What happened to the cool John Carpenter of the 1980s and 1970s, that brought us many sci-fi and horror classics? His films from the 1990s onwards are unoriginal; unimaginative, unwatchable and hilariously terrible. Ghosts of Mars might be his worst film of his career, although Vampires and others might run it close, I would jokingly say they could face off but that might end up becoming another terrible film.
Considering its rep as an utter disaster, I was pleasantly surprised. It needs better FX, Ice Cube's performance tanks, and there's at least one planet-sized plothole. But it's also the work of a seasoned (if underfunded) pro going through his bag of favorite tricks: Hawksian women, relentless evil. The editing flows, the comic book atmosphere mostly works, and even the mistakes feel like an individual mind at work.
it's like assault on precinct 13 sponsored by the now-defunct mars 2112 restaurant and given a very period-specific soundtrack. no one part sticks out as any worse than the other but it is memorable as a whole in the "what were they thinking when they made this" kinda way. it's not the most horrible thing, but it's definitely not something i'd recommend.
Tacky kind-of-horror B-movie with metal and gory flashes and dumb finish. The acting was bad, however the script did not help to attract better candidates. Carpenter deliberately cast his crew with a particular dumb final effect in mind, Ice Cube was then a no-brainer . Some of the fighting scenes remind of hordes of circus pigmy goats on crack in Lordi gear kicking shins. A genre of its own.
This has the nost black metal / war metal esque vilains I have seen in film. The score does try to be on the heavy metal side, during the batles. Too bad it is a corny kind of metal. They could go on full corny, with power metal, for instance with Manowar. Or proper black metal corny, with Immortal. Or go with plain ol' Gorgoroth. Or good new Krallice. My favorite would be Cara Neir tough for the flaming train scene.
3 - Carpenter's attempt to fuse the horror, sci-fi and western genres resulted in something neither thrilling, nor intriguing, nor particularly scary. He definitely put in the effort (they built the set in a gypsum mine, and used thousands of gallons of red dye to color it), and it's infused with plenty of thought-provoking commentary, but the logic is inconsistent, the editing is awful, and the script is horrendous.