Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ghosts Of Mars - 2/5

One of John Carpenter's largest flaws was the fact that he was simply unable to let the 1980s go. Granted, for cult fans like us over here at Blood Brothers, there is a niche that films like "Ghosts Of Mars" neatly fits into for a great fun and entertaining time. Unfortunately, this particular film fails to formally accept its own ridiculousness and comes off as just another shoddy film. Fun, over-the-top, and cheesy all are things that "Ghosts Of Mars" have going for it, but if you are looking for anything deeper than poor dialogue, spastic film structure, and hit or miss logic then skip this one over. He's done much better.

Ballard (Henstridge) is a police officer riding with her team (including one of the oddest casts known to man) towards a mining town to retrieve a wanted and very dangerous criminal Desolation Williams (Ice Cube). When they get there, they find the mining colony deserted. What they discover is something far more sinister than the dangerous criminal. A mining group had accidentally opened an ancient Martian cavern and unleashed the very pissed off ghosts of the planet's original residents. These ghosts have possessed the people of the colony and turned them into beastly (and self mutilating) savages. Now cops and robbers have to team up to thwart this ancient horde as they desperately try to survive.

Even after spending almost 2 hours doing quite a bit of eye rolling, even I have to admit that "Ghosts Of Mars" carries quite a bit of charm to it. It has a fairly bad ass concept to it (maybe its just us at Blood Brothers but I'm sure others are excited to see a science fiction western horror film too) and it has a unique style to it of dark humor, action, and intense violence on Carpenter would bring to the screen.  For its charm and awesome story, "Ghosts Of Mars" gets a solid 2 stars.

Unfortunately, past these two redeeming qualities, this film generally falls apart in front of the viewer's eyes. It has one of the most hodge podge thrown together casts of all time where none of them are put to proper use (with particular nods towards a poorly built and dialogue plagued Statham) and all of whom are given paper thin characters that simply blow around like the Martian dust storm they are trapped in.

This fault is exponentially magnified by poor dialogue and a film structure that leaves even the most die hard Carpenter fans scratching their heads. Told as a 'past tense' event, "Ghosts Of Mars", within minutes, becomes a cluster fuck of flashback within a flashback within a flashback that leaps between various story lines and time sequences that would make Tarantino want to puke. Past the half way mark it finally seems to settle in on where it wants to be, but by that time the audience has already jumped ship to find more solid ground to stand on.

"Ghosts Of Mars" is a cheesy, fun romp of a film if you are willing to forgo its many, MANY flaws of execution. Just the horrid multitudes of edits is enough to irk most film fans and that's before one gets to the acting or script. It's 80s vibe is great fun and its occasional charm still gets to me, but for the most part this film just can't overcome its deep faults.

BONUS RANT: Outside of the Conan universe, there should NEVER be a character named Bashira. Despite cringing every time its said, the name also brought fits of laughter. Not something one necessarily wants.

Written By Matt Reifschneider

1 comment:

  1. As a fan of this movie and given that it was left hanging wide open I, and I'm sure others, would love to see a sequel. But if you can't get Ice Cube and Natasha back then don't do it. I hate sequels with different actors