Ghosts of Mars

Ghosts of Mars (2001) movie poster

(2001) John Carpenter

This film had the making of a good, contemporary B-movie. Starring Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube and Pam Grier, it had the “street cred” of some seriously lower drawer stars that have potential to have their low budget charm.

The world of the film really isn’t all that different from the types of post-apocalyptic science fiction from the 80’s, though it’s packaged a bit more slickly in costume that looks contemporary. Carpenter seems quite stuck there, in the 80’s, though. The fight sequences have this low-budget feel that also somehow has missed out on the sweeping reforms of The Matrix-influenced modern kung-fu.

The biggest detractor from the film, though, oddly enough, is the strange editing style used intermittantly throughout. The film implements a fade in and fade out of action, usually used to slow things down in a film or to “skim” time a bit, sometimes giving a “dream” feel. But this technique is used in Ghosts of Mars to show a character crossing a room, or coming down a hall. It’s an effect that seems to serve no purpose, actually breaking rather humdrum shots and making one wonder, “why?”

All in all, some pretty weak stuff.

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