Ghosts of Mars
Time Out saysMars, 2176. Shapely cop Ballard (Henstridge) is quizzed by superiors after returning to base, apparently the sole survivor of a mission to retrieve dangerous criminal 'Desolation' Williams (Ice Cube) from a distant mining outpost. Flashbacks reveal Ballard's team arriving at the camp to discover a scene of slaughter, the colonists having been taken over by a mysterious ancient force and turned into cannibal zombie psychopaths. The movie is itself possessed by powerful older spirits: the spectres of Carpenter's back catalogue. Buffs will have a field day ticking off the self-homages, starting with the period setting - exactly 200 years after his breakthrough Assault on Precinct 13. It's easy to knock the hole-ridden plot, the Blake's 7 effects, and the dated racket that is Carpenter's own synth-metal score. But to take it seriously would be to miss the point: the crazily complicated flashback structure and hilarious hardboiled dialogue are all the more amusing for being played dead-on straight.