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Review Ghosts of Mars (2001): Misunderstood and underrated!

genre: action, science fiction, horror

For some reason people expected Ghosts of Mars to be a serious horror film. Well, the story does have the potential to be one. But with Ice Cube as one of it's leads? 

Ice Cube can be a good actor but he is limited. He just doesn't have the attitude or sensibility to come across as someone who could be terrified and display bravado at the same time. Jason Statham originally cast to play Desolation Williams might have done a better job but the same goes for him. Natasha Henstridge on the other hand does have the acting chops to pull that off as she demonstrates but is not really given the chance to shine since Ice Cube, Jason Statham and Pam Grier take away her thunder. They are given importance while it's not really needed. Still she is a character you are rooting for from the start. John Carpenter never intended to make a serious horror film. Being forced to have Ice Cube in the film probably helped him into making it campier and light. 

In my opinion Ghosts of Mars works as an action flick or western with horror elements. It's creepy and suspenseful enough in places and it is totally satisfying to see the possessed people get blown to smithereens. Especially since the ghosts are quite ruthless and deadly. They basically don't want anyone else living on their planet. To be fair humans could be seen as destructive parasites. 

Ghosts of Mars also is very reminiscent of  Assault on Precinct 13. But like I said Ice Cube simply is too limited to take him seriously as a hardened criminal who is pragmatic and practical. Only in his dreams would he be capable of playing a character as cool and suave as Napoleon Wilson. The powers that be thought that Ice Cube was the star to draw the crowds. I don't know what to think of this. Even today knowing what he is capable of he is not exactly a name that motivates me to watch the movie he is in. And I liked him in xXx: The State of the Union.

Ghosts of Mars oozes with style, wit and most importantly it's so much fun. It's very sad to hear that this film is being seen as a failure and the nail in Carpenter's coffin to stop making films for almost nine years. A must watch if you ask me.

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