Ghosts of Mars (2001) (John Carpenter's)

Go down

Ghosts of Mars (2001) (John Carpenter's)

Post  BoG on Thu Jun 04, 2015 5:14 pm

In most ways, this was a rehash of previous Carpenter films and themes - the small group of short-tempered anti-heroes fighting a larger threatening force with a lot of gunplay in the tradition of a western - so, transplanting the action to Mars doesn't really lend a fresh approach to it all. It's the year 2176 and Mars is 84% through being terraformed, so this is different from the recent spate of sci-fi pics on Mars (Mission to Mars; Red Planet) in that humans can walk around without spacesuits. For whatever reason, Carpenter has made this society a matriarchy; there are already about 640,000 colonists on Mars. Most of the film is a flashback: a lone survivor (Natasha Henstridge) of whatever happened has returned to the main city of Chryse in a train on automatic mode. She's a lieutenant in the police force, 2nd-in-command and part of a team that had been sent to a small mining town in Shining Canyon to pick up a prisoner, the infamous Desolation Williams (Ice Cube).
The team, led by a captain (Pam Grier) and including Sgt. Jericho (Jason Statham) and a couple of rookies (Clea Duvall, Liam Waite), find the town to be mysteriously deserted, except for a few prisoners and Williams. They also find some bodies hanging from ceilings and, later, heads on spikes. Eventually, they learn the backstory from one of the prisoners, a manager (Joanna Cassidy) who had fled a mining operation in the next town: she had uncovered a hidden tomb and let out something which had been hibernating dormant for untold years, the spirits of the Martians who had inhabited Mars before humans arrived. This usually manifests as a red mist but, perhaps inconsistent, such evil spirits can also be invisible. These enter humans, usually through the ear, and possess them. Based on how such possessed humans then behave, these Martians must have been truly barbaric - those possessed mutilate themselves in perverse ritual and are only interested in savage killing. The cops need to team up with Williams and his 3 brothers-in-arms to effect an escape.
Desolation Williams is Carpenter's retread of Snake Plissken in this one, though he's not quite Plissken and Ice Cube is not quite Kurt Russell. Henstridge was interesting in a role which usually would be male and her action scenes aren't bad because she does look bigger & tougher than the usual 100 lb. females who kick ass in these sorts of films. But, much of this, in tone, style and even musical score, is a repeat of Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 (76), The Fog (1980), Escape From New York (1981) and a couple of others. Some of the action set pieces are virtual remakes of such scenes in the earlier films. And, it all gets repetitive by the final act. Also, Carpenter made Duvall's character a complete fool to facilitate some plot turns, such as turning Williams loose and then killing a possessed prisoner so that Henstridge would get possessed temporarily. The story's flashback structure, including flashbacks within the main flashback and sometimes going backwards a short ways in the story, resulted in a choppy, inelegant narrative. BoG's Score: 6 out of 10
Ghosts of Trivia: in small roles as the train operators, Carpenter regular Peter Jason and Robert Carradine; as the chief female executive interrogating Henstridge - Rosemary Forsyth; this was a box office failure, grossing only half its budget, and Carpenter, burnt out, quit Hollywood for a decade after this.
Galaxy Overlord
Galaxy Overlord  Galactus

Posts : 3265
Join date : 2010-02-28
Location : Earth-1

Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum