Ghosts of Mars (2001) is a English movie. John Carpenter has directed this movie. Natasha Henstridge,Ice Cube,Pam Grier,Jason Statham are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2001. Ghosts of Mars (2001) is considered one of the best Action,Horror,Sci-Fi movie in India and around the world.
200 years in the future a Martian police unit is dispatched to transport a dangerous prisoner from a mining outpost back to justice. But when the team arrives they find the town deserted and some of the inhabitants possessed by the former inhabitants of the planet.
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Firstly, if I see another review labelling Ghosts of Mars, Vampires or Escape from L.A 'Carpenter attempting to have another hit movie' my head will explode like Snake Plissken's would have done. Hello people: CARPENTER HAS NEVER HAD A HIT MOVIE! Besides maybe Halloween, Starman, Christine and Escape from New York to a lesser extent, Carpenter has made bomb after bomb. Certainly the films that have the biggest following today; The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China, They Live, they all were torn apart on release. So, surprise surprise everyone hates Ghost of Mars like they did The Thing. Now, I am in no way comparing Ghosts to The Thing, which is an vastly superior film. But Ghosts is in the same position; as it will be in fifteen years time when people will look back on it and say 'Maybe it wasn't that bad.' WHICH IT ISN'T. What elements in this film aren't Carpenter? The western atmosphere? The focus on action and story, and not character? Vast hoards of nameless enemies? These were all in Assault on Precinct 13. Oh wait, no one liked that in 1976 because they were so brain dead they had to wait for a cult following to develop before they gave it a second chance. So it must be the structure. Is the structure, with it's flashbacks-within-flashbacks and weird editing any more bizarre than the corkscrew science behind 'Prince of Darkness'? Oh that's right, everyone hated that in 1987. So I'm looking for the faults . That's it, the action isn't very good. Oh damn, it wasn't very good in 'Big Trouble in Little China' either. Wait, didn't it take people fifteen years to 'get' that film as well? Maybe it's the fact that it has Ice Cube in the lead. Yeah, Carpenter defiantly shouldn't have let a non-actor take the lead oh wait, Roddy Piper! If 'They Live' was made in 2001 that would be bashed for having an non-actor carrying it, but for some reason because it was made in 1988 (blasted on release) Roddy Piper's performance is the stuff of cult legend. All said and complained about, if Ghosts of Mars was released in 1987 or something it wouldn't be getting bashed now. Hell, Jason Statham might have been the new Kurt Russell. There's plenty of fun to be had here, and Carpenter certainly hasn't 'lost his vision' as a lot of the so-called fans who are stuck somewhere around 1982 claim. If anything, with Ghosts of Mars and it's OTT structure, Carpenter is developing on it. Maybe it's just me, but I can't understand how someone can hate Ghost of Mars and have unconditional love for Assault on Precinct 13. Give Ghosts another go, and watch it with an open mind. If you can't at least do that, you are not a fan of John Carpenter.
John Carpenter, together with Brian De Palma, are the only active directors who had created a body of work consisting of the representation of a particular, personal world, forged by the mixture of a number of themes and subjects, reinserted on tracks left by classic directors (Hawks and Hitchcock respectively). They make one single movie over and over again, reaching outstanding levels of accomplishment in style and coherence. Thus `Ghost of Mars' is full of Carpenter's imaginary. The plot, the characters, the tone, everything can be linked to his previous work, most notably `Assault on Precint 13', that was yet a reworking of Hawks' `Rio Bravo'. And that's a significant point regarding this film: despite the zombies, the gore, the futuristic set-up, the red Martian atmosphere, the heavy metal score, `Ghost of Mars' is essentially a western in the most classic way. There is a train, a lawman (played by an actress), a group of deputies, a gang of bandits, a frontier town surrounded by the desert. As in Hawks, the individuals work as a group, defined by codes of professional skill in a strictly masculine environment. Interestingly, Capenter portrays the Martian society as a matriarchy, but the elements operate the same way: the good guy and the bad guy differentiate from each other just for the fact that they are in opposite sides of the law, but are nevertheless exchangeable. Also, following Hawks' epic, the vulnerability of the hero is determined by a fault or weakness (Melanie's addiction to drugs is a progression of Dean Martin's alcoholism in Rio Bravo). Told in a peculiar series of flashbacks from different points of view, and as in `Vampires', with the use of long, continual dissolves, the story introduces some original points, like the ghosts taking possession of human through the ears and Desolation's smart device to save Melanie with the aid of drugs. There are some plot holes, yes, some bad acting and gratuitous -though stylized- violence. But it's Carpenter unpretentious as ever, telling us how dark our future appears, not from a pulpit but from his director's chair. And I'm very grateful for his effort.
Carpenter's films tend to age like fine wine. When they're released, they're lamblasted by critics and fans. Ten years later, they're classics; for instance, "The Thing", "Big Trouble in Little China", "They Live", "Prince of Darkness" -- and "Ghost of Mars" is no exception. This is a tremendously entertaining film that shouldn't be viewed as a horror film, but rather, as a tongue-in-cheek western, in the vain of the Spaghetti Westerns. You all have to pull your heads out and watch this film again...in about nine years. I'll bet you'll say, "You know what, that was a hell of a lot of fun." In the meantime, get off Carpenter's ass.
