The movie follows a police unit on a terraformed Mars that is tasked with transporting the planet’s most dangerous criminal, Desolation Williams (Ice Cube) to stand trial for his crimes. The police officers are a rag tag bunch including the drug addicted second in command (Natasha Henstridge), the gruff new guy (Jason Statham, and two rookies. They soon discover that Williams is not the most dangerous person in town when they discover that the population of the mining community has been possessed by Martian organisms. Chaos and destruction follow with the team fighting for their lives in order to escape.
It sounds strange that Ice Cube was actually the only one who seemed like he was trying and that is not saying much. Also, if John Carpenter was looking to make a generic sci-fi action movie then he absolutely accomplished his goal. Jason Statham took the opportunity to begin to create the character of The Transporter in this movie as well. Lastly, the action scenes in the movie are actually pretty good for a movie of such low quality.
The film’s best actor
The base plot could have been engaging if some thought were put into it. Carpenter never tries to really develop the story in any significant way and it just feels like a total waste. With a little more development and a grittier feel this could have been a pretty good B-movie. Everything is set up in a very lazy way and it seems like no effort was put into the movie to make it any good. Natasha Henstridge also does about as good a job as she can, given her limited acting ability and underwritten character. She looks great in leather and in a tank top which is a plus in most of the scenes she is in.
The last great movie Carpenter made.
The set design of the movie is uninspired to say the least. The outdoor environment looks like a 10 year old kid’s version of a town on Mars with simplistic building and nothing that makes it stand out in any way. The indoor environments look like something out of a rejected Nine Inch Nails video at points. You’ll see what I mean when you watch the movie. Just seems like little to no effort was put into the design of the movie which is a theme that carried over from the lazy story.
The plot holes in this movie are gaping. At points, the characters go against orders that they gave to the group seconds earlier. If by killing the possessed people you let out the Martian spirit to take over another body, then why would you keep on killing them in close quarters? It just makes no sense. A character is told that a nuclear explosion will not kill the Martian spirits, and the character orders the group to go back anyway to create the nuclear explosion. It almost seems like Carpenter forgot what was written in the script.
This beer is solely dedicated to Pam Grier’s character who serves absolutely no purpose in the movie. She is there to introduce the fact the main character of the movie is a drug addict. Carpenter also made her character a lesbian which had no bearing on anything in the film other than to have one non-sexually charged conversation with Natasha Henstridge. It is also kind of a joke that they would get her to play a police commander when she hasn’t played a badass in almost 25 years. This doesn’t really work to effect when 90% of the audience seeing the film has no idea who Pam Grier is.
The main villain is more attractive.
There is a point in the movie when it went from being a mediocre sci-fi movie to just being a complete train wreck. That point may have been about 15 minutes in. I’m just looking forward to the inevitableHollywoodremake in 15 years.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time the Martian leader lets out a furious roar.
Take a Drink: every time a character goes against an order that they just gave.
Pour One Out: to the career of John Carpenter. This is the one that finally killed it.