get both sides of the law needing to work together to get the job of survival done, we do get the explanation about where the evil has come from. The problem with the story is that we have way too many characters, we have somebody telling the story, which sees them seeing the story through multiply viewpoints which does become frustrating because at times you hear a scene on the radio, only to cut back to the scene happening, which makes it feel like filler, rather than parts of the story.
Action/Horror/Sci-Fi – The action here is plenty of bullets flying around, hand to hand combat and weapons which can see body parts flying off. The horror isn’t as strong as it could be because we don’t get the blood shed the film hints at, the sci-fi side of the film shows us how the colonies on Mars would operate.
Settings – The film is set mostly on an outpost on Mars, it is remote, we know how long the team will be there before the transport returns, leaving us waiting to see how they could escape the situation.
Special Effects – The special effects used in the film mostly from the body horrors the evil have been doing to themselves, it is strong use of make up but never feels terrifying like it should do.
Final Thoughts – This is one of those silly fun action films in which you can enjoy without expecting anything to be overly serious, it might have plenty of flaws but watch with enjoyment you can laugh along.
Overall: Easy to watch action horror.