year is 2176 (not 2025 as stated on the back of the video)
and humans have been colonising the red planet for some time.
But when a police unit is sent to a remote region to escort
a dangerous prisoner, they discover a far greater threat.
Ancient Martian spirits have been released, which can take
control of human hosts and which regard us as invaders...
not of the same calibre as many of John Carpenter's earlier
movies, such as Halloween and Assault on Precinct
13 (the plot of which this 2001 film somewhat resembles),
Ghosts of Mars still has things going for it, most
notably the Martians themselves.
disembodied spirits inhabiting human hosts, they provide an
unstoppable menace. Kill as many of their host bodies as you
like, but they just take possession of more and rise up again.
This is a quite modestly budgeted film, so devising human
"monsters" was a clever move on Carpenter's part. The possessed
hosts themselves are a disturbing and horrific sight to behold,
having a gruesome penchant for self-mutilation. The aliens'
murderous actions do seem a bit illogical - if they were to
kill all the humans they wouldn't have access to any spare
host bodies - but then they don't come across as the most
rational creatures ever to inhabit the big wide universe.
(Species) Henstridge is the hunted rather than the
hunter this time around, in the role of police lieutenant
Melanie Ballard. She gives a decent performance, though she
is not given the best dialogue to work with. Curiously, she
appears not to realise that she has stumbled upon an antidote
to the alien ghosts, simply attributing it to human will power,
but perhaps this is a deliberate and subtle comment upon our
own delusions of grandeur.
finds an unlikely teammate in the shape of criminal James
"Demolition" Williams (Ice Cube), a felon who makes good in
the battle against the monsters. As such, he is very much
cast in the mould of Vin Diesel's Riddick in Pitch Black.
It isn't the most original sci-fi/horror movie ever made,
but Ghosts of Mars contains some good and scary moments
and some interesting ideas.
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