John Carpenter's Ghosts Of Mars

John Carpenter's Ghosts Of Mars


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Having the director's name in the title implies there's another Ghosts Of Mars somewhere. If so, choose it, because this has feathers and won't live to see Christmas.

John Carpenter is the man who made Assault On Precinct 13. Now he's making Assault On Intelligence, and intelligence loses. The location is a parking lot at the back of a disused factory complex. The baddies are Alice Cooper & Friends, armed with steel frisbees that could slice your head off. No one wears space suits, or looks like Buzz Lightyear. Any resemblance to the planet Mars is accidental.

Copy picture

The year is 2176. That's a joke for a start. There's nothing remotely futuristic about it. There is a train. There are police with guns. There are Goths who go around beheading people. They come from a red mist, which is a little difficult to understand, unless inhaling Mars dust makes you madder than marijuana, and they don't speak English. They sort of howl at each other.

All this happens in a new town, built for miners. Don't ask what they're mining. It's just a place in which to play mayhem games. A small contingent of cops, led by Pam Grier in a black leather duster coat, has come to collect a prisoner, James "Desolation" Williams (Ice Cube), the baddest bad man in them thar parts. He's accused of slaughtering six people, hanging them from the ceiling by their feet and lopping their tops off. He denies it, of course.

Natasha Henstridge is second in command. She and Ice have a thing going together. She knows he's not as bad as they say. He knows she knows. They have a bond. And then Alice and his gang attack and it's every man/girl for themselves.

Jason Statham from Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels is a cop called Jericho who talks Souff London and fancies Natasha something rotten. She tells him, "Maybe I'd sleep with you if you were the last man on Earth. But we're not on Earth."

Later, when the going gets tougher, Ice asks, "You got a Plan B?" She doesn't hesitate. "Yeah," she says. "It's the same as Plan A." Carpenter wrote the script as well. You can tell he's been trying.

This is sci-fi on the cheap. It's also a remake of Assault On Precinct 13 without the tension. It should have an 18 certificate, because the violence is nasty and relentless. Also, 15-year-old kids might be deterred from wasting their money.

Reviewed on: 29 Nov 2001
Share this with others on...
John Carpenter's Ghosts Of Mars packshot
Law enforcement officers on Mars are attacked by Alice Cooper lookalikes in a mining town.
Amazon link

Director: John Carpenter

Writer: Larry Sulkis, John Carpenter

Starring: Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Pam Grier, Clea Duvall, Jason Statham, Liam Waite, Joanna Cassidy

Year: 2001

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


Glasgow 2013

Search database:

If you like this, try:

Alien Vs Predator
Assault On Precinct 13