Today, we’re taking a joyride through the red dust of Mars with John Carpenter’s “Ghosts of Mars,” a sci-fi romp that’s as wild as a Martian dust storm and twice as unpredictable.
Released in 2001, “Ghosts of Mars” is Carpenter’s love letter to the B-movie classics of yesteryear, with a healthy dose of his trademark flair for the absurd. Picture this: a group of tough-as-nails space cops, led by the incomparable Ice Cube and Natasha Henstridge, facing off against ancient Martian spirits hell-bent on turning humanity into cosmic dust. It’s like “Mad Max” meets “War of the Worlds,” and the result is a cinematic cocktail that’s equal parts ridiculous and exhilarating.
The plot? Let’s just say it’s like navigating a Martian sandstorm blindfolded. A group of miners accidentally awakens an ancient evil that possesses them, turning them into bloodthirsty maniacs. Cue our ragtag band of space cops, who must battle their way through hordes of possessed miners while trying not to become Martian hors d’oeuvres.
Ice Cube, our fearless leader, brings his trademark swagger to the role of Desolation Williams—a name so cool it could freeze lava. He’s the kind of guy who’d punch a Martian ghost in the face and ask questions later. Natasha Henstridge holds her own as the tough-as-nails cop who’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. Together, they make a dynamic duo that’s as entertaining as it is improbable.
The one thing that distracted me watching this today was Jason Statham’s hair. That sh*t was ridiculous. The thing is Ice Cube was Ice Cube, Natasha Henstridge was Natasha Henstridge, but Statham looked like he was Jason Statham of today’s third cousin once removed. It was actually disconcerting like the voice did not go with the face we all know like he was one of the possessed or something.
The special effects are delightfully cheesy, with practical effects and CGI that scream early 2000s nostalgia. The Martian landscape is a visual feast of crimson skies and desolate vistas, a perfect backdrop for the mayhem that unfolds. And let’s not forget the creature designs—equal parts creepy and campy, they’re a reminder of Carpenter’s love for old-school monster movies.
The dialogue is classic Carpenter, filled with one-liners and tough guy talk that’ll have you chuckling like a Martian hyena. The characters are larger than life, with personalities as colorful as the Martian landscape itself. It’s like Carpenter took a page out of his own playbook and cranked the absurdity dial to 11.
Later on, in an interview in 2011 he basically said just that. In his own words he said he should have let the audience “in on the joke”. “…it’s called Ghosts of Mars for Christ’s sake, why would people take this movie seriously. “.
Knowing that now, this movie is so much better on a rewatch than originally, you can see the humor in its campiness. and it’s much better viewed as a buddy cop comedy with horror elements. It’s also a good look at how much today’s video game creators took from his style the fights in this could be cut scenes from any number of video games over the last 15 years or so.
In conclusion, “Ghosts of Mars” is a fun-filled romp through Carpenter’s twisted imagination, a sci-fi extravaganza that’s as campy as it is entertaining. If you’re in the mood for a dose of intergalactic mayhem with a side of cheesy dialogue and over-the-top action, then strap in and blast off to Mars. Just be sure to pack your sense of humor—it’s gonna be a wild ride.