WHAT THE FILM?! “Ghosts Of Mars”

Ghosts of Mars poster

What The Film?! is a new weekly column exclusive to Under The Gun Review that brings to light the plot holes Hollywood hoped you’d never notice. Written by comedy writer Dane Sager, this column shows no mercy to films that try and pull the proverbial wool over our eyes.

If you know a film with major plot holes that you feel needs to be exposed, tell us! Email utgjames@gmail.com with the subject “What The Film” and we’ll try to get your suggestion featured on the site.

This Week’s Movie: 2001’s Ghosts of Mars

Halloween, The Thing, The Fog,  Big Trouble In Little China, Escape from New York; John Carpenter is a master. This week I watched “John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars” and it made me think he sucked. I thought that maybe he was like George Lucas or M. Night Shyamalan where he was really bad at making movies and got lucky a few times. Ghosts of Mars is what happens when you film the first draft without going over it first to make sure there aren’t typos, continuity errors, or is generally stupid.

Turns out The Crow and Pinhead had a child.

The movie starts with a police officer (Melanie) in court. She’s the only survivor on a train that arrived earlier and has to tell the story to the courtroom. This causes a problem with building suspense because no matter how bad her story gets, we know she survives because she’s in court telling us right now. There is no “Oh, man, is she going to get out of this one?!” because we know that she does. Any movie that is done in flashback or is a prequel shares this problem.

She tells the courtroom that she was a member of a team sent to pick up a convicted murderer played by Ice Cube and transport him to another space jail (she didn’t say space jail) and the story starts “Last Friday at 17:30”. Mars has a 24.6 hour day, so time on Mars is a little confusing. Does it compensate for the extra 36 minutes by having 2.7% slower minutes or does the clock switch from 24:36 to 00:00? A year on Mars is 668 days, so they can’t have the same months, but they have the same days of the week? They also describe speed in knots, despite a knot being one minute arc of latitude, so it is a unit of measurement that is exclusively Earth specific.

The team that Melanie is sent with is of Jason Statham with hair, Pam Grier, a man who I thought was Chris Evans for forty minutes, and a woman who looks like River Phoenix. When the team arrives at the town where they’re supposed to pick up Ice Cube, they find it completely deserted. Pam Grier reminds the team to put on their masks because the terraforming isn’t complete, that it will take ten more years to have breathable air, and that 2 months ago they couldn’t step outside without pressurized suits. She has to tell them this because the police force on Mars is legally retarded and forgets this sometimes (I assume).

Every time she was on screen, this was all I could think.

They find the towns people beheaded and strung from the ceiling, the same way that Ice Cube left his victims. The only people they find alive have become cyberpunk zombies except for Ice Cube, who insists he didn’t kill anyone. When asked how he can be innocent when all the evidence points out that he murdered a lot of people, he replies with“I didn’t say I was innocent, I said I didn’t kill anybody.”. You have been arrested, convicted, and put in jail for murder, you can’t say that. I can’t go to court and plead guilty and then argue that I didn’t do it. This inability to understand things may be why you are living a bad life and are currently in jail.

It’s revealed that the cyberpunk zombies are being caused by literal ghosts of Mars from past inhabitants that possess the current inhabitants. The twist on the zombie genre is that when you kill a zombie, its possessor (Possessee? Possesstical? Opossum?) escapes the now dead body and takes control of someone else. That’s actually a cool idea, shame it happened to be executed with the directorial skill, production value, and writing of a Playstation 1 cut scene. Everyone knows that killing the host doesn’t kill the possessor and ultimately causes more problems, but that doesn’t stop every character from murdering the hell out of every zombie they find. Not once to they even consider dispatching anyone in a non-lethal way. Ever.

Turns out Jason Statham is reverse Samson. The more hair he has, the more he sucks.

Ultimately they decide the best course of action to dispatch the ghosts is to nuke them. Yes, lets nuke the ghosts to death. They play it off like a big win when [SPOILER ALERT] it doesn’t work because you cannot kill what’s already dead . The last scene is a set up for a sequel that will never occur as the survivors set out to go kill some ghosts. John Carpenter retired after this movie and Ice Cube (who was in Torque, Barbershop 2, XXX2, Are We There Yet, Are We Done Yet, as well as Anaconda) has said in interviews that it’s the worst thing he’s ever done calling it “unwatchable”. I watched it. I wish I hadn’t.

This movie was a more accurate Doom movie than the Doom movie.

 

Dane is worth a million in prizes with his torture film. You can follow him on Twitter or Tumblr.

 

 

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