By the year 2025, the planet Mars, long inhabited by human settlers, has become the manifest destiny of an over-populated Earth. Nearly 640,000 people now live and work all over Mars, mining the planet for its abundant natural resources. But one of those mining operations has uncovered a deadly mother lode: a long dormant Martian civilization whose warriors are systematically taking over the bodies of human intruders. Lt. Melanie Ballard of the Martian Police Force is on transport assignment to bring James "Desolation" Williams, the planet's most notorious criminal, to justice. Williams has no plans to make Ballard's job easy. What begins as a battle of force and wits between cop and criminal soon turns into something more fundamental: a battle for human survival in the realm of the Martian warriors. It's civilization against civilization as Ballard and Williams join forces in mortal combat with the Ghosts of Mars.
John Carpenter must be the last hippie still making movies today, and he can invest horror films with a frightening perennial theme: the fear of one's individuality being swallowed whole. Sadly, in "Ghosts of Mars" - little more than a remake of his much better pictures "Assault on Precinct 13" and "The Thing" - it seems that Mr. Carpenter's identity has been sublimated. At a mining colony on the planet Mars, a group of cops led by Natasha Henstridge and a crew of bad guys fronted by Ice Cube do battle with a mindless pack of human miners possessed by the spirit of the planet. This barely functional B-picture is like a zombie movie directed by one of the undead. — Elvis Mitchell
2001-08-24 | Elvis Mitchell | Read the New York Times Review of John Carpenter's Ghosts Of Mars