John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars (2001): written by Larry Sulkis and John Carpenter; directed by John Carpenter; starring Natasha Henstridge (Lt. Ballard), Ice Cube (Desolation Williams), Jason Statham (Sgt. Jericho), Clea DuVall (Kincaid), Pam Grier (Commander Braddock), and Joanna Cassidy (Whitlock): Grungy, grimy sci-fi horror-Western from the great John Carpenter. It’s worn really well, possibly because it’s the antithesis of today’s PG-rated, CGI-heavy action movies. The cast is a hoot. Teaming up the Amazonian blonde Henstridge (Species) with Ice Cube is all sorts of awesome.
There’s some smarts in the movie’s back-story, and some thrills in the various explosion-heavy battles with the monsters on Mars. One sometimes wishes for better monsters. So it goes. The premise works as a weird sort-of-sequel to Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass and the Pit (a.k.a. Five Million Years to Earth). Carpenter worked with Kneale while producing Halloween 3: Season of the Witch, for which Kneale wrote a screenplay that he then took his name off because of concerns about the film’s violence. Hmm. Recommended.