"Women are from Venus; bullshit sci-fi is from Mars"
A deliriously stupid movie, "Ghosts of Mars" is a top contender for this year's Ed Wood Memorial Prize. It's almost unbelievably wrongheaded, in more ways than I care to count.The goofy plot has members of the Mars Police Force, led by Natasha Henstridge, attempting to bring to justice the dangerous criminal James "Desolation" Williams (Ice Cube). Unfortunately, they find that Desolation is trapped inside a holding facility which, due to the deleterious effects of an odd red mist, is running riot with a gang of psychos who look like rejects from Gwar, complete with an Alice Cooper-ish leader who does virtually nothing throughout the whole movie but cock his head back and yell incoherently. In no time, Ghosts of Mars turns into a schizophrenic hybrid of Mad Max and Lord of the Flies, punctuated every now and then with lengthy fight scenes executed to the accompaniment of bad heavy metal music.
Yes, I think it's safe to say that Ghosts is fucked up in nearly every way possible. There's the flashbacks within flashbacks, the redundant narration, the dumb-as-lead dialogue, the latter consisting largely of people shouting "What the hell is going on?!" at predictable junctures. Furthermore, proponents of social progress will not be pleased to discover here that black men will make up a disproportionate chunk of the prison population on the Mars of the 22nd Century.
Some time ago, I discovered a litmus test for identifying bad movies. They tend to have very simple plots that somehow manage to be hopelessly muddled at the same time. It's rather difficult to explain exactly what the "ghosts of Mars" are supposed to be. Here we have a mysterious microbiogical mist that can possess people and make them go on murderous rampages. If the "host" is killed, then the mist is freed to possess others. In full awareness of this fact, our heroes moronically go about blowing people away left and right, with rather predictable results.
There are some very odd plot twists, one having to do with a hallucinogenic drug rescuing Henstridge from demonic possession--or something like that. Overall, the movie offers a prime example of what someone once coined the Idiot Plot: a story that doesn't work at all unless the characters act like idiots whenever necessary."Ghosts" is bad, painfully bad.