Plot Holes: 9/10
Space Weapons: 0/10
I love almost anything John Carpenter does. From his basic soundtracks to his way of just making movies based on ideas that he thinks are “bad-ass”, it’s usually a no-miss formula. Well, he tried to make a movie that, I think, was trying to get Ice Cube in space so he could gangsta it up, and instead made a half-hearted action movie that doesn’t really live up to his legacy. I respect the intention, but he couldn’t really pull it off, and it’s not entirely his fault. When I have to say that Jason Statham saved a movie with his presence, something is awry. As for Ice Cube and Natasha Henstridge, they ruined Ghosts Of Mars like the Noid ruins pizzas.
The entire movie is based on the testimony of the main character, Lt. Ballard, who is describing the events of her failed mission during a court hearing(like in Star Trek’s “The Menagerie” episode). Her mission was simple: to pick up the prisoner “Desolation” Williams(Mr. Cube), and escort him back to Earth, or space jail, or wherever. When her team arrives(by train…) to the small mining town on Mars, everyone is dead, hanging decapitated from various ceilings in various buildings. Something has gone terribly wrong, and the only people left alive are the prisoners, safe in their cells.
After some not-so-witty back-and-forth between Ballard and Williams, the two decide that they need to team up(cops and robbers…working together?!?!?!) in order to survive and get away from this place, which is apparently overrun with people possessed by alien ghosts. Yes, alien ghosts, just like the title suggests. The aliens seem to survive in a cloud-like form until they come into contact with a person, in which case they take over that person’s body and go on a killing rampage in order to defend their planet. If you kill the body, the ghost just comes out and finds a new host. Knowing this, would your strategy be to just run into a big crowd of possessed people and kill as many as possible? Apparently the answer is “Yes Please!”, because they waste no time in trying to shoot anything in their way.
After their party is reduced in numbers during ridiculous encounters with the Martian-Man Hunters(not to be confused with the Martian Manhunter), they decide to use the greatest technology they have available-a train and a nuclear power station-to detonate an explosion that will maybe wipe out the aliens possibly. Who knows, it might work. Ballard and Williams, the only 2 survivors, make it to the train and watch as the atomic explosion adds another crater to the big stone face of Mars. Ballard gets handcuffed to the train by Williams, and he disappears into the night, leaving her alone on the train as it pulls into the home station. Ballard recounts that she must have been asleep when he handcuffed her, but really she let him go out of respect for a fellow tough-guy. She takes a nap, and when she wakes up, Ice Cube is there to give her a shiny new gun and call her to arms, because the aliens are back. It’s time to do what they do best–kick ass and act badly.
Honestly, with a different cast, I think that this would have been a great movie. There was a lot of potential, and I feel like it was just wasted. I was bothered by the fact that a space movie had no lasers or ray guns, that an alien race would possess people and act like head-hunting cannibals, and that you could cure yourself if you were possessed by getting high and tripping out for a few minutes(I’ve always wondered why possessed people don’t do drugs…). Jason Statham does put in a solid performance as….Jason Statham, though, and manages to ground the movie a little. Other than that, this movie goes on the bottom of my John Carpenter file.
Thank you very much to Michele for the suggestion, even though you weren’t sure if this was the movie you were thinking about suggesting. Have a good day everyone, and keep watching those bad movies. They’ll make your dumb ideas seem all the more possible.
Post Script: Get Your Ass To Mars!