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John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars (2001)

Cast: Ice Cube, Ice Cube, Natasha Henstridge, more...
Director: John Carpenter, John Carpenter
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Action, Horror, Science Fiction , Aliens, Ghosts
Running Time: 98 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French
    see additional details...

Writer and director John Carpenter returns to the mixture of science fiction and horror that made The Thing (1982) a success. Natasha Henstridge stars as Lt. Melanie Ballard of the Martian Police Force, a member of a law enforcement team two centuries in the future, dispatched to the remote colony of Shining Canyon. There, the most notorious criminal on Mars, James "Desolation" Williams (Ice Cube), awaits transport to a more secure jail. Besides Ballard, the other cops include the rookie Bashira (Clea Duvall), hotshot and fast talker Jericho (Jason Statham), tough veteran and squad leader Helena (Pam Grier), and reliable soldier Descanso (Liam Waite). Once Ballard and her companions arrive in Shining Canyon, however, they discover that it's a literal ghost town. It seems that an archaeologist team led by Professor Whitlock (Joanna Cassidy) has uncovered an ancient relic at a nearby dig site, unleashing the vengeful spirits of the planet's long-ago warrior inhabitants, which have now possessed the bodies of the human invaders and set about trying to destroy them. After her team is decimated by the Martian specters, Ballard is forced to turn for help to the one person she can't really trust: Williams. Ghosts of Mars screenwriter Larry Sulkis broke into the film business as producer of the satirical commercials in Carpenter's They Live (1988). ~ Karl Williams, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Pretty much what you'd expect by mason December 16, 2002 - 3:53 PM PST
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Does it seem to anyone else as though John Carpenter's stuck in quite a rut? He's very reliable -- he'll deliver a film which can entertain fairly well if you're willing to cut your brain back to half-capacity, but I don't recommend putting any thought into it later on.

This time, Carpenter apparently saw "Pitch Black" and thought it was pretty great (which it was). So why not make it again? Bad move, John. But here it is, more or less the same film except that it's not done very well this time around. Once again we get a strong female character who takes charge after her commander dies; a group of people trying to deliver a super-dangerous criminal to prison; a bunch of random cannon-fodder characters; the group is trapped amidst a dangerous alien presence; the female officer and the crook bond, and everyone else dies. At least both Natasha Henstridge and Ice Cube deliver solid performances (somewhat more than the script deserves, actually).

There are no surprises here, except how stupidly everyone acts in the face of danger. I won't say more since it would be a shame to give away the very few surprises the movie has to offer, but I will warn again not to think too much about the movie afterwards, since it really can't hold up at all in the face of logic.

Nonetheless, I don't necessarily warn people away from this movie. If you're looking for some lightweight sci fi-horror to pass the time, this will entertain; just don't expect anything more from it.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 4.57)
140 Votes
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