Yaiba’s Weekly Backhand: John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars was the thirteenth blog post in the Yaiba’s Weekly Backhand blog hosted on the Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z website. It was originally posted December 25, 2013.


Ghosts of mars poster mini

John Carpenter’s name is right there in the title but it feels like a stranger co-wrote and directed this bummer. This flick is one that’s definitely less than the sum of its parts. I expected the blood and guts of The Thing. I wound up looking at something about as threatening as the Addams Family’s severed hand, Thing.

Tough as nails Martian police officer Melanie Ballard (Natasha Henstridge) arrives for a routine prisoner transfer when the Mars mining outpost’s residents are revealed to be possessed by Martian ghosts. Now she and her fellow officers, along with the uncooperative prisoner (Ice Cube) have to survive and escape.

I’m not impressed. Honestly, the possessed colonists are a dirty, ragtag bunch swinging the most basic of weapons. Even when one gets killed, the ghost conveniently finds a new host. To me, that’s a bonus – it guarantees that there’s still someone waiting nearby to taste my blade. These mindless undead are somehow a threat? I take on ten times as many without breaking a sweat. I’ve killed 15 ninjas and each one was a lot tougher than a hundred of these things.

The only one around with his priorities straight is the prisoner, Desolation Williams (Ice Cube). I like this guy. He reminds me of a less badass me. That fact that he spends a good chunk of the movie taking orders from Ballard reminds me a little too much of my situation. He doesn’t even owe Ballard the way I owe Miss Monday. After all, not every good-looking pair of getaway sticks also has the brains to wire up a power core to your chest. Not to mention that fact that she upgraded me with a badass cybernetic arm and a cyber-eye to guarantee that nothing’s getting the drop on me (unlike the saps in this movie).

After several of the panicky weenies holed up in the station get picked off, the remaining survivors have the bright idea of nuking the area to eliminate the ghosts and any potential hosts. Really? I’ll admit that they aren’t much of a challenge, but I’m all for an endless stream of dumb grunts who want to meet the business end of my shattered katana. Where’s the fun in a nuke?

About the only thing in the movie that wasn’t completely unbelievable was Officer Ballard. Put a rifle in Miss Monday’s hand and give her a dye job, and I’d swear they were sisters. So it’s no surprise that only Ballard and Williams manage to survive, since they’re the biggest badasses. But unlike Miss Monday, Ballard lets Williams get the drop on her, cuff her, and escape once they clear the blast radius. Miss Monday’s got a lot more sense than that.

At the end of the movie, Ballard’s superiors don’t believe a word of her story. In the middle of her debriefing, she hears the chaos as the ghosts/possessed miners overrun the main base on Mars. When a nuke fails to put ‘em down, sometimes you’ve got to get your hands dirty. Me? I think getting your hands dirty is half the fun. This movie ends where I’d just be starting: ready to take on a whole military base full of the undead, not just some piddly outpost. Just thinking about it makes me want to sharpen my blade.

External LinksEdit

Yaiba’s Weekly Backhand: John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars

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