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Qreview - film: ‘Ghost of Mars’ contender for dumbest movie of year

The tagline for John Carpenters latest film, “Ghost of Mars” declares: You don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance. I assume that’s directed toward the audience, but it really should be a message to the filmmakers.

This is not really surprising. After all, you don’t hear too many folks say “My goodness, John Carpenter made an awful movie, how did that happen?”

Though he showed promise earlier in his career, directing near-classics such as “Halloween,” “The Thing,” and “Escape from New York,” Carpenter’s recent work has been, more or less, dreadful. Can you remember the utterly forgettable “Memoirs of an Invisible Man”? How about “In The Mouth of Madness,” or “Vampires”? If they don’t sound familiar, you’re better off.

In his latest stinker, “Ghosts of Mars,” Carpenter once again comes through and delivers the dumbest film of the year (though the upcoming “Bubble Boy” may surpass.).

Sent to retrieve dangerous prisoner “Desolation” Williams (Ice Cube from “Friday” and “Three Kings”), a team of cops lead by Pam Grier (“Jackie Brown”) and Natasha Henstridge (“Species”) walks right into a mining town overrun by ancient flying Martians who turn people into self-mutilating berserkers. Seriously, that’s what happens.

Soon the ever-shrinking circle of good guys are duking it out with the crazed mob. Blazing guns and heavy metal (supplied by Buckethead and Anthrax) roar for what seems like an eternity as the crew blasts away hundreds of bad guys, with no end in sight.

The entire second half of the film is made up of this tedious engagement. When the beyond-clichéd “Get out of here, it’s going to blow!” finally comes, it is a great relief — those words usually signal the end to a bad movie.

Supporting players/targets include Clea DuVall (“Girl Interrupted”), Jason Statham (“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”) and Joanna Cassidy (“Blade Runner”). They have very little to do besides running, shooting, shouting and shooting some more.

Despite some wonderful moments of unintentional comedy (the main bad guy is hilariously corny) there is nothing of interest in this film.

If you see it, you’ll be haunted — by the realization that you wasted $9.

Reach Qguide writer Glen Ferrara by e-mail at timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 139.

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