I'm not some naive fan who thinks Carpenter can do no wrong. I didn't care much for Vampires or Village of the Damned (they were alright, but the scripts for those two were not up to snuff for a great director like Carpenter). However, I think Ghosts of Mars is one of his greatest movies. If you can't appreciate this movie then you can't really appreciate Carpenter, IMO. From the Lovecraftian story and atmosphere, to the anamorphic photography, to the excellent music, everything here is Carpenter. Hopefully this movie will find its audience, in time, rather than be forgotten. One criticism of Carpenter I've never been able to understand is that people say he isn't subtle, he relies solely on shocks and violence. Yes, his movies have shocks and violence, they are the release mechanisms for all of the terror he slowly builds up, neanderthals! It seems some film critics are just too good for American horror, they can't stoop to its level from their lofty perch.
Mars has fascinated humans for years. It's the closest planet to us, and the only one that comes close in terms of livability. Its forbidding landscape and dire red color scheme are magnetic (at least in movies; I can't tell you how disappointed I was when that little NASA toy-car thing sent back pictures and Mars looks like Utah. No red sky, even.) But Mars has a curse. You just can't make a decent movie about it. Think about all the Mars movies in history (...Attacks!, Mission to..., Red Planet, Angry and otherwise, Santa Claus vs. the Martians, etc.), none of which have been able to rise above the "not bad, not great" category, if even that. The lone exception to the Mars Curse is "Total Recall", which is a fine film, but it can be persuasively argued that it never actually takes place on Mars at all. Throw "John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars" on the "not bad" pile. Many have argued that it's not really a Mars movie, but a Western with a weird setting, which is indirectly true. It's mostly a re-working of Carpenter's classic "Assault on Precinct 13", which was, itself, based on "Rio Bravo". (I wonder when John Carpenter is just going to give in and make a bonafide Western. You can tell he totally wants to.) While I'm on the subject, can someone tell me why John Carpenter seems bent on titling all his recent movies with "John Carpenter's", as if we'll forget? It implies, oddly enough, that he didn't actually direct it, the way "Ian Fleming's James Bond" books were published long after Fleming was, technically, dead. Anyway, the plot involves a squad from the Martian Police Force doing a prisoner transfer from a mining colony. Mars, it seems, is run by the "Matronage", a kind of Lillith-Fair dictatorship, which is a neat twist and gives some original zip to the movie. The transfer is quickly forgotten, as some sort of primal ghostly force is possessing the locals and turning them into a blood-crazed cabal of body-pierced mutilation enthusiasts (the movie often resembles a Slipknot video run amok). The throngs are led by a bulked-up Maximum Leader who looks like Marilyn Manson's steroid-pumped older brother. The cops and criminals join forces with the contents of the Hollywood Gun Shop, and mow down the screaming hordes in an effort to escape. One wonders why Merchant-Ivory didn't pick up this project. The intriguing setting, the impressive visuals, and some creepy early scenes build up a lot of audience goodwill, which the film then chips away at relentlessly, as if willing itself to mediocrity. The narrative is clumsy, with way too much reliance on flashback. The story itself is primarily told in flashback, which is understandable even if it does reveal too much about what's about to happen. But do we really need flashbacks within the movie to show us things we've already seen? There are also too many pointless camera tricks, such as time-lapse dissolves in scenes that don't merit them. The characters are needlessly stupid, especially the cops; they too often resort to using their guns in baseball-bat fashion, when they still have plenty of ammunition. The cast, unfortunately, is not up to the task of raising the movie above the bar. Natasha Henstridge, whose onomastically-pleasing name is inevitably abbreviated in movie criticism as "that chick from 'Species'", is wooden and uncompelling as the pill-popping police lieutenant. She is standing in in the role for an injured Courtney Love, who would have been more effective, if less pleasant to look at. Clea Duvall is wasted as a spaced-out and mostly useless rookie; she seems about as comfortable with a Beretta in each hand as Quaker Grace Kelly in "High Noon". But Duvall is at least more memorable than that other rookie, whatsisname. Pam Grier puts in a good-sport appearance as the commander, but her scenes are brief. And there is the obligatory Smart Person Who Explains It All, whose line deliveries and pseudo-science are such that you will wish the others would feed her to the Manson family outside. The only standouts in the cast are Jason Statham as the weary (but horny) sergeant, easily the most tactically compentent of the MPF contingent, and Ice Cube as the prisoner whose transfer is in such turmoil. Mr. Cube's unfocused, pinch-faced rage and dumbfounded bravado are pitch-perfect, and he has all the funniest lines. (Ironic that in a movie about a distaff-dominated society, the best performances are by men). "Ghosts of Mars" will not rank among John Carpenter's best work (and here I am specifically thinking of "Big Trouble in Little China"), but despite its deficiencies I enjoyed it. Carpenter still has it, and when he's good, he's very good. Desperate-survival-against-the-murderous-armies has a primal power as a story archetype, and there's plenty of gun-blazing, head-bashing, flying-buzzsaw-dismemberment fun to be had by all. The music's pretty good, too. And there's something about Henstridge and Duvall in black leather SWAT uniforms that just pushes a button somewhere. Maybe it's just me. If you fight, you can enjoy this movie in spite of its efforts to the contrary, but you will be a little battle-weary by the time the credits roll. Not everyone will be inclined to put forth the effort. But hey, can you really hate a movie whose villain is billed as "Big Daddy Mars"?