Movie Review- Ghosts of Mars

Ghosts of Mars (2001)

Starring: Ice Cube, Natasha Henstridge, Jason Statham, Clea DuVall, Pam Grier, Joanna Cassidy, Richard Cetrone

Cymast’s synopsis: It’s a slow starting, slash and burn zombie fest. On future terraformed Mars, sleazy dumb-asses team up with dumb sleaze-asses to kick zombie Earthling-Martian ass, which makes more zombie Earthling-Martians so the sleaze-dumbs can kick even more zombie Earthling-Martian ass.

Mr. Cymast’s synopsis: Mars is inhabited by GWAR zombies.


I kept expecting it to get better.

The premise is promising- dormant Martian dust gets let loose on Mars and takes over colonists from Earth with the goal of turning the entire planet into Martian-dust-controlled colonist zombies. The story starts out with a legal hearing and continues with flashback testimony of what happened during a police-squad pick-up of a notorious criminal at a small outpost.

The most likeable and convincing (by comparison only) character is Ice Cube’s “James ‘Desolation’ Williams.” That leaves the other characters annoying and incredulous at their best. At least Desolation isn’t perpetually trying to get laid amidst the zombie attacks like a few others are. The zombies are more interesting than scary- they’re a cross between Mad Max’s Armalites and Hellraiser’s Cenobites.

I watched half-way through to get to the premise explanation, and then made myself and Mr. Cymast watch the rest of the movie because I am a sado-masochist wanted to write another Mars movie review am obsessive-compulsive about finding out what happens “in the end.” Three minutes before “the end,” the writers apparently had synchronous strokes decided to commit cinematic suicide gave up and wrote the most eye-roll-inducing end in the history of movies. Which, I suppose, could be an achievement in itself. Sort of.

“Driven by Carpenter’s synth-metal score, this violent free-for-all has a few brief highlights, but it’s suspenseless and ultimately absurd. It’s not much, but for loyal fans it’s probably enough.”- Jeff Shannon

“John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars starts out as a fairly effective sci-fi horrorshow, then quickly devolves into a mindless action movie that involves a small group of survivors machine-gunning hordes of possessed zombies. Carpenter, who cowrote the screenplay with Larry Sulkis, has an interesting central idea . . but, in the end, he lets it get away from him in a frenzy of bullets and headache-inducing industrial rock music.”- James Kendrick

Oh yeah- I actually got a headache, but not from the music. I think it was from the void created from the extreme thoughtlessness of the movie’s “conclusion.” You are warned